Which Red Sox Player Has The Most Swag?

At this point, we’ve all seen the #WinDanceRepeat routine. We’ve all seen the Salt Bae’s Red Sox playerand the cool hairdos. But which Red Sox player has the most swag?

Is it Benintendi with his flow and boyish good looks? Or is it Mookie and his Jumpman cleats? Maybe JBJ and his janitor throw and sexy walk-up songs? The possibilities are endless, especially in the outfield.

Part of me wants to say Hanley is the Red Sox player with the most Swag because of the ease by which he hits and his obvious enjoyment of life. But I’m also partial to Xander Bogaerts and his plethora of arm sleeves and other baseball gear.

What about the pitchers? I see Chris Sale and his ultimate “I’m in charge” attitude as being a keystone of Red Sox player swagger. Although David Price, when healthy, can also walk to the mound like no one will stop him.

Perhaps the best way to settle this is by letter grading the current lineup.

Red Sox Player Swag Grades

Dustin Pedroia: It’s hard to have the grit he does and also nonchalant swag, but he can still make everything look cool and easy. Swag Grade: B

Andrew Benintendi: His hair and schoolboy demeanor bode well with his social media presence and dance moves. Swag Grade: A

Mookie Betts: The way he snarls, bowls, and throws the salt bae leaves little to be desired. Add that to his hot bat and Jordan brand apparel. Swag Grade: A+

Hanley Ramirez: The guy has sweet braids, baggy pants, and a whole lot of power. Swag Grade: B+

Mitch Moreland: Other than a cool nickname, not much there. Swag Grade: C-

Jackie Bradley Jr: A strong arm mixed with great athletic instincts yields little complaints. Swag Grade: B+

Pablo Sandoval and Marco Hernandez: No. Swag Grade: D

Brock Holt: Yes. Yes. Yes. Brock Star for life. Flow bro to Benintendi. Swag Grade: A-

Christian Vazquez: Another strong arm, good music taste. Swag Grade: C+

Sandy Leon: The Venezuelan Santa Claus is everything you want in a mythical figure. Swag Grade: B

Chris Sale: Don’t interrupt him and don’t give him the wrong clothes. For that reason. Swag Grade: A-

David Price: Cool dog, Tennesee accent, nice shoes. Swag Grade: A

Overall Consensus: The Red Sox player with the most swag is probably Mookie Betts. Maybe a future award will be called MSFP (Most Swag-Filled Player)

Good luck there, Mike Trout.

The Rusney Castillo Question

The Red Sox invested $72 million in outfielder Rusney Castillo towards the end of last season, assuming that he would be an integral part of the team’s plans in the future. Yet, so far, it hasn’t panned out that way. He’s spent a significant time in AAA Pawtucket and struggled to get significant playing time with the big league Red Sox when he has been up.

I find it most curious that Rusney Castillo hasn’t nailed down a consistent spot, especiallyRusney Castillo recently. He’s been slashing .385/.429/.577 in the last nine games he’s played, with a home run and 2 doubles. According to Over the Monster, the rationale behind the team’s decision might be that they want to respect the veteran guys on the roster, like Mike Napoli, but it could also have to do with showcasing guys like Nap with the waiver deadline coming up.

The latter is probably the case with Nap, and also with a guy like Alejandro De Aza. Both guys will be free agents at the end of the season, and it seems probable that they won’t be wearing Red Sox uniforms come the end of the 2015 season. This is speculation, but I’m guessing that the Red Sox would rather get something for those guys than just let them walk for nothing at the end of the year, which makes sense to me. I would think playing a guy they gave $72 million to would trump that.

This is just my opinion, but if it were me, I would play the $72 million guy as much as possible—at least in his first full season with the club—and give him a chance to let him show what the organization paid so much money for. I think he has the talent to justify the big contract, but he just needs a consistent opportunity to show it. And yes, I know we have other guys—Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr.—but of those guys, Hanley is the only other guy making big money. If Rusney Castillo doesn’t work out I’m all for having the 3 guys I just mentioned be our starting outfield (OK, probably minus Hanley if his defense doesn’t pick up), but for now I say give the guy a chance.

Mookie Betts Injury Gives Jackie Bradley Jr. Opportunity

Mookie Betts has proven that athleticism is not something he is lacking this season. He has quick bat speed and learned to play center field very well. Tuesday night he made a great catch running full speed but flipped over the bullpen in right center field. The catch did not count as it was a home run after Betts flipped over the wall, but Betts was diagnosed with a concussion. He was placed on the 7 days disabled list on Wednesday and the team called up Jackie Bradley Jr.

Manager John Farrell said Bradley Jr. will be playing center field everyday while Betts is Mookie Betts injuryout. The extent to Betts concussion is not known but the Red Sox should not rush Betts back as it already is a lost season, while Betts has been one of the few bright spots.

Obviously no one wants to wish someone to get injured but Bradley Jr. has to relish this opportunity as it looks like Rusney Castillo will be in right field for the remainder of the season. Bradley Jr. has proven he can hit minor league pitching this season as he has been one of the best hitters in the International League for the PawSox. He has also shown power as of late having two, two homer games in the past week. The defense has never been the question with Bradley Jr. it has always been whether he can hit major league pitching.

With Betts on the disabled list this could be the last test Bradley will get with the Red Sox. When Shane Victorino went down with an injury earlier this season the Red Sox acquired Alejandro De Aza instead of bringing up Bradley Jr. obviously not what he wanted and although De Aza has played well in his stint with the Red Sox, they should be playing Bradley, as De Aza will likely be gone after this season.

With the trade deadline Friday afternoon it is likely now Bradley will be still with the Red Sox after he built up some value at Triple-A. With an outfield likely full for next season unless Hanley Ramirez changes positions, this is will an opportunity for Jackie Bradley Jr. to prove he can be a piece off the bench next season.

Red Sox Acquire Ryan Cook from A’s

The Red Sox had a quiet trade deadline not dealing any of the veterans many of us expected them to. Mike Napoli and Alejandro De Aza were still in the lineup for Friday nights game with the Rays, while many Sox fans feel the Sox need to look elsewhere and give the younger players a shot.

The Sox did make one small move in acquiring A’s pitcher Ryan Cook. Cook, now 28, was the A’s former closer, who was an All-Star in 2012.Ryan Cook It is expected Cook will be activated tomorrow and supply some help in the Red Sox depleted bullpen. Cook was pitching in Triple-A Nashville, but did appear in 4 games with the A’s this season allowing 5 runs. He also was once traded for now teammate Craig Breslow, when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Cook had a 4.05 ERA in 30 appearances with the Nashville Sounds this season, so the Red Sox seem to be taking a flier on a player they expect to rebound while controlling him for two additional years. Cook does come cheap, as the Sox will either surrender a player to be named later or cash in the deal. Cook spent two stints on the disabled list last season but this year has been working to get his effectiveness back, as he sometimes has trouble find the plate.

Obviously the Red Sox did not seem to find a taker for any bad contracts they have signed in recent years and did not want to deal of of their prospects with many of the top prospects in the lower levels. The Red Sox bowed out of the Cole Hamels sweepstakes after Hamels had listed the Red Sox on his no trade list but I feel if they offered to pick up his option for 2020 he would likely have approved the deal. Tyson Ross’ name was tossed around Friday as well who were looking for a shortstop of the future but apparently Deven Marrero was not the shortstop they were looking for.

The Red Sox can still make moves until August 31 but the player needs to pass through waivers to be dealt. Mike Napoli and his salary would likely pass through waivers but the Pirates who were rumored to have interest in Napoli, acquired Michael Morse on Friday so they seem to have a right handed hitter to platoon as first.

Daniel Nava Begins Rehab Assignment with PawSox

The PawSox got yet another player added to their roster for a rehab assignment this week as Daniel Nava was sent to Pawtucket to play starting on Thursday night. Nava was really lost in the shuffle with the Red Sox roster early on in the year and only collected 73 plate appearances, and has been on the disabled list since May 26 with a thumb bruise.

Nava had a great year in 2013 platooning in left field with Jonny Gomes but struggled last Daniel Navaseason even being optioned to Pawtucket in early May. Nava eventually made his way back to the major league roster but became more of a bench player. The versatility Nava serves is something that does not go unnoticed by Red Sox brass as he plays left and right field well and mixes in first base. Playing the left field wall as many have realized this year with Hanley Ramirez out there is not something that can be taken for granted.

The roster crunch will continue as Shane Victorino just finished up a rehab stint and is expected to be activated this weekend. Ryan Haniagan was activated in time for Thursday night’s blowout against the Blue Jays likely meaning a catcher will lose their roster spot. Which makes me you think, will Nava even have a roster spot when his rehab stint is over?

The chances are likely no but an injury could always occur and have Nava taken advantage of an unfortunate circumstance for someone else. Hanley Ramirez does not look like he will be going on the disabled list soon after a week off with a bruised wrist from a line drive. Shane Victorino hasn’t been healthy for much of his time with the Red Sox, so he might not be on the roster for long. Alejandro De Aza is someone who needs to stay on the Red Sox team as he looks to have provided some sort of spark for the team even if he is just a fourth outfielder on a good team he is a veteran.

Much has been made of Mike Napoli’s struggles this year and John Farrell has said they will stick with him as he has been dropped to as low as 8th in the lineup on some occasions. Nava could take advantage of some playing time if he can get it with Napoli continuing to hit under .200 and striking out a prolific rate as he continues to think the umpires are out to get him with the strike zone.

Daniel Nava began a rehab assignment with the PawSox on Thursday night, but a spot on the Red Sox roster when he is ready to be activated might be his for the taking.

Alejandro De Aza Has Been Great for the Red Sox

Initially, Red Sox fans didn’t expect much from Alejandro De Aza. The outfielder was designated for assignment by Baltimore, then traded to Boston on June 3rd for Double-A pitcher Joe Gunkel. Great, we thought: another semi-serviceable yet unspectacular outfielder. We really needed one of those.

Yet, all sarcasm aside, amid the worried din of a spluttering Red Sox season, De Aza has been a tremendous addition; his play on both sides of the ball adding a new dimension to De Azathis Boston team, and inspiring it to a mini resurgence in recent weeks.

Through his first 20 games with the Red Sox, De Aza is hitting .317, getting on base at a very respectable .348 clip, and, somewhat surprisingly, slugging .617. The Dominican has hit 3 home runs with Boston, slashed 4 doubles, and collected 11 RBI. Over the past seven days, De Aza owns a 1.378 OPS, second best in all of baseball, while his average of seeing four pitches per plate appearance would, given enough playing time, rank in the Major League’s top 20.

Admittedly, a Line Drive Percentage of 25, down from 32% with the Orioles, coupled with a high .354 Batting Average on Balls in Play, means De Aza is likely to cool off as pitchers and defenses adjust, but, for little more than $3 million in remaining salary, his production has been a real bargain for the Red Sox. Ben Cherington should be commended on a great business move, in which he extracted brilliant value from an asset simply discarded by a rival team.

This, somewhat inevitably, brings us to Hanley Ramirez, the injured superstar De Aza has replaced in the Red Sox’ outfield. Though it may be difficult for traditionalists to swallow, statisticians will tell you that De Aza has already been more valuable to Boston in one month than Ramirez has been in the entire first half. After all, De Aza has added 1 Win Above Replacement, as measured by Baseball-Reference, compared to Hanley costing the Sox -0.1 WAR. I don’t agree entirely, but the stats essentially tell us that Ramirez, earning $14.75 million more than De Aza this year, has thus far contributed less to the Red Sox’ overall success than has Alejandro, which is a particularly startling revelation.

With Ramirez expected to return very soon, the Red Sox will once again face a logjam in the outfield, with Jackie Bradley Jr and Mookie Betts also playing well; Rusney Castillo and Allen Craig still languishing in Pawtucket; and Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava working their way back to health. However, I strongly believe that all great teams work on a meritocracy, with the best-performing players deserving the opportunity to play. For the Red Sox, such a system would have to include De Aza, who has been one of the team’s most consistent players in June.

Ultimately, some solution will be found in the outfield, where the Red Sox have eight viable options for four big league roster spots. As the deadline approaches, De Aza’s value may best lie as a stealth trade chip. Though unlikely to be dealt as a stand alone asset, it would be great if the Red Sox could include Alejandro in an inventive deal for pitching, having seen his stock rise from Baltimore castaway to big league desirable. Perhaps that’s where his future lies, but, right now, let’s just enjoy De Aza for what he is: a very solid ballplayer with a decent array of respectable tools.