The Boston Red Sox needed a major boost to their anemic offensive production in the early going of the 2014 season. Hitting just .136 with runners in scoring position in their first six games, the Red Sox had to find somebody to carry the weight offensively as they progressed deeper into the season. Luckily, the Red Sox were able to secure a solid offensive producer off the free agent market, signing veteran infielder Ryan Roberts to a one-year contract.
Roberts, who has played for five MLB teams during his eight-year career, has been a solid offensive contributor during his big league career. The 33-year-old infielder has hit .245 with 46 home runs in 510 big league games. His most productive year came in 2011 when he hit .249 with 19 home runs and 65 RBIs with the Arizona Diamondbacks. As he has proven during his big league career, Roberts can hit for contact and power, making him a valuable asset in any infield.
In addition to his experience, Roberts will be a valuable asset due to his experience playing in the American League. Spending his last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Roberts will be useful due to his knowledge of the Rays’ offensive scheme, helping manager John Farrell concoct a game plan against the Rays in future series. In essence, Roberts will become an important part of the Red Sox infield because his experience and knowledge of specific teams will help his fellow teammates become more adept in future games.
However, the acquisition of Roberts will benefit the Red Sox chiefly because the Red Sox are now missing a major contributor at third base. With Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list with a strained calf, Roberts will likely split time with Jonathan Herrera in Middlebrooks’ absence. Roberts has played the majority of his big league games at third base, so the opportunities there will be abounding for him. Roberts will bring a veteran flare to the Red Sox infield that will help them as they try to regroup offensively.
Essentially, with an under-producing starting lineup that doesn’t capitalize on run-scoring opportunities, the Red Sox really found a quality acquisition in Roberts. Although he was cut by the Chicago Cubs at the conclusion of Spring Training, Roberts will flourish during his tenure with the Red Sox, providing a veteran presence that will be beneficial during the absence of Middlebrooks.