The 2014 regular season hasn’t gone exactly according to plan for the Boston Red Sox. After a World Series title that lifted the entire city of Boston a year ago, the team is off to a miserable start to the tune of a 20-24 record through 44 games. Although many players deserve blame for the bad start, one player that has been particularly disappointing and hard to watch has been SS Xander Bogaerts.
Bogaerts, who was hailed as the next superstar prospect for the team and the answer to their year-to-year struggles at shortstop, has been anything but that so far this season. On the year, he is batting .270 with just two home runs and seven RBIs. While his average is not horrible, it is far from spectacular and seven RBIs for a guy who hits in the middle of the lineup is a scary thought.
Perhaps the offensive deficiencies that he has displayed would not be a big problem if he was an elite fielder at his position, similar to Jose Iglesias while he was in Boston. Unfortunately, he has also proven to be a liability in the field. In 44 games, Bogaerts has committed six errors with two of those errors coming Tuesday night. Just in case you think his errors are a fluke, consider that he made 87 errors in four seasons in the team’s farm system, and it’s clear that he will have defensive problems moving forward.
Maybe the Red Sox knew this ahead of time. It is certainly a possibility given the fact that the team signed Stephen Drew to a one-year contract on Tuesday. When the move was made, some fans questioned whether the move was made for him to play shortstop or third base with the struggles that Will Middlebrooks has had thus far. It is becoming more and more obvious, however, that the move was made for insurance at short.
With the team’s third baseman of the future Garin Cecchini plying his trade at triple-A Pawtucket and Brock Holt capable of manning that position in the meantime, the third base spot will likely be solidified in the coming weeks. Shortstop is a bit further down the road, as Deven Marrero is currently playing at double-A Portland. His estimated big league call-up date is not until 2015 at the earliest.
If the Red Sox are starting to doubt themselves on Bogaerts, they can simply insert Drew at shortstop until Marrero is ready.
Whether you like him or not, Bogaerts is starting to lose hold of the starting shortstop job. He will have to improve in short order if he wants to still be considered a part of the future for the Red Sox.