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The Perfect Trade

Granted, the perfect trade would be something along the lines of: "I have rotten apple, will you trade your Cessna for it?  Great." But that's not reality.

The Sox gave up young shortstop Jose Iglesias for Jake Peavy in a trade that also netted the White Sox a young slugger they wanted.  The Tigers received the defense-first shortstop they needed in a lineup with Fielder and Cabrera.

In this trade, the Sox improved themselves for this year and next, traded from a position of strength where there's redundancy up and down the organization, and didn't trade the undervalued young player in their lineup.

Iglesias had had a great first half.  He is clearly a major league glove, perhaps the best in baseball.  His hitting seems to be better than it was in the minors.  But there's a lot of reason to believe that he'll be more Rey Ordonez than Omar Vizquel.  By trading him away, you are giving up value and you might see him in the All Star game for years if he can bat over .260.

The other young player in the lineup for the Sox at the time was third baseman Will Middlebrooks. He'd been demoted, was having trouble hitting and, at times, fielding, and wasn't living up to the promise he showed in 2012.  The Sox could have traded him but they would have been trading a very talented young player at his lowest value.

In the end, I think it's anyone's guess who will end up being a better player the rest of this year and for their careers: Middlebrooks or Iglesias.  They are both young and talented.  But the Sox decided to trade the one that was more valuable at the time which, in turn, brought back more value to the club.  Additionally, this season and next, the Sox have depth at shortstop and not as much at third.

Trading Iglesias brought us Jake Peavy.  He may not be the pitcher he was with San Diego, but he's a valuable starter, bring a win-first intensity and veteran presence, and we have him for next year.  If someone like Allen Webster or Matt Barnes storms the gates of the rotation next year and wins a spot, does anyone doubt Jake Peavy could be a very good set up guy?

With Iglesias gone, the Sox did not take a step back this year because Stephen Drew was having a great second half and is himself a great defender.  He is a free agent after this year and would seem likely to leave Boston.  At that point, the Sox would almost certainly hand the job to super prospect Xander Bogaerts, hopefully with a solid veteran back up.  Bogaerts seems extremely likely to at least be a good major league infielder.  If he really falters, the Sox will want that veteran backup for 2014.  Long term, Bogaerts seems likely to "fill out" and need to move out of the quicker shortstop position.  At that time, he could move to third or the outfield.

Behind Bogaerts, the Sox have shortstop prospect Deven Marrero in Portland.  Marrero sounds like a poor mans Iglesias who was beloved by his college coaches.  He might not hit much but he sounds like a winner.  His timeline seems to fit nicely within Bogaerts development schedule, in that Bogaerts will have next year without much pressure from Marrero, but the following year the team could have Deven as an option if they feel Xander isn't going to stay a shortstop - or if something goes wrong.

Meanwhile, Middlebrooks seems to have recovered from his early season falter.  He's struggled in the playoffs but still looks like a major league, streaking power hitter.  If Bogaerts ends up moving toward third, Middlebrooks could have a home at first.  In fact, it's not crazy to think that next year Bogaerts plays some third against lefties while Middlebrooks platoons at first with Mike Carp.  That would leave veteran to be named later at short.
Well what if Middlebrooks doesn't improve?  What if he's always a .220 hitter with 20-25 homers and tons of strike outs?  Well, the Sox #3 prospect is third baseman Garin Cecchini.  Cecchini hit a ton in Salem and Portland this year.  To stick at third, he'll need to hit with some more power but it appears that is likely.  Cecchini seems like the closest thing the Sox have to a star hitting prospect after Bogaerts.  He likely is on pace to compete for a job in Boston in 2015.

This means that we are doing well this year at all these positions.  Next year we have Peavy back, Middlebrooks at third and maybe some first, Bogaerts at short, and maybe some veteran help for short and first along with Mike Carp (Napoli is a free agent).  The following year, you could have Bogaerts and Marrero working things out at short; Middlebrooks, Bogaerts, and Cecchini settling things; and at first they will see if Middebrooks or Carp can seize that position or if they are out there trading for someone (which seems likely).

So, the Sox got Peavy and are positioned to succeed going forward.  Well played Mr. Cherington. 

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