The Orioles announced that they have exercised their $3.5MM club option on Jose Iglesias’ services for the 2021 season. (MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko broke the news via Twitter earlier this morning.) It was a $3MM decision for Baltimore, as the shortstop would have otherwise received a $500K buyout had the option been declined.
Iglesias signed a one-year contract last winter that paid him $3MM in guaranteed money (which became just shy of $926K due to the reduced schedule) for 2020, and included the option for 2021. Traditionally a glove-first player and a strong defensive shortstop, Iglesias ended up contributing in a much different manner than the O’s probably expected, as Iglesias exploded to hit .373/.400/.556 over 150 plate appearances. A whopping .407 BABIP was a big contributor to this performance, as Iglesias was only a .273/.315/.371 hitter in 2915 career PA prior to 2020.
While Iglesias still provided solid glovework, he played less shortstop than expected, as quad problems led to a short injured list stint and quite a bit of DH time. Needless to say, the Orioles would love a continuation of Iglesias’ breakout at the plate, but even if a “normal” Iglesias season in 2021 is more probable, the $3MM decision still seemed like a pretty straight-forward call.
With Iglesias now officially back in the fold, the Orioles can turn their attention to other potential infield moves, as possibly upgrading second and third base beyond Hanser Alberto and Rio Ruiz. Former Gold Glover Yolmer Sanchez was claimed off waivers from the White Sox on Friday, leading to speculation that Alberto could be a non-tender candidate.