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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Red Sox Still Love Them Some Drew Brothers

So far in 2014, the defending World Series champs have been on the fast track to nowhere. A big reason that the Red Sox have been so mediocre is that three of their young players expected to have big roles-Xander Bogaerts (.269 batting average, 2 homers, 7 RBIs), Jackie Bradley Jr. (.205 batting average, .303 OBP, 13 RBIs) and Will Middlebrooks (.197 batting average, 2 homers, 9 RBIs)-aren't playing up to their projected capabilities. Today, Boston began to rectify that by signing shortstop Stephen Drew to a one-year deal worth $10 million (the prorated portion of $14.1 million that he turned down in the offseason). Yes the same guy that was a puddle at the plate last October but at least played outstanding and reliable defense.

I would love to ask "has it really come to that?" but the sad answer is that yes it has. With Middlebrooks on the DL (broken finger) as usual and Bogaerts playing subpar defensively at shortstop, this move at least makes sense at this moment. Drew will join the team tomorrow vs. Toronto at Fenway and probably slide into the everyday shortstop spot for the time being while Bogaerts shifts to third base. Where this leaves Middlebrooks when he returns is anyone's guess (trade bait?).

The main worry for the Red Sox is that this shakes Bogaerts' (4 errors, .974 fielding percentage) confidence since you know, he is still only 21 years old despite being their top prospect and one of the best young players in MLB with a veteran's mindset. He at least has started to come around more at the plate so the last thing they need is for him to go in the tank with Drew back on the team playing what he probably perceives as his natural position.

Bigger picture, this is the first sign that the Red Sox (20-23 overall, 3 games back of 1st place New York) publicly acknowledge that they are flawed. Fans have been saying as much basically since the first week of the season but at least now we understand that the front office is on the same page. It looks like the AL East is very down so even if the Red Sox aren't a 95 or 100-win team this season, 90 wins or something around that would take it.

The obvious roster move is that Brock Holt could be sent back to Pawtucket but Mike Carp and Grady Sizemore shouldn't feel too comfortable either since they could be designated for assignment. It should be an interesting few days for the Red Sox with all these uncertain roster moves on the horizon.

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