Ryan Lavarnway’s future with the Boston Red Sox will likely be defined over the course of the 2014 season and it would seem the team is looking at all avenues to find a way for him to produce. Nick Cafardo at The Boston Globe reports that the team will work Lavarnway into the mix at first base in Spring Training, presumably to see how well he can handle it defensively.
The Red Sox will work Ryan Lavarnway at first base as well as catcher in spring training
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) February 1, 2014
If Lavarnway’s able to play the position, he gives the team an additional depth option behind Mike Napoli in the event of an injury and it could earn the 26 a better shot at playing time.
Spending time on the active roster over parts of the past three seasons, Lavarnway’s mustered just a .208/.258/.327 line over 291 PA. He’s been heavily prone to strike out (68) and the power stroke that he’s shown in the minor leagues has yet to develop. His production in the minors over the 2011 and 2012 seasons – he hit better than .290/.370/.480 in each year, with a 32 HR seasons in ‘12 – lent hope that he’d still develop into an offensive option in Boston. Questions remained about his ability and comfort behind the plate, but if he could hit that well the team could find a way to make it all work.
2013 was not a kind season to Lavarnway. He spent most of the year back at Triple-A, ultimately losing playing time to Dan Butler during the heart of the season. Likely ticketed for Triple-A once again, Lavarnway will have to battle Butler and Christian Vazquez for time behind the plate so expanding his comfort level at first base could be an ideal move for both sides.