Red Sox Winter Meetings: Predictions for five biggest questions
By Tim Starr
Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce have left the Red Sox, creating a spot at first base. With Bobby Dalbec, a popular choice to win the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year, set to come up next season, will Chaim Bloom opt to pair him with a veteran bat?
With players on the free agent market like Edwin Encarnacion, Travis Shaw, and C.J. Cron, Bloom could pair the young slugger with one of those options. Dalbec has lots of power (.221 ISO), but an unstable bat (139 SO). Pairing him with a veteran on a 1-year deal could benefit the youngster as he can learn from their experience.
A move like this would be similar to bringing in J.D. Martinez after the 2017 ALDS defeat to the Houston Astros. If Encarnacion were brought in, he could be a complementary piece that can mentor Dalbec and consequently, the whole team. While Dalbec has enough talent already to be a successful player for the Red Sox, pairing him with an experienced player to mentor him for one season definitely wouldn’t hurt.
Another possible option is Michael Chavis. He was forced to learn a new position, second base, in 2019 due to the injuries to Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt, while Eduardo Nunez was eventually released.
His offensive numbers slipped as he posted a 96 OPS+. Chavis displayed enormous power, but a swing and miss bat which left him prone to hot and cold streaks, along with plentiful strikeouts. He ended up playing a solid second base, so he could get the job headed into 2020. However, if the Red Sox feel his offensive decline was a result of playing second base, he could be shifted back to first base.