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MODEST PROPOSAL
March 26, 2012
When the Red Sox, in an effort to free room under the luxury-tax threshold, traded shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Rockies, they left themselves with no true starting shortstop. Just three players on their 40-man roster played the position in the majors last year—for a total of 141 1/3 innings. Prospect Jose Iglesias has a major-league-ready glove, but can't hit yet—he had an anemic .235/.285/.269 line at Triple A last season. Veteran Nick Punto, 34, a free-agent addition, has never been a regular shortstop in the majors and has shown declining range the past three years. That leaves Mike Aviles, the 31-year-old acquired from the Royals last summer. Aviles has a career .288/.318/.419 line and is the kind of righthanded hitter built for Fenway Park. (He has an .809 OPS in 92 career plate appearances there.) He's also better defensively than he looks: He was above average according to all defensive metrics as the Kansas City starter in 2008, and his small-sample numbers the past two years are good. Bobby Valentine doesn't have to platoon at the position; Aviles, allowed to play every day, will be a strong solution at a low price.
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March 26, 2012

Modest Proposal

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When the Red Sox, in an effort to free room under the luxury-tax threshold, traded shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Rockies, they left themselves with no true starting shortstop. Just three players on their 40-man roster played the position in the majors last year—for a total of 141 1/3 innings. Prospect Jose Iglesias has a major-league-ready glove, but can't hit yet—he had an anemic .235/.285/.269 line at Triple A last season. Veteran Nick Punto, 34, a free-agent addition, has never been a regular shortstop in the majors and has shown declining range the past three years. That leaves Mike Aviles, the 31-year-old acquired from the Royals last summer. Aviles has a career .288/.318/.419 line and is the kind of righthanded hitter built for Fenway Park. (He has an .809 OPS in 92 career plate appearances there.) He's also better defensively than he looks: He was above average according to all defensive metrics as the Kansas City starter in 2008, and his small-sample numbers the past two years are good. Bobby Valentine doesn't have to platoon at the position; Aviles, allowed to play every day, will be a strong solution at a low price.

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