Just days after veteran infielder Jose Iglesias triggered an out clause in his minor league deal with the Padres and was granted his release, he’s re-signed with San Diego on a new minor league pact, the team’s Triple-A El Paso affiliate announced last night. Iglesias was back in the lineup with the Chihuahuas last night, going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles.
It’s a quick turnaround, though these scenarios aren’t exactly uncommon in baseball. Iglesias presumably took a few days to survey interest around the league and gauge the market for big league opportunities before returning to the Padres’ affiliate he’s already spent the season calling home. Quick re-signings like this can also grant the opportunity for new terms (e.g. additional opt-out dates) to be written into the new contract that wouldn’t have existed had the player simply foregone the out clause in the first place.
The 33-year-old is out to a solid start in Triple-A this season, slashing .293/.350/.446 with a homer, nine doubles and a triple in 103 trips to the plate. He’s walked at an 8.7% clip against a 14.6% strikeout rate that’s well south of league-average (but also a bit elevated from last year’s 12% mark in the big leagues).
Iglesias spent the 2022 season with the Rockies, batting .292/.328/.380 as their primary shortstop. That’s about par for the course for Iglesias. Over the past several seasons, he’s maintained strong batting averages thanks to minimal strikeout rates but has been largely unable to supplement that average thanks to some of the lowest walk rates in baseball and minimal power output. Dating back to 2018, he’s batted .287/.322/.404, with a disproportionate amount of his extra-base hits coming in an anomalous 2020 campaign (three homers, 17 doubles in just 150 plate appearances).
Once touted as one of the game’s elite defenders at shortstop, Iglesias has seen his glovework slip in recent seasons — at least in the eyes of most defensive metrics. He hasn’t posted a positive mark in Outs Above Average since 2020 or in Defensive Runs Saved since 2019. He made a career-high 16 errors at shortstop in 2021 despite logging what was then his lightest workload at the position in a full 162-game season. Last year’s eight errors in 975 frames was an improvement over 2021, but Iglesias averaged eight errors in a considerably larger 1105 innings per year at short from 2015-19. He’s been well below average in terms of arm strength in each of the past three seasons, per Statcast, ranking 74th among 100 shortstops with an average 81.5 mph on his throws to first base (league average is 85.3 mph).
Even with Manny Machado sidelined due to a fractured hand, the Padres are deep in infield options on the big league roster. Xander Bogaerts and Ha-Seong Kim are holding the left side of the infield down, while Jake Cronenworth and Rougned Odor handle the right side. Odor hasn’t hit much this season, but he’s been on a well-timed hot streak over the past two weeks. Of course, Fernando Tatis Jr. is plenty familiar with playing the infield if needed there, though he’s taken quite well to right field (8 DRS, 4 OAA).