Michael Chavis should play first base for the Red Sox
Spring Training is coming to a close in a couple of weeks giving way to the best regular season of all, the 162-game MLB season. That also means that all 30 teams across the league have to cut their active rosters down to 26 players. The Red Sox 26th man is sort of a toss-up right now, but to me, it’s clear who it should be. The man who wears jersey no. 23, Michael Chavis.
Not only should we see the third-year player out on the field, but he should be manning first base when the Baltimore Orioles come to town on Opening Day. Most of you probably think rookie Bobby Dalbec should be the everyday first baseman for Boston. Dalbec is almost no doubt the consensus pick.
But putting the man they call “The Ice Horse” at first instead could pay dividends for the offense at least. Along with keeping the defense where it is, if not a little better. Through 73 career Major League games at the position, which is more than any player on the team, Chavis has a .981 fielding percentage, it is the same that Dalbec has through 21 games.
Before Chavis takes over the rookie’s position, there would have to be more shifting around than just taking Dalbec off the corner. Although third baseman Rafael Devers is a defensive liability, as I lined out in a previous article, there’s no doubt that the Red Sox want him there for the foreseeable future. So the possibility of Dalbec moving to the other corner of the infield is very low. This means only one plausible option left for the big bat of the 25-year-old is an everyday DH role.
For that to happen, OF/DH J.D. Martinez would have to become more of an outfielder than most have him slated to be this coming season. Contrary to some (maybe even popular) belief, the 33-year-old can still roam the outfield pretty well.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox fans’ concern about Justin Turner signing speaks volumes
- Latest Red Sox-Rafael Devers contract update might be final straw for fans
- Is Jean Segura the solution to Red Sox’ Trevor Story concerns?
- Xander Bogaerts issues emotional farewell to Red Sox on Instagram
- Kiké Hernández’s reaction to Justin Turner signing should hype up Red Sox fans
In his long 10 year career, J.D. has played 813 games in the outfield, compiling a .983 career fielding percentage. After excelling in 2018 (1.000 Fld% in 57 games), he had a down fielding year in 2019 (.959). But Martinez came back to form in 2020. Although he only played the field in 6 games, he still did not commit an error.
Those two moves are very reasonable and wouldn’t hurt the team in any major way. Chavis and Dalbec are equal fielding-wise and Dalbec’s power bat would be in the lineup more often. Not to mention, Chavis is hitting very well this spring training (.289 AVG, 5 HRs, .350 OBP). Safe to say he isn’t taking this opportunity to play for a spot for granted.
You could argue that newcomer Franchy Cordero should start in LF, but Cordero just barely got his first spring training start. So starting him off as a platoon guy, or even optioning him to the alternate site or Minors would be a better spot for him early on. This week will be big to see if Cordero is in the proper shape to make the Opening Day roster as his time on the COVID IL could be the opening Chavis needs.
Michael Chavis has the experience, the drive, and the stats to back him up as to why he should make the 26-man roster and be the everyday first baseman for Boston. The Ice Horse was an instant fan favorite upon his callup in 2019 and it would be hard to see him demoted back to Worcester. The only question now is do the Red Sox feel the same? I hope so.