By: Jake Perda
Here we are again. It’s 2017, and the Red Sox have once again put all their eggs in the same unreliable, moderately overweight basket.
But this time, the man who we were all relying on as “Pablo Insurance” is in Milwaukee mashing dingers, while we send Marco Hernandez and Josh Rutledge out there to try and stop the bleeding. With no timetable set for Pablo’s return, we are left to question what it is that the Red Sox are going to do at the hot corner for the foreseeable future. Let’s take look at a few of the options:
Marco Hernandez would seem to be the leading candidate for the job, but he has been placed on the 10-Day Disabled List after suffering a left shoulder subluxation in the first inning of Wednesday nights game. I’ve always been high on Hernandez, as he’s hit a respectable .284 in 61 games in the big leagues, but after watching him make 5 errors in just 9 games at third base in 2017, I’m not so sure that Hernandez has a future at the position.
The next man up at 3rd base for the Sox appears to be Josh Rutledge. While Rutledge certainly has not impressed during his time in a Red Sox uniform, he’s pretty much all we have at the moment. He’s managed just 1 home run in 69 games with the Sox, and 3rd base has consistently been his worst defensive position of the course of his career. This is far from ideal, but we’re stuck with Rutledge until the Sox can find someone better.
The ideal replacement for Sandoval would be Brock Holt. He’s a serviceable 3rd baseman, can get on base from any part of the order, and seeing the Brock-Benintendi bromance play out on the left side of the field would be must-see TV. Unfortunately, the Brockstar has been rehabbing from vertigo and has recently suffered a setback. The team has no timetable set for his return.
Of course you’ll get the prospect crazy fans that say to call up Rafael Devers, but that’s just a terrible idea. Don't me wrong, I’m not opposed to calling players up directly from Double-A if their coaches think they're ready for it. HOWEVER, Devers has played a grand total of 19 games at the Double-A level. It wouldn’t be fair of the Red Sox to rush him to the Majors and stunt his growth. We shouldn't be worried about Devers being in Boston until at July-August if this is still a problem
The Sox last option is to make a trade. The problem here is that Dave Dombrowski’s tendency to devour farm systems like a fat kid devours pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream has the Red Sox in a pretty vulnerable position as far as organizational depth. If they’re going to make a deal, it will likely need to be a buy-low type of deal in which they give up a player like Henry Owens or Brian Johnson. Blake Swihart could be a nice trade chip to use here, but he should only be dealt in the right deal. Catchers who can hit aren’t exactly a dime a dozen and Dealin’ Davey knows that.
The Sox are going to need to find a solution to this problem soon or else 3rd base will turn into a black hole of no offensive production just like last year. For a team who has struggled offensively in the first month of the season, they can’t afford to have an automatic out at any spot in the lineup. But I guess, we’ll have to wait and see. All I can say for now is “In Dave We Trust”.
Photo Credit:(Over The Monster)