While play on the field was a disaster, last night, it was all business off of the field for the Boston Red Sox. After Jeff Bianchi cleared waivers, the Red Sox had decided to outright him for an assignment. However, Bianchi had other ideas. Tim Britton of Providence Journal tweeted the following:
The shortstop from Lancaster, Pennsylvania was with the Red Sox for only one game in 2015, with no at-bat to record any sense of his true value.
Bianchi was drafted in 2005 by the Kansas City Royals, but the current 28-year-old debuted three years ago for the Milwaukee Brewers. That season, he played 33 games for the Brewers, hitting a mere .188 with three home runs, nine RBIs, and 13 strikeouts. In 2013, Bianchi was put into the lineup as the possible future of the club, playing 100 games while hitting .237, with a home run, 25 RBIs, and 46 strikeouts. Another 29 games in 2014 spelled the end of his time with Milwaukee, as Bianchi’s bat dipped again, hitting .171 with six RBIs. With a career on-base percentage of .251 and a slugging percentage of .283, there was not a ton of optimism that Bianchi could get on base or drive the ball with much power against MLB pitching.
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After the 2014 season, Bianchi was granted free agency. He signed on January 5th, 2015 with the Boston Red Sox. Bianchi has only made just over a million dollars in his career, to this point. If he would have stayed with the Red Sox, he would have been signed to 2019, meaning guaranteed money, even if it wouldn’t be a fortune.
Instead, Bianchi wants to chase his dream of being on a Major League Baseball roster, at the risk of never being signed, again.
The fact is, Bianchi looks like a great Triple-A player. In 17 games for Pawtucket, Bianchi has a hitting line of .302/.373/.340, with four RBIs, two stolen bases, six walks, and six strikeouts. He hit .378 against right-handed pitching and .316 in away games. His entire minor league career is proof that it is not a fluke. Bianchi has, relatively, the same numbers in two seasons in A+ and four seasons in Double-A.
The other fact remains, however, that Bianchi may be more suited for the minor leagues than in the majors. His numbers are solid for Triple-A, but they don’t blow you away. He has played well in many defensive positions, including shortstop, second base, third base, and in the outfield. However, many MLB teams have good utility players, whom can hit better than Bianchi against the top pitchers.
Was Bianchi going to play shortstop or third base for the Red Sox, anytime soon? Not with Xander Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval in his way. Was he going to replace Brock Holt as the utility man on the team? Not with Holt hitting .287/.374/.416 in 33 games, this season. It is easy to see why Bianchi would think that his only choice to move up into the majors is by signing with another team. Bogaerts could have fallen on his face, like last season, but he hasn’t. All of the other positions are taken. Even though the Red Sox bats are struggling, they can’t wait for Bianchi to figure it out, himself.
There is only one question left: will anyone else see Bianchi as the future of their team? He’s 28. If he does sign with another team, he will need to make an immediate impact to stay in the majors. Unfortunately for Bianchi, when looking at his numbers, that’s likely not going to happen.
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