Is A Todd Frazier Trade The Answer For The Red Sox?

With the Red Sox off to a disappointing start, Dave Dombrowski and his disciples are desperately scrambling for some Flex Seal to cover the holes of a sinking ship. The two major holes are on the corner infield as well as another starting pitcher. The Red Sox’s Todd Frazier traderecent trip to scout the White Sox seemed like it could cover all those problems. The result of the trip? Swirling rumors of a Todd Frazier trade.

The lack of production at third base has been no small story for the Red Sox the last few years. The problem has grown tremendously this season. Pablo Sandoval has missed the last month with a knee injury and was underachieving before his DL stint. So yeah, the Red Sox need help at third, but is Todd Frazier the answer for this issue?

Frazier’s 2017 hasn’t been stellar by any means, either. The two-time All Star is below the Mendoza line, hitting .195 with only four homers and 17 RBI. Not one to hit for average, he only hit .225 in 2016 but mashed 40 homers. He is a dead pull hitter which would obviously be extremely favorable playing at Fenway Park. His numbers this year, however, aren’t much further off than Sandoval’s and Frazier has played the whole year.

Most Red Sox fans reasonably thought the scouts were going to Chicago to see starter Jose Quintana. Quintana has been Chicago’s ace this year and the White Sox haven’t been shy about putting him on the trading block. The problem with that would be the price. The Red Sox are desperate for a starter and everyone knows it so the price will sky-rocket. With all the prospects Boston has given up over the last two seasons, that may be near impossible at this juncture.

So we move back to Frazier. The price for him should be astronomically less even though they are desperate for a third baseman as well. Frazier has almost no value to any other contender. With the White Sox about to blow things up after a 20-22 start, they’ll be looking to get Frazier off their hands and eat up most of his salary.

That being said, this might not actually be a terrible deal. Look, Frazier isn’t gonna hit .300 or even .250 probably, but he has some value. He is an every day player who can play both first and third. With Hanley Ramirez’s nagging injury, that can finally allow Mitch Moreland the occasional day off. He will also bring some power to a lineup that has absolutely none right now. With no pop coming from Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts, or Dustin Pedroia right now, that could be crucial.

Next year, Rafael Devers and possibly Sam Travis will be ready to go at those positions. For now, they’re desperate. If they can get Frazier at a nice price without giving up high-end prospects, this could be alright. I’m not exactly ecstatic about this, but the Red Sox need something right now. In the end, like any of these deals, it needs to be the right price. Dave Dombrowski never overpays, right? Right?

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.

Is Pablo Sandoval Ready to Start Over?

Seemingly every time I unlock my iPhone, I see Pablo Sandoval. I’m not sure if that excites me, or merely worries me.

It’s all over social media. I’ll simply be scrolling through my Snapchat feed  when a story will popPablo Sandoval up and he will be working out with Miguel Cabrera. The next time I check my phone, Sandoval is live streaming his batting-practice on Instagram. There is reason to be enthusiastic, but I’m not sold yet.

Sandoval has hit a mere .242 in the American league thus far, and his on-base-percentage is under .300. He has not been spectacular defensively either, with 16 errors made in the field in just 129 games. The Red Sox should not be having issues at third-base, and Sandoval has under produced. He has been a disappointment so far, especially for a player who is still guaranteed some $40 million dollars.

Travis Shaw had potential in Boston. In his first full season in the big leagues, he showed promise in his somewhat limited role in Boston’s rotation of infielders. He hit 16 homers, 34 doubles and drove in 43 runs. Shaw only hit .242 last year, but what he did show was the capability to improve a clean swing that can drive balls to the pull side and gaps. Also, his ripe age of 26 made him even more appealing to me, personally.

Pablo Sandoval’s Role Moving Forward

Trading for Tyler Thornburg makes sense. We picked up a guy who has established himself as a dominant reliever in baseball for a player who may or may not have fit our system. Travis Shaw will now have a chance to flourish in Milwaukee, while Thornburg sets up Kimbrel in our bullpen. The Red Sox will now be forced to go ‘all-in’ on Pablo Sandoval because Shaw and Moncada are gone.

The numbers have not lied about Pablo Sandoval yet, as analysts have not projected him to be heavily productive at third base for this roster. Who knows what could happen? This is a guy who carried San Francisco on his back to a World Series title back in 2012. Watching him crush home-runs out of AT&T Park and seeing the pandamonium (yes, I went there) take place was an unbelievable experience for me, as a young baseball fan. Pablo Sandoval was the driving force of a World-Series-winning team just five years ago. It doesn’t sound like a risk at all when you put it that way, right?

Do Not Give Up On Will Middlebrooks

will middlebrooksTo the common eye, the Boston Red Sox are in a real hole when it comes to third base next season. Will Middlebrooks is struggling, Brock Holt is slumping and Garin Cecchini is not ready to take over the  big league job. Although Cecchini is an appealing option at third, he is still a few hundred AAA at-bats away from being ready for the big league level. As controversial as it may sound, Will Middlebrooks is the most likely candidate to win the starting third base job next season.
zoom lebron ambassador 4
Sure, he got demoted last year for having the lowest OBP in the league and sure he is not exactly hitting above the Mendoza Line this year, but it is not time to give up on Will Middlebrooks. Although a .182/.249/.260 slash line for the 26-year-old Texas native in 53 games may say otherwise, it is still way too early to give up hope.

Keep in mind—this is the same guy who clubbed a homerun once in every less than 20 at-bats in 2012-2013. This is the same guy who slugged .500 against lefties in that same time frame. Is he playing as well now? Absolutely not.
nike air max 360
Since the All-Star break, Brock Holt’s slash line has plummeted down to .219/.278/.271 in 45 games. A sub-.300 OBP is never a good sign, but Holt is still, nonetheless, a valuable contributor to a big league club. Perhaps he may take some reps at third base next season dependent on the performance of Will Middlebrooks early-on-in.

Middlebrooks will be spending some time in winter ball this offseason, but right now it is not apparent when or where. Of course giving him some extra at-bats will be beneficial, especially when he gets to work with different hitting instructors.  He may learn something new there or get back in a groove — at this point it could not hurt to try. Who knows? Maybe he finally gets to play in 140 games and unleash that 30-homerun power Bill James and many other great baseball minds dream of.