Mike Aviles’ Departure Should Be Good for Red Sox Shortstop Void

Mike Aviles' Departure Should Be Good for Red Sox Shortstop VoidFor the third consecutive year, the Boston Red Sox will have
a new Opening Day starting shortstop. Who that player
is come April 1 in New York remains to be seen, but it won't be Mike Aviles.

With Boston hiring former Toronto manager John Farrell to run the club in 2013
and beyond, Aviles will reportedly serve
as compensation
and go to the Blue Jays, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.

But the Red Sox shouldn't be in too much of a bind without 2012's starting shortstop. Aviles, who
started 130 games for the Red Sox in 2012 — all but seven at shortstop — did
what was required of him on a daily basis, but he never performed beyond that.

Aviles hit .250/.282/.381 with 13 home runs and 60 RBIs for
Boston last season, playing solid defensively as well. He provided much-needed
offense when several key hitters in the lineup went down with injuries and
managed to stay healthy for nearly the entire season. His overall production,
however, started to drop as the season dragged on, and he was often sat in favor of
Jose Iglesias down the stretch.

Now, with Iglesias and Pedro
Ciriaco
under team control for the near future, the Red Sox will be more
than fine without Aviles going forward.

Iglesias is the shortstop of the future — and has been for
the last several years now — and it seems as if the future starts in 2013. His
failures at the plate have kept him from being the everyday
shortstop in the Boston lineup in the past, but his defensive prowess has kept him the
long-term favorite.

Going 8-for-68 isn't pretty, no matter how you look at it,
but Iglesias will get better offensively — he has to. He'll have a full offseason
to train on his own and should come into spring training looking to clean
up his remaining holes. Farrell has yet to name who his hitting coach
will be, but working with Iglesias will definitely be a priority.

Even if Iglesias still can't figure out what he's doing with
the bat, the Red Sox have Ciriaco to pick up the slack. Ciriaco flourished in
more ways than one last season, his first in Boston. He hit .293/.315/.390
with 19 extra-base hits, 33 runs and 16 stolen bases in 76 games, and he seemed to
perform best against the rival Yankees — hitting .415 with 12 runs in 14 games
against them.

Ciriaco is the ultimate utility player and will compete with
Iglesias for the starting shortstop job. Although he isn't as slick of a
shortstop as Iglesias, he holds a strong advantage over him at the plate. He
provides excitement in the Red Sox lineup, which is exactly what the team needs.

One thing to keep an eye on, however, is who the Red Sox
will receive from Toronto in the Farrell deal. That player has not been
announced yet, but it would make sense for the Blue Jays to part ways with
shortstop Yunel Escobar now that
they have Aviles and Adeiny Hechavarria.
Escobar underperformed in 2012 and also had a controversial
non-playing incident
as well. Throwing him into the mix, though, wouldn't
hurt.

Boston really just needs to survive until 2014 or 2015, when the team can promote shortstop prospect Xander Bogaerts to the big leagues. Bogaerts is flying through the Red Sox' minor league system and could be in Boston in no time. It's still early, but he could be the guy who has Red Sox Nation forgetting about some guy named Nomar Garciaparra — nonetheless Aviles.

Aviles could be playing shortstop at Fenway Park on May 10,
but he won't be wearing a Red Sox uniform if he does. And that’s just fine.

Click here to read an opinion on the John Farrell hiring>>

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