Red Sox First Base Target: Chris Davis


The Red Sox, who sit at 50-64 on the season, good enough for the worst record in the American League have a busy off-season ahead of them. Nothing has gone the way the Red Sox had hoped this season.

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They made a huge splash in the off-season by signing the best free agent bats they could in Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. They elected not to sign a big name pitcher, thinking the pitching staff they had would be good enough for the lethal offense. Former All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia was healthy, and the emergence of Mookie Betts gave fans something to look forward to on Opening Day.

Their plans to put Hanley Ramirez in left field have not worked out as planned due to his defensive issues– he is the worst defender in baseball. Sandoval is struggling both with his bat and his glove while showing a lack of power. Dustin Pedroia may not come back this season, and there was no emergence of an “Ace” with the exception of Clay Buchholz who was among the best in baseball before he landed on the DL. Needless to say, the front office has a lot of work to so this coming off-season. And at the top of that to-do list is filling the hole at first base.

Aug 2, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli (12) hits an RBI single during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Napoli has been the Red Sox first baseman for the past three seasons. A fan favorite, Napoli bought a house in Boston, and was then found wandering Boylston Street shortly after he helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013. Napoli, who had been struggling this year at the plate, was put on waivers then dealt to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later or cash.

The Red Sox had very little production out of the first base position this year. They rank 19th in WAR, 21st in wRC+, and 29th in batting average behind only the Houston Astros.

With Napoli traded, the Red Sox saw the opportunity to give Travis Shaw a shot at first base. Shaw has not done too bad in his short time there, but he my not be a long-term solution. But who is?

Their plans to put Hanley Ramirez in left field have not worked out as planned due to his defensive issues– he is the worst defender in baseball and owns a -16.9 UZR, so putting him at first base seems like it would be just another experiment that was designed to fail. Pablo Sandoval wouldn’t be a bad option, either, because then it would get Hanley out of left field and to third base, a position he has played in the past.

But, the Red Sox shouldn’t be thinking about in-house options at this point. No, they need to make a splash in the free agent market again. This time, though, they will hope it will pan out as they hope. Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is a prime candidate to take over first base at Fenway park in 2016. Davis, who hit 53 home runs in 2013, is a free agent at the end of the season and will likely test the free agent waters. He will turn 30 in March, but Davis has been fantastic this year.

He has hit .254/.338/.537 so far this year with 31 home runs and 83 RBI’s. He owns a 139 wRC+ and a 3.3 WAR that ranks sixth among qualified first baseman. With 187 home runs since his debut in 2008, Davis has been one on the best sluggers in the game. Since his debut in 2008, Davis ranks 10th among qualified first baseman in home runs and slugging percentage.

Signing Davis makes sense. He is used to A.L. East. The Red Sox surely could use an upgrade at first base, and Davis fits the need.

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