What Are The Red Sox Third Base Options?

Since the days of Mike Lowell, the Boston Red Sox third base situation has been in a constant state of change. First were Adrian Beltre and Kevin Youkilis. There was promise of Will Middlebrooks and, briefly, Jose Iglesias. Next came the Xander Bogaerts experiment and the Pablo Sandoval signing, followed by the Travis Shaw rise and fall.

red sox third base

This season, it’s been even more of a revolving door. After an impressive spring, Pablo Sandoval got his job back. When Sandoval was injured in late April, Marco Hernandez received some playing time. Then when Hernandez went down, journeyman Josh Rutledge got the opportunity. Since his struggles, however, former top draft pick Deven Marrero has been on the field. All of these injuries and slumps inconveniently happened while the original backup, Brock Holt, is recovering from vertigo.

In addition, the offensive and defensive production at third base for the Red Sox leaves a lot to be desired no matter who is on the field. Obviously, some of this is due to their inexperience, but when a contending team like the Red Sox needs consistent production, ironically changes tend to be made.

Currently, the Red Sox do not even have a third baseman who qualifies with enough at-bats to be ranked for batting average. The only players remotely close are Rutledge and Sandoval, who are batting .281 and .213 respectively. Sandoval, if healthy, would be third-to-last in the AL in batting average as of today. In the field, Hernandez and Sandoval rank in the top ten in errors committed, despite only playing in a combined total of 23 games.

Current Red Sox Third Base Options

So who will end up being the answer at third base? One could argue it will be Sandoval when he returns from the disabled list simply because he was the starter. It most likely will not be Rutledge or Hernandez full-time because they are just utility infielders by trade.

If not Sandoval, the Red Sox are left with few options. They could stick with Marrero because of his sound defense, but lose pop in the lineup. Considering they are already last in the American League in home runs, that is not a good idea.

Another option would be to ride it out until the trade deadline, see what Panda has to offer, then try to acquire somebody like David Freese, Danny Valencia, or even free-agent Brett Lawrie or old friend Will Middlebrooks.

The last option is unlikely but possible. Top infield prospect Rafael Devers is currently hitting .333 with a .403 SLG and a 1.007 OPS. He only has 4 errors in 27 games at Portland as well.

Ultimately, Dave Dombrowski will need to make a decision soon – as the Red Sox struggle to find offensive consistency.

The Drew Pomeranz Deal Was A Mistake

Let’s just get down to it; the Drew Pomeranz deal has been a disaster so far. Since Pomeranz joined the club, his stats have done the talking. He has a 6-8 record with an Drew Pomeranz DealERA of 4.82 in 21 games pitched. In those 21 games (20 starts), he has given up 21 home runs and has walked 38 hitters. Pomeranz has been dealing with injuries ever since he showed up in Boston. In his last start he was pulled in the third inning with left-forearm tightness.

The Drew Pomeranz Deal Was Risky To Begin With

Whether Pomeranz is involved in a World Series run or not, the Sox still traded away a valuable prospect for him. Anderson Espinoza was ranked as a top 25 prospect by Baseball America, MLB, and Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2017 season. He’s a guy whose fastball is already 94-97 mph. The Sox were desperate for starting pitching last year, which ultimately was the deciding factor in the deal. When news broke that San Diego GM AJ Preller disclosed information on Pomeranz’s health concerns, Boston was given opportunity to rescind the trade. They declined the offer, which may have been the worst decision so far. Dealing a valuable prospect in Espinoza was already risky. Doing it for an injured Pomeranz who still has not proved himself in the big leagues yet? That’s a real risk.

The Drew Pomeranz Deal Still Has Time to Correct Itself

Drew Pomeranz is under contract for this season, and will be arbitration-eligible next year. In 2019, he will be a free-agent. If a trade were to be made, the Sox would still have an opportunity to benefit from making the Pomeranz deal in the first place. To this point, he has been one of the least reliable pitchers in the organization. Maybe he has been bothered by injury ever since he was traded here, but regardless, we need production. The Red Sox starting pitching has taken on too may injuries to allow Pomeranz to be this bad. Trying to pitch in Boston is tough for any pitcher, and it doesn’t always work out. This could just be one of those cases.

Who Is The Biggest Boston Sports Villain Right Now?

In Boston’s illustrious history, there has always been a villain. Whether it be King George, Roger Goodell or the entire city of New York, there has always been a rival. The recent retirements of guys like Kobe Bryant, A-Rod and Peyton Manning has ushered in a new era for a potential Boston sports villain. It seems like there is one who stands out above all the other athletes marred on the Boston sports scene.

The Patriots’ success in the past decade and a half has made rivals all but obsolete.Boston sports villain InBoston sports villain football, it’s difficult to pinpoint a single player as the villain. The perfect one was Peyton Manning. He was always in the discussion with Brady as the greatest quarterback in the league or even of all time. Also, the Colts were often in high-stake games with the Patriots. Even though Peyton’s brother Eli has beaten the Pats twice in the Super Bowl, they don’t play each other enough to call him a villain.

A blockbuster trade last summer took away the great Bruins villain of this generation. P.K. Subban was the face of the Montreal Canadiens and a bona fide Bruins killer, especially in the playoffs. Now with Subban in Nashville, that position lay void for the time being. I’ve already written about Manny Machado’s rise as the Red Sox villain in place of Alex Rodriguez, so that just leaves one team yet to be covered.

You probably could have guessed this by now, but clearly the biggest Boston sports villain is one LeBron James. This rivalry goes back about a decade now and, like Manning, Boston has always been the thorn in LeBron’s side. He has had his success against the Celtics, sure, but it has never been easy.

The Celtics and LeBron’s teams have always been each other’s main competition. In his first stint with Cleveland, the Celtics knocked out two very promising Cavaliers teams in the second round. In 2008, he bowed out of an epic duel with Paul Pierce in a Game Seven in which both scored over 40 points. It was a vintage showdown with two of the league’s best scorers, and LeBron couldn’t win it.

Not only is he a generational player, he is also one of sports’ biggest dinks. Boston doesn’t like dinks. Everything from “The Decision” to Miami’s super team to the Prodigal Son’s return rubbed Boston and basketball fans the wrong way. The Celtics’ Big Three had one last tango with LeBron’s Heat in the 2012 Conference Finals, where the Celtics lost in seven games. It was LeBron’s 45 points at the TD Garden in Game Six that felt like the dagger in the Celtics fans’ hearts. At least, that’s what we thought.

That summer, LeBron pirated one more star for the World Champion Heat. Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen took a pay cut to go join LeBron and the Celtics’ chief rival. As we’ve seen in the news the past few weeks, that didn’t sit well with Bostonians or his fellow Celtics. LeBron, of course, was the catalyst of that.

So that’s the villain. LeBron is the Joker, Lex Luther, and the Boogeyman all rolled into one. Luckily for us fans, we get another Celtics-LeBron rodeo this week. It may be quick and it may be another LeBron victory, but we will have to embrace this theatre. In the near future, the Red Sox will have hatred like this again. For now though, we’ll have to settle for this. So bring it on, LeBron, bring it on.

Red Sox’ Injuries Plague Team into Bad Stretch

It seems that the Red Sox can not catch a break when it comes to staying healthy. Drew Red Sox' InjuriesPomeranz left his most recent game after experiencing left-forearm tightness, while Marco Hernandez banged up his shoulder just the other day. This is a team that is looking to turn things around after losing consecutive series to Milwaukee and Tampa Bay. If it weren’t for a late Mookie Betts home-run on Thursday, we would have been swept by Travis Shaw’s Brewers. The Red Sox’ injuries have been coming fast and furious so far, and hopefully can come to an end soon.

Are the Red Sox’ Injuries to blame for hitting rough patch?

Pomeranz, Hernandez, Stephen Wright, Pablo Sandoval (surprisingly), Brock Holt, and Hanley Ramirez have all faced injuries this season. Meanwhile, David Price, Roenis Elias, Tyler Thornburg, and Carson Smith have not appeared in a game yet this year. Going into this season, arguably every one of those names were ones that were going to make a huge impact this year. Sure, there is still plenty of time for some of these guys to contribute. Dave Dombrowski is going to have to make a decision soon, though. The inconsistencies in the lineup, bullpen, and back-end of the starting rotation all start with the injuries.

Red Sox’ Injuries or Red Sox’ Slump?

With a lack of depth in the roster due to injuries, several players have hit their own cold spells. Rick Porcello and Jackie Bradley Jr have slumped in their respective roles because they have so much pressure on them to succeed. Last year, Porcello went under the radar for a decent amount of the year before ultimately winning the Cy Young. Bradley was able to alleviate stressful situations last season because there were more guys in the lineup who could get RBI. Are these guys slumping because of the added pressure that injuries bring, or because they simply are struggling? The same question can be asked about Mitch Moreland and Andrew Benintendi, who started the year off hot, but have cooled down tremendously, (as the injuries have rolled in). Only time will tell if the Sox will break their rut, but a little more luck with health wouldn’t hurt either.

How Young Is Too Young To Consider a MLB Career?

Sunday morning I read about three high school pitchers in Texas who threw consecutive no-hitters last month. Casey Brownlow threw the first. Zach Hahn threw the second. Judson Hudson threw the third. For a high school team like the Grandview Zebras to record one no-hitter is impressive enough. But for three different pitchers to throw three consecutive no-no’s is unheard of. This kind of an accomplishment is sure to make these boys consider a MLB career. The problem is that while such an ambition is inspiring, its also extraordinary difficult to accomplish.

We’ve all read about teen prodigies who made it to the majors. Al Kaline was just 18 whenMLB Career he broke in with the Detroit Tigers in 1953. Mickey Mantle was 19 when he joined the Yankees. Carl Scheib was only 16 when he got his first strikeout for the Philadelphia A’s in 1943.  Considering these feats, it’s easy to jump to the idea that a MLB career isn’t too far away for these boys. But looking at the following numbers will make anyone think twice.

According to chasingmlbdreams.com, only 1 in every 200 high school baseball players are drafted by a major league team into the minors. According to motherjones.com, only about 10% of those players will actually make it to the majors. So if my math is correct (granted I failed math in high school) only 0.005% of high school baseball players will make it to the majors.

Laying the ground work for a MLB career is no small task. In fact, most players miss that window of opportunity by the time they’re of legal drinking age. This also means that high school players like Brownlow, Hahn, and Hudson may have some hard decisions to make. Thinking about a career in baseball is a lot for a high school senior. As a high school teacher, I can tell you that teens already have it harder than any other generation. They don’t need pressure. They need selfless guidance and support.

There’s a Lot That Goes Into Building a MLB Career

The exposure to social media and advancements in technology is making it harder than ever to be a teen. Social obligations, peer pressure, efforts to fit in, and wondering what to do with his or her life all weigh on a teen’s mind. Not to mention their brains haven’t fully developed yet making it harder to make rational decisions (though you could say the same about members of Congress). It’s a real dilemma of you think about it. Giving up time with your friends and family to focus solely on baseball is hard enough. It’s even harder when you consider there’s still no guarantee of making it to the majors no matter how hard you work. But the idea of looking back one day and wondering what could have been can also be daunting.

Whether Brownlow, Hahn, and Hudson are seriously considering a MLB career is unknown. What I do know is that regardless of their decision, as teens they’ll need a lot of help and support. If they want to pursue a career in baseball they’ll need as much support as they can get. They’ll have to recognize what it’ll take and what sacrifices they’ll have to make. But at the same time, whoever is there for them also needs to remember that they’re young. They’re going to make mistakes. They’ll have regrets from time to time. In those instances they’ll need to know that they’ll always be supported and loved. I’m not their coach, nor am I their dad or brother. But I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees with my sentiments.

Jackie Bradley’s Struggles Continue

The year is 2017 and not much has changed. It’s 60 degrees on a good day in May and Jackie Bradley’s struggles provide us great fodder for heckling. Red Sox fans and management once again have to play this cat-and-mouse game with Bradley and wonder when he will fulfill his potential.

Personally, I am so sick of waiting around for Jackie Bradley. Ever since he tore up Spring Jackie Bradley's strugglesTraining in 2013, he has never lived up to the hype. That year, he hit only .189 in 37 games. The following year he hit .198 as Jacoby Ellsbury’s replacement. Yet, we kept hearing about how it will take time for Bradley to develop. Still waiting.

Defensively, Bradley is elite. A bona fide Gold Glove candidate, his value in the field is indisputable. Offensively, however, what does he bring to the table? He filled in the shoes of Jacoby Ellsbury who, if nothing else, was great at getting on base and stealing bases. Even with speed and range in center field, Bradley’s season-high for stolen bases is just nine.

For the exception of two months in 2016, Bradley’s offensive career has been underwhelming to say the least. He earned a trip to the All-Star Game last year due in large part to his 29-game hitting streak. Outside of that, it would be an understatement to say that he has sucked. Even with that hitting streak, he only hit .267 for the season and 24 of his 87 RBI came in May.

Are Jackie Bradley’s Struggles Even Worth It?

Our aspirations of Bradley becoming a leadoff guy hitting .300 have fallen flat. Instead, we’ve become all too used to seeing him strike out on an outside breaking ball. Yet, we keep hearing the same old lines.

“Give him some time, he’s still young.”

“What about the hitting streak?”

Here’s news: he’s not still young. He’s 27. He’s had parts of five seasons in this league. Out of those seasons, he’s had two solid months.

This year has been an absolute horror show for Bradley. He has a stellar .182 batting average with a whopping two homers and seven RBI. With a pathetic .238 OBP, Bradley has done nothing right. You could say he has been the catalyst of the Red Sox’s offensive struggles. No matter where he has been put in the lineup, he has sucked. There’s no way around it.

So I ask: how much longer are we gonna put up with this crap? Finding a serviceable defensive center fielder wouldn’t be too hard. Finding one that can give more than Jackie Bradley should be even easier. Bradley will be arbitration eligible next year and as a Scott Boras guy, he may not be here beyond this year.

In the case of his career I ask: What season is the anomaly—the All-Star year or all the other ones?