Boston Red Sox 2016 Holes to Address in the Infield
- Updated: September 17, 2015
First off, let’s just say right up front that the Red Sox are all set at the middle infield positions with Dustin Pedroia at 2B and Xander Bogaerts (his 2015 numbers can be seen below) at SS! That leaves question marks at 1B, 3B and Catcher, not because they don’t have guys to play all of those positions, but because in my opinion, no one is a lock to play any of those positions between the mlb baseball lines for the 2016 Boston Red Sox. We will take a look at each position one at a time.
Here all we have to discuss is whether or not the Red Sox will carry two or three catchers in 2016? If they carry three, you will see Blake Swihart, who may also see time at 1B, as the primary starter given how well he has played unexpectedly early in 2015 (see the graph below). Then there’s Christian Vasquez who has the best arm of this trio and probably the best defensive catcher they have. Lastly, there is Ryan Hannigan who is probably the best signal caller they’ve had since Varitek and is signed through the end of 2016 anyway. Hannigan would catch the veteran players or possibly anyone who is struggling in order to get them back on track. Hannigan may also be the odd man out if they only go with two catchers and that is just because Vasquez is just too darn good defensively. There is an outside chance Vasquez starts 2016 in AAA due to his rehabbing from injury. There is no need to look outside the organization at this position.
In the running at this position, again in my opinion, would be Hanley Ramirez (because he isn’t going back into the OF after this year – he’s been worse than Manny), Travis Shaw and possibly Pablo Sandoval, currently the Red Sox 3B, but is having almost as bad of a year defensively as Ramirez. Quite possibly, Dombrowski may trade away either Ramirez or Sandoval like he did with Prince Fielder in Detroit a few years ago. If they both are back in 2016, then it is most likely that Ramirez plays 1B and Sandoval stays at 3B and hopefully has a bounce back year both defensively at third and at the plate where he is hitting 20 points lower than his worst year to date. Shaw, as you can see in the chart below, might have earned the trust of Dombrowski during the last month or so of this season, allowing him the feel more comfortable trading either Ramirez or Sandoval or possibly both of them. If Ramirez is moved, then that opens up the possibility for Sandoval to move across the diamond mike Miguel Cabrera did in Detroit also under Dombrowski oddly enough. There isn’t any free agent available at this position that I would want to pursue; therefore, any possible upgrade from outside the organization would need to be via trade. If they could pry Joey Votto away from the Reds or Paul Goldschmidt from the D-backs I’d do it if the price wasn’t too high, but no one else should be available, would cost too much (Anthony Rizzo). Propose any possible trades in the comments and let’s have some fun talking through them!
The best option may just be to hope for a bounce back year for the Panda, although it is my opinion that he was set up to fail in Boston at the contract he signed. The only way that contract makes sense is if they make the playoffs because Panda hits better in post-season! I doubt they would move Ramirez back to 3B where he saw some time while in LA with the Dodgers. Shaw can play some 3B, but you likely wouldn’t want to see him there for a full season. They could trade for someone, but most good third basemen are unavailable (Bryant, Donaldson, Arenado, Machado and Longoria – whose numbers have been declining slowly anyway). They could go with an internal option in Marrero or Cecchini as Moncada and Devers are too far away from being ready. Do any of you have someone else in mind either as a free agent, trade proposal or minor leaguer I may be overlooking? Speak now or forever hold your peace!
Up Next: Starting Pitching, Relief Pitching and the Outfield and Bench (as one – less is needed there).