Who'll play third? GM won't tip hand

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
1:31
AM ET
BOSTON -- With the Red Sox trading infielder Jose Iglesias to the Detroit Tigers as part of a three-team, seven-player deal that landed them starting pitcher Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox, Boston has an opening on the left side of the infield.

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With Jose Iglesias gone, who would you like to see play third base for the Red Sox the rest of the season?

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Discuss (Total votes: 11,253)

During a late-night conference call, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington explained the team had not made a decision which player it would promote from Triple-A Pawtucket, but all indications point to third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

There was some thought infield prospect Xander Bogaerts could get the call to Boston, but with no other trades on the horizon for the Red Sox before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. deadline, Middlebrooks should receive the opportunity to prove his worth again.

Iglesias, a natural shortstop, has split time between short and third base for the Red Sox this season. While there are no doubts about his defensive skills, the biggest question entering this season was his ability to handle big-league pitching. After being removed in the top of the ninth inning during Tuesday’s 8-2 win over the Seattle Mariners, Iglesias left Boston with a .330 average, one home run and 19 RBIs in 62 games for the Sox this season.

With the emergence of Bogaerts, who now appears to be the future shortstop in Boston, Iglesias was deemed expendable in order to acquire Peavy.

“We certainly didn’t go into this July looking or expecting to trade Jose,” Cherington said, “but we felt like given the strength at that position in the organization with Stephen Drew obviously our everyday shortstop in Boston right now, and the guys coming behind him in the minor leagues, it was an area of strength to deal from and if we could get the starting pitcher that we really wanted, ultimately we thought it made sense to do the deal.

“As it relates to third base, we’ll have a move for tomorrow, we’ll add an infielder. We feel like we have some talent at the Triple-A level that can help us at that position the rest of the way, but we’re not ready to announce anything on that end. We’ll just focus on this deal first.”

Middlebrooks, 24, was optioned to Pawtucket on June 25 after beginning the season by hitting .192 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs in 53 games with the Red Sox. He also spent some time on the DL with a lower-back strain and was activated on June 10.

With the PawSox, Middlebrooks is hitting .257 with eight homers and 30 RBIs.

Bogaerts, 20, began the season at Double-A Portland and hit .311 with 12 doubles, 6 triples, 6 home runs and 35 RBIs in 56 games for the Sea Dogs. He was promoted to Pawtucket on June 13 and is hitting .273 with eight homers and 24 RBIs for the PawSox.

With the Peavy deal complete and Iglesias gone, Cherington said the likelihood the club would make another deal prior to the deadline was slim.

“I wouldn’t be able to handicap it, but I wouldn’t expect it,” he said.

One remote possibility is Phillies third baseman Michael Young, who has told the team, according to sources, that he'll only accept a deal to the Texas Rangers.

Young spent the first 13 years of his career in Texas before being traded to Philadelphia in December.

Sources said that Young will consider other teams if there is no chance that he can go back to the Rangers. Young's second choice appears to be the Red Sox, according to sources. The New York Yankees could also get into the mix if Texas and Boston pass on Young.

The 36-year-old Young is hitting .279 with 8 homers and 34 RBIs in 99 games this season.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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