MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning to discuss topics of interest surrounding the Red Sox.
Jose Iglesias has been turning heads with his play at shortstop in spring training, but Gammons said the young Cuban needs more seasoning in the minor leagues.
"It may be three months or whatever, but I think he does need those at-bats in the minors," Gammons said. "What's he started, 160 [actually 171] games in the minor leagues? That's the equivalent of one season. He's still a ways away in terms of getting the experience and seeing the balls out of pitcher's hands to recognize breaking balls."
Asked if Iglesias would rank as the best defensive shortstop in the major leagues if he started with the Sox on Opening Day, Gammons said: "Very close to it."
Gammons said Iglesias has shown a great deal of maturity for a 22-year-old.
"He comes from a very highly educated, intelligent family -- just the way he picked English up in such a short period of time, and so forth," Gammons said. "People like him because he has a lot of fun. He likes to play the game."
One of the Sox' other question marks is fifth starter. Gammons gives the nod to Felix Doubront over Andrew Miller and Vicente Padilla.
"I just have this sense that Doubront is the favorite, and that Padilla is a guy that's going to go back and forth between relieving and starting. I may be wrong there. … I really sense that Doubront has a great shot to start here. It's also, as we know, complicated by the fact that Doubront, Miller and [Franklin] Morales all are out of options. I don't know about Miller, [but] I don't think there's any chance that Doubront or Morales would get through waivers. I don't think there's a chance in the world."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On Carl Crawford returning from his wrist injury: "I'm worried a little bit just about starting the season. He worked so hard, clearly trying to get ready and to be able to be ready to play Opening Day, he may have overdone it a little bit. I hope that he's able to back off a little bit and just think about, 'Look, if I'm ready on April 15th or May 1st that's fine.' … It's not a small injury. It's something to really concern yourself with."
On the new wild card playoff games: "I like it. I'm a big believer in elimination games, one-game eliminations. It's kind of what makes March so great in college basketball. And I think we saw that last September. In terms of television entertainment -- and remember, MLB takes a tremendous beating on their ratings, no matter what they are -- I think that these elimination games will create a lot more interest than a seven-game series. Seven-game series are fairer, but let's face it, they're in the business to make money, and they're in the entertainment business."
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