The Boston Red Sox are in a position of going from worst to first and back to worst — depressing start for the team and the denizens of Red Sox Nation.
Players acquire the term “utility” for the simple reason that they are not skilled enough to displace an incumbent. The Red Sox have depth, but, unfortunately, that depth is talented utility players who, when given extensive exposure, demonstrate why they have that tag.
What is clearly a void is that, in 2013, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia were the best top three I have seen in my 60+ years of following the team. The combination of hitting, speed and defensive abilities were fantastic energizers and table setters. Now they are down to Pedroia. That, in my view, was why Grady Sizemore was brought in. How close could they get to the Ellsbury skill set? And, yes, as an Ellsbury supporter, Sizemore is no Ells, but used judiciously his performance can lessen the pain of following Ellsbury’s box score accomplishments.
When Victorino returns it is an absolute must that the Sox top three are Sizemore, Victorino and Pedroia. If all three perform as they have at points in their pasts this team will start to roll. Also, time to just toss Jackie Bradley into left field and let it ride. He hits .270+ and his defense will cover 20+ points in that BA. Face it – Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes represent iron glove and not Gold Glove candidates. Bradley has also demonstrated that he is more than capable, albeit in a short stint, to take the extra base and give some good at bats.
Next up is the condition of Will Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks had a very impressive spring and appeared to be geared up for a moderate recovery in 2014. That is now on hold. The other potential internal option is Bryce Brentz, but Brentz is not exactly, despite a nice spring training, lighting it up at Pawtucket with a slash of .200/2/9. Old friend Brandon Snyder has reasonable power and could slide into third, but Snyder has floated under the Mendoza line.
The Sox power outage is frustrating. This is a team that should get 800 runs by sleep walking. However, my finger is certainly not planted on the panic button. Patience is a strong point with John Farrell and it is with this fan – at least for the rest of the week.