I really thought that when I finished last week’s piece on the Red Sox tradeline (a new word that combines trade and deadline) activities, I was essentially finished writing about them in any detail for the rest of the season. It didn’t take me too long, however, to realize that there are more than a few other questions that I should have taken some time to address. So, here goes.
“I don’t give a darn. Oh he’s our shortstop.”
I did mention previously what is probably the biggest single question the Sox face: is Xander Bogaerts a major league shortstop? I’ve gone on record before with my feelings that, like his idol Derek Jeter (after whom he wears number 2), he should move to third base. Of course this in turn leads to two more questions; namely who does play short, and what do you do with Will Middlebrooks? The Red Sox were reportedly enthused with the play of their AAA shortstop, Deven Marrero, but that has cooled, as he has been hitting at a mere .179 clip over his last 10 games. As for Middlebrooks, as much as the Red Sox like his potential as a power hitter–he has 34 Hrs and 113 RBIs in 198 career games–his inability to stay healthy–he’s only appeared in 29 games this season–is a real problem. Although they may try him as first baseman, it is more likely that they will attempt to trade him, move Bogaerts to third, and then hope that either Marrero or Mookie Betts steps up at short–keeping in mind that Betts is an infielder by trade.
“Put me in coach….”
Assuming that Boston is solid enough on the right side of the infield with Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli, then the next big issue revolves around centerfield. It’s becoming more and more of a concern that Jackie Bradley (pictured above), everyone’s darling coming out of Spring training in 2013, cannot handle major league pitching well enough to be an everyday starter. Despite a promising June, he has struggled through 22 games since the All-Star break, putting up numbers of .136-0-2, for totals of .211-1-28, in 107 games on the year. Right now, the general line of thought is that a healthy Shane Victorino will move back to his natural position when he returns, but given that he is 34 and somewhat injury prone, one can assume that Bradley maybe kept around as a backup. The corner outfield positions will be manned by newcomers Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig. It’s generally believed that Cespedes, to take advantage of his stronger arm, will play the more spacious rightfield. Of course, if Craig cannot regain the form that made him a.career .291 hitter in the NL, then things could change.
“Shipping up to Boston…”
Things could also change if Jon Lester does not return to Boston but instead ends up in Detroit, New York, or Theo Epstein’s Chicago. Obviously, that last destination would be preferable if he doesn’t return to the Hub, as it would at least keep him out of the AL. There is still optimism here that they can sign him, but failing that, the Sox should bring in another big name, such as Cole Hamels. One way or the other, there isn’t much left to do but ride out the rest of the season and hope for some positive answers to all those questions.
POST SCRIPT: If you would like to read an depth report on all the young guns the Red Sox have waiting to take the mound, then you should read Nick Cafardo column in the August 10th, Boston Globe. It’s very complete and also includes perhaps the brightest young star who I forgot to mention, namely Henry Owens. The 22 year old, lefthander, who stands 6’6″, won in his first appearance at AAA after going 14-4, at AA, Portland. It is anticipated that he will make it full time to the big club by next year.
Okay, now if I can just find my Patriots’ shirt…
- The “Roger That” Edition - February 28, 2017
- The “Nice Ring To It” Edition - February 3, 2017
- The “Shaken, Not Stirred” Edition - January 17, 2017
- The “Malcolms in the Middle” Edition - January 11, 2017
- A “Catching Up, Following Up, and Weighing In” Edition - December 31, 2016
- The “Cannon and Flowers” Edition - December 21, 2016
- The “Farm, for Sale” Edition - December 10, 2016
- The “Tebucky Jones Tribute” Edition - November 13, 2016
- The “World, Serious” Edition - November 1, 2016
- The “Easy Come, Easy Go” Edition - October 18, 2016