It’s funny how the perspective of a fan and the actual day-to-day happenings of a team really work out. Just recently, I wrote an article saying how the Boston Red Sox‘ outfield has suddenly become crowded with the addition of Daniel Nava to the roster when Shane Victorino went on the disabled list. Now, days later, reports are surfacing that the Red Sox are indeed in the market for some outfield help. Why would that be? They seemingly have plenty of players on the roster who can contribute. However, the writing is on the wall. The Red Sox don’t feel comfortable with their group of outfielders right now and a change could be in the works.
Six players have manned the outfield this season with at least ten at bats. Grady Sizemore, Jackie Bradley Jr, Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp, Victorino and Nava have all played in the outfield this year. All six players are hitting a combined .211 on the season with an average on-base percentage of .292. Yikes. Those are not exactly numbers you’d be expecting to come out of this position. Clearly the outfield presents a huge hole in the offense for the Red Sox. Patience is starting to grow thin with these players, especially Sizemore and Bradley Jr. Although Sizemore does seem like he’s coming around again, going five for his last 17 with three extra base hits. Overall, an upgrade in the outfield would do this team some good.
One of the names that keeps getting thrown around is Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers. But Ethier is still owed $66 million on his current contract that includes a vesting option in 2018. After his breakout season in 2009, a year he hit .272 with 31 home runs and 106 RBIs, Ethier hasn’t surpassed 25 home runs or 90 RBIs since. With his decline in his numbers, the Red Sox may be hesitant to take on his big contact unless the Dodgers were willing to eat a decent chunk of it. His age could also be a factor as he’s currently 32 and his contact has him locked up until the age of at least 35 if his vesting option isn’t met.
A number of outfielders who are set to become free agents at the end of the year could also become trade targets for the Sox. Names like Michael Morse, Emilio Bonifacio, Michael Cuddyer and Alex Rios could pop up in the meantime. The problem with trading mid-season is the addition of the second Wild Card team to the playoffs. This notion that two extra teams can earn a playoff spot makes teams still somewhat in the hunt become buyers instead of sellers.
The Red Sox may have to settle for in-house help with prospect Mookie Betts, who they’ve been trying out in the outfield recently to see how he performs. His dynamic ability to hit and run could be just what the Red Sox need without giving up anyone valuable.
Whatever The Red Sox decide to do, all current outfielders have been put on high alert. Who can step up and solidify their spot in the outfield?