In need of another bat with Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino moving to the disabled list, the Red Sox have removed Alex Wilson from their surplus of relief pitchers, optioning him to Triple-A Pawtucket, and promoted Ryan Lavarnway.
A highly-touted prospect just two years ago after hitting 32 home runs between Portland and Pawtucket in 2011, Lavarnway has since seen his stock plummet. In his past three seasons in the minor leagues, his isolated power has dropped from .273 in 2011, to .144 in 2012, to .100 in 2013, to a meager .081 in 2014. He is slashing just .265/.357/.346 in 185 plate appearances for the PawSox this season, showing none of the power that had made him such a promising youngster just a few seasons ago.
Elite power bat or not, however, the Red Sox just need somebody to fill a spot in the lineup right now. Mike Napoli is on the disabled list after seeing his production fall off a cliff following a finger injury in April and Mike Carp is not getting the job done as an everyday first baseman, hitting just .234/.319/.313 on the young season. For all of his faults, Lavarnway did hit pretty well in a small sample last season, slashing .299/.329/.429 (though it was buoyed by an unsustainable .367 BABIP) and the Red Sox are obviously hoping that he can provide any offense in a lineup decimated by injuries and ineffectiveness.
In exchange for Lavarnway, the Red Sox will demote Alex Wilson, who made his season debut with a scoreless inning in yesterday’s loss in Tampa Bay. Even without Wilson, the Red Sox have a full bullpen, however, and he won’t be a significant loss. Then again, Lavarnway likely won’t be a significant gain. The Red Sox don’t need significant production from Lavarnway, however. They just need anything at all, and hopefully he’ll be able to provide something in the next few weeks.