With their signing of free agent short stop Stephen Drew, the Boston Red Sox have effectively blocked the path of Jose Iglesias to the majors, at least for the 2013 season. Given Iglesias' developmental struggles at the plate, however, that may not be the worst thing in the world.
Drew is signed to a one-year deal, so the roadblock is only temporary, but before the signing, it was thought that Iglesias would have a shot to earn a starting role with the Red Sox. But with Iglesias bat failing to develop, the additional at-bats in the minors may be the best thing that could happen to him.
There is no questioning Iglesias' glove. He's been ready to play shortstop in the majors since the Red Sox signed him 2009 and upon his permanent arrival in the majors, he will immediately become one of the best, if not the best, defensive shortstops in the majors.
But he can't hit. At least not yet.
Iglesias will never be a good hitter, and probably won't even get to the point where he's league average offensively, but any improvement would be better than where he is now. If he got a full season of at-bats in the majors this season, he would likely be among the worst offensive qualifiers in the league.
But Iglesias is just turning 23 and still has a chance to make some improvements as a hitter.
If Iglesias can take any kind of significant step forward, he has the potential to be a league-average shortstop. Heck, if Rey Ordonez can have a 3-win season than so can Iglesias, because he's in that defensive class.
There's not going to be a ton of improvement in Iglesias' bat, but if he can get himself into the .700 OPS range, Iglasias has the potential to be a valuable player for the Red Sox. If he had become their starting short stop this season and stuck in the majors, he likely would never have made that development. He still may not, but another season of at-bats in Triple-A, where he has a career OPS of just .589, certainly can't hurt.