The utility man may be on borrowed time in Boston, as a replacement is waiting in the wings.
It should be Brock Holt.
Holt has been putrid at the plate this season, going 1-16 in seven games. While the utility man is a clubhouse favorite who can play almost any position effectively, his bat simply isn’t worth the versatility anymore.
Last season, Holt hit .200 with no home runs and seven RBI. He also managed to keep his strikeout numbers low, with 34 in 140 at-bats.
Despite Holt’s struggles, manager Alex Cora remains committed to Holt for the time being, according to Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.
"“He can do better and he knows it,” Cora said. “He grinds at-bats, takes pitches and all that. It’s not easy to get into that rhythm…I understand that. What I’m asking from him is give me a quality at-bat and play good defense. So far so good there.”"
Going 1-16 can’t possibly qualify as good at-bats thus far. Holt has been beating pitches inside into the dirt, and has been unable to make contact on pitches away. His bat has been noticeably slower this season. However, Holt continues to drive the pitch count.
"“He’s a guy that will work the count, which is good, especially the lineup we’re in because we’re hunting. There’s a lot of guys hunting first pitches in the strike zone. There’s a balance. He did an outstanding job in spring training hanging with lefties, hitting the ball the other way. He’s more of a gap to gap, line drive hitter.”"
At some point, Holt’s replacement Lin deserves a shot as the new utility guy. While Lin doesn’t offer as much versatility in the field, his bat showed some promise last season. He hit .268 with two triples in 56 ABs.
This season, Lin’s bat has shown some flare. He went 2-3 with a walk and a double off the Green Monster yesterday. If Lin continues to swing the bat, the Red Sox must give him a chance to stay in the majors. Lin can play shortstop, second base and even outfield if need be. His quick bat and speedy base running can add extra depth to the Red Sox lineup.
It will be difficult to send Holt down to the minors. Replacing a hard-working veteran who is well-liked among his peers with a young prospect is never an easy decision. However, Holt’s disappearing act at the plate, and below average arm in the field shows he really doesn’t provide that much depth in the first place.
When Bogey comes back, give Lin the opportunity he deserves. Let Holt find his swing at Pawtucket, while Linsanity provides a spark off the bench.