Jose Iglesias Pours Salt In Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day Loss Wound


The play of Cincinnati’s shortstop on Thursday afternoon was salt in the wound of the Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day loss

On Thursday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates started their 2019 regular season at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. The Pirates were defeated by their divisional rival Reds 5-3 to start their season with an 0-1 record.

In the loss, a player that was only in the lineup due to an injury to Cincinnati second baseman Scooter Gennett helped to sink the Bucs. With the Gennett injury, starting shortstop Jose Peraza has temporarily moved to second base for the Reds. This opened the door at shortstop for veteran Jose Iglesias.

Iglesias signed a minor league contract with the Reds on February 23rd. It was surprise to see Iglesias have to wait so long to get a contract, and it was an even bigger surprise for him to have to settle for a minor league contract. Despite his offensive shortcomings, Iglesias is one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball that has been worth an average of 2.1 fWAR the past five seasons.

It is no secret that the Pirates entered the offseason with a major whole at shortstop. Outside of adding the light hitting, largely unknown Erik Gonzalez the team failed to address shortstop in the offseason. With no other moves made, Gonzalez has become the team’s starting shortstop.

Throughout the offseason, Iglesias was a player that many Pirate fans, myself included, believed the team should sign. As the offseason carried on, the Bucs continued to ignore shortstop and did not spend money that was there to spent. Leading to the team entering the season with a $75 million payroll and Gonzalez at shortstop.

In Thursday’s 5-3 loss, Iglesias picked up two of the game’s biggest hits. The first came when he doubled off the left field wall in the bottom of the 2nd inning to drive in Cincinnati’s first run. Then in the bottom of the 7th inning with the game tied at 2 and a runner on first base, Iglesias snuck a double just fair down the left field line.

Following his second double, Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, who had been pitching a gem, exited the game. Derek Dietrich then hit a game-winning three-run pinch hit home run off of Richard Rodriguez. The fact Iglesias had two key hits in the Reds victory was nothing but salt in the wound of the Pirates 5-3 season-opening loss.

Signing Iglesias would have been an easy move for the Pirates to make. He signed a minor league deal with the Reds, so he could have been had at both a cheap price and on just a one-year contract to avoid him potentially blocking Cole Tucker in 2020.

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Instead, the Pirates decided to roll with Gonzalez. A mistake for a team that, outside of shortstop and the final spot in their starting rotation, did not have many glaring holes to fill in the offseason and should be looking to win now. Iglesias would have been a great fit at shortstop for the Pirates in 2019, instead, he is now playing for a division rival and he spent Opening Day pouring salt in the wounds of Pirate fans.