Red Sox need to examine platoon option at first base

BOSTON, MA - MAY 24: Sam Travis #59 of the Boston Red Sox runs to first base in the seventh inning during a game against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park on May 24, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 24: Sam Travis #59 of the Boston Red Sox runs to first base in the seventh inning during a game against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park on May 24, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox are looking for an upgrade at third base.  What about the platoon situation at first? Sam Travis needs at-bats and other options exist.

What is the point of the Boston Red Sox keeping Sam Travis in the majors? Travis, soon to be 24 years old, occasionally gets into a game once the switch is made with Mitch Moreland and that is where his value rests – hitting left-handed pitching. Travis is hitting lefties at a .379 clip and in his small sample of 14 at-bats against right-handers, Travis has a lone hit – a double.

Just where does his future rest with Boston?  Is the organization setting the ground work for a pure platoon player? Is Travis the first baseman or DH of the future?  Does he have a future or will he become the latest prospect outcast – traded away for a pitcher almost guaranteed to go on the disabled list?

Travis can hit and everywhere he has gone in the system that becomes clear.  You will not have 40+ home runs, but above average plate discipline and some juicy line drives, especially in the gap. But players need experience and now that Brock Holt has returned just maybe Travis can join Tzu-Wei Lin in Pawtucket.

"Travis is a polished right-handed hitter who lets his power come naturally and not worrying about homers. He recognizes pitches, controls the strike zone and makes loud contact from gap to gap. He has the bat speed and strength to hit 20 or more homers per season if he were to adopt a more aggressive approach, which he may have to do to fit the first-base profile. – MLB Prospect WatchMore from Red Sox NewsRed Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports GroupBizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departureRed Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contractRich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB recordRed Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure"

I fully comprehend the necessity of Travis with the inability of Hanley Ramirez to play first base with a shoulder injury that has taken longer to make him defensive ready than it took Moses to find the Promised Land. And I also understand that Holt – a lefty hitter – makes them potentially vulnerable with that left/right combination. Just put that aside. Options exist.

Travis will never have a Gold Glove.  Defensively, Travis may not be the most nimble of defenders, but he is reasonably passable. Compared to HanRam he may also be considered far above average.

The Red Sox may also have the opportunity to make a move on the master of the strikeout – Chris Carter. Carter has been rumored to sign with either the Rangers or A’s and may be gone by now.

"While Travis played some third base as an amateur, his below-average speed and fringy arm strength relegate him to first base as a pro. His soft hands and work ethic make him an average defender, and he might be passable in left field (though Boston’s outfield is loaded). He could turn into a player similar to Kevin Youkilis with fewer walks. – MLB Prospect Watch"

Carter will give you some thunder – after all, he did lead the National League in home runs last year. He offers a far better option to first base platoon strategy than Travis. Carter also is what seems to suddenly attract the Red Sox – cheap.

Carter is just one option and I simply used him as an example.  A veteran of limited ability, but potentially somewhat productive.  In a perfect baseball world, I would avoid Carter, but with a lineup that uses a feather duster instead of a home run bat – well the old any port in a storm. Again – Carter is merely representative. The real key is simply giving an opportunity for Travis to develop by getting some consistent at-bats.

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As July dents the calendar the rumor mill will continue to produce tidbits that are real or imagined.  For the locals, it is third base and possibly getting some additional help in the bullpen. For me, it is getting some baseball spackle at first base and having the future develop in Pawtucket.