That kind of contract means Iglesias will likely not be starting at shortstop this year, even if the 22-year-old defensive whiz is spending his offseason working on his game. But Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who invited Iglesias along for some of his own offseason workouts, said it’s time to focus on how the signing can make everyone involved better.
“[Drew is] a good player,” Pedroia told ESPN. “He’s going to be a big part of it. He’s definitely motivated to have a great year and be ready to play. … I’m sure we’re signing Stephen to go out there and play. Iggy, I’m sure he understands that. He understands he needs to get better and there are things he needs to work on. I haven’t talked to Iggy since we signed Drew, but that’s part of the game.”
Pedroia drew on his own experiences to talk about how Iglesias can use this opportunity to get better. In 2006, Pedroia had to work behind veteran pickup Mark Loretta.
“At first I was upset, but in the long run I think it helped me become a better player,” Pedroia said. “I needed to go to Triple-A and learn, and it was the best thing for me. Things work out for a reason, and hopefully, he uses that motivation to get better, to become smarter and to learn how to play the game better.”
Pedroia complimented Iglesias’ smarts and said he’ll learn quickly if given the chance. He said he was happy to spend time working with Iglesias this offseason, considering how veterans like Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek and David Ortiz helped Pedroia as a younger player. He also said he’s been giving Iglesias tips on how to get the most out of his smaller body — something Pedroia has had to learn in his career.
Iglesias has always been solid defensively, but the Red Sox were reticent to hand him the starting shortstop job this offseason after Mike Aviles departed. Iglesias struggled at the plate last season, hitting just .118 in 25 games.