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Monday, May 21, 2012

How Long is Mike Aviles Considered a Place Holder?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 20:  Mike Aviles #3 of ...
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 20: Mike Aviles #3 of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by teammate Dustin Pedroia #15 after hitting a lead-off home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a MLB interleague baseball game on May 20, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Ben Cherington made a bold move that raised questions in the offseason, shipping his primary shortstop, Marco Scutaro, to the Colorado Rockies for Clayton Mortenson. The reason the Red Sox first year GM felt he could make such a move was Mike Aviles.

Cherington was confident that the infielder could handle the everyday job and hold the torch until top shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias was ready. To this point in 2012, the 31 year old Aviles has proven his value, defensively and with the bat.

In 39 games (172 PA), Mike Aviles has 8 HR, 27 RBI, 13 2B and 5 SB. He has 3 errors in 397 innings at shortstop (193 chances) for a .984 fielding percentage. The Cuban prospect
Iglesias has a .282 BA, 1 HR, 10 RBI and 6 SB in 37 games with Triple-A Pawtucket. Defensively he has 5 errors in 164 chances for a .970 fielding percentage.

Though Aviles has less errors in more chances, Iglesias is considered a much superior defender, but his bat has kept him from the major leagues. A hot streak recently is encouraging from the 22 year old but he's still not considered offensively ready to contribute in Boston.

The question that has to be asked is, if Mike Aviles remains healthy and swinging the bat well, do the Red Sox still consider him a place holder?

The next two seasons, Aviles is under team control and he won't be a free agent until 2015. With that kind of stability over the next couple seasons, the Red Sox would be crazy not to explore the idea of finally putting an end to the shortstop carousel.

Iglesias is considered the shortstop of the future but If Aviles keeps swinging the bat and holding his own defensively, the Red Sox will have a hard time etching somebody else's name into the lineup.

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