When Jacoby Ellsbury left the Red Sox last Fall to sign with the New York Yankees, there could be heard from Red Sox Nation a great many “No One…” statements. Probably the one that was uttered the most was, “No one thought he would be back.”; followed by, “No one wanted him to go to the Yankees.” That was immediately followed by “No one was surprised that he went to the Yankees, as they were one of the few teams who could afford him.” There was also the popular, “No one expects him to play a full season.”, which is probably more just what we are hoping as opposed to a statement of fact. But, anyway, it has turned out that the “No one…” statement that is beginning to hit home now after the Sox anemic start is, “No one thought they would look this bad without him.”
After reading Jobu’s recent, and well done, evaluation of Ellsbury’s performance to date, I thought I would take a closer look at how Boston’s outfield has “contributed” so far, and found that the answer just confirmed what we already knew; essentially, not much. In the way of a reminder, the Yankees’s centerfielder through 48 games is hitting .258, with 2 Hrs, 18 RBIs, and 12 steals. I’m sure those are not the numbers New York fans were hoping for, but they don’t look so bad when compared to the numbers put up by those patrolling the not so friendly field at Fenway. Shane Victorino‘s numbers through 21 games are a less than impressive .242/1/10/1 SB. Jackie Bradley, who has played a solid CF, is hitting a mere .197 though 46 games with no homers, 15 RBIs, and just 3 SB. As I believe I mentioned last time, the Grady Sizemore experiment has not been much of a success, as he is hitting .221 through 38 games, with 13 RBIs, 3 SB, and 2 HRs, only one of which has come in the last 37 games. Jonny Gomes has put up reasonable numbers with 5 HRs and 22 RBIs through 37 games, but he’s not exactly known for his speed and is definitely not a CF candidate.
So where do the Sox turn now? L.A.? Apparently not Pawtucket, as the best hitting outfielder on their AAA team is Daniel Nava, who they recently brought back up to the parent team. Nava, after hitting .303 last year, struggled in April, and was sent down to Pawtucket. There, he hit .253 with 3 Hrs and 14 RBIs. Their next best hitter in AAA is Bryce Brentz who is hitting a not so robust .230. As much as I like Nava, it seems unlikely he is the answer to all their problems, so, maybe they do look West. Rumor has it that the Dodgers maybe open to moving either Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier, perhaps for a prospect or two.
I realize that as unproductive as the outfield has been, it’s not their only problem. However, I have to believe that picking up a solid, veteran outfielder has got to be easier than trying to figure out what’s going on in Clay Buchholz‘s head… and a lot less scary.
Featured image courtesy of: Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
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