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July 31, 2013

What's Iglesias' value if he doesn't hit?

Seattle wiz Ryan weighs in

BOSTON — Mariners beat writer Ryan Divish of The News Tribune recently wrote a piece for Baseball Prospectus about Seattle shortstop Brendan Ryan’s wizardry as a defender.

“It’s difficult to comprehend the number of brilliant defensive plays that Brendan Ryan has made in his tenure as the Seattle Mariners’ starting shortstop,” Divish wrote. “There are too many to count.”

Ryan is a defensive maestro, but there’s one problem ... the 31-year-old has never hit well and he entered yesterday’s game vs. the Red Sox here at Fenway with a .191 average and .254 on-base percentage this season.

Taking into account Ryan’s overall game and how Red Sox defensive wiz Jose Iglesias’ batting average is declining by the game, it’s interesting to weigh the value of a weak-hitting shortstop who can play Gold Glove level defense.

Can the Red Sox deal with Iglesias’ possible sub-par offensive production in exchange for his superb defense?Can Ryan and Iglesias have the same type of impact on a game with their glove that Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera has with his bat? Is Iglesias a Ryan clone?

Iglesias entered yesterday hitting .330 with a .377 on-base percentage but with just a .200 average and .244 OBP in 80 at-bats in July.

Before delving into the above questions, it should be noted Ryan is quite impressed with Iglesias’ defense. Iglesias has played mostly third base this summer with veteran shortstop Stephen Drew signed to a one-year contract. But Iglesias undoubtedly has the ability to be a Gold Glove shortstop in the coming years.

“He seems pretty aggressive, which I like,” Ryan said about Iglesias. “Obviously, he’s got good hands. I’ve seen him play a little bit more third and I’ve seen him play (more) on TV. It’s always a little bit easier to watch in person. But he made some nice plays at our place (Safeco Field). He’s got good feet and he’s confident and aggressive.”

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