Red Sox: Is Kyle Schwarber the answer to Boston’s first base riddle?
Is Kyle Schwarber the answer to Red Sox’s first base failures?
The Red Sox management and Chaim Bloom have admitted to failure. The failure has been on display daily, and it is first base. Many have tried, and all have failed. You know the drill – worst in all of MLB at the sack. And now all three have been sacked or facing it.
Michael Chavis is gone to Smoke Town for a nondescript pitcher. Danny Santana is in recovery on the IL and what needs recovery is his .171 batting average. Last is Bobby Dalbec. Mr. Moonshot hits a bomb every few weeks to energize the masses into if this guy could get his average up mode. Three strikes and out with that grouping.
Lastly is the first baseman who never was – Franchy Cordero. Boston’s thirst for left-hander power gave the early season failure another shot after Cordero shredded International League pitching. The Red Sox gave Cordero innings at Worcester playing first, and Cordero may get some more as all await Kyle Schwarber. Can Franchy get above the Mendoza Line?
Schwarber is the potential solution at first, with the only negative being he has virtually no experience at first except as a base runner. The Red Sox already tested that route with Christian Arroyo getting in a few innings before pulling up lame and going to the IL.
Defensively the Red Sox have been adequate at first, but with inexperience comes potentially fatal flaws. Is it possible Bloom could present a reasonable explanation on why Anthony Rizzo is not in Boston? That one hurts.
Boston’s infield is a paradox. The left side is possibly the most proficient in baseball, and the right side is fluid. Arroyo was the solution at second but putting the athletic Arroyo out of his comfort zone had risks. A Steven Wright pinch-runner situation was revisited when Arroyo took the field at first.
Schwarber is a noticeable upgrade. The much-needed left-handed power will undoubtedly make the lineup deeper and a tad more fearsome. With the lack of pitching added at the deadline, a few more runs will be necessary.
Placing Schwarber in the outfield is also a move that would have much of the Nation incapable of wrapping their heads around. Schwarber has a stamp on him that says DH. A slow afoot lefty who dies against left-handed pitching, but compared to Dalbec, this is Lou Gehrig.
Having him at first base or the outfield can only weaken an already average defense. Rizzo collects Gold Gloves, and one would expect Schwarber will collect Iron Gloves, but he could surprise and be a Baryshnikov.
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He may also give Dalbec a reprieve – a temporary one at best. Dalbec hits lefty pitching as Schwarber does righties. A classic platoon situation for manager Alex Cora. Then the issue becomes defense. Neither will have one thinking Doug Mientkiewicz or Mitch Moreland.
The Red Sox and Bloom failed at the deadline. The Schwarber deal reeks of desperation and the whiff of panic. As other division teams checked the boxes regarding needs, the Red Sox just checked out. As the division lead shrinks, the finger-pointing for what went wrong will commence.
Cora is in a position where management did not provide an upgrade in tools. This season Cora has squeezed the most out of his roster. Players have responded, and fans are delighted. Keeping this train on the tracks will be a Herculean task for Cora and his roster.
This season will be (hopefully) the end of the first base swamp. In the offseason, it will be on Bloom’s to-do list, and he most certainly will fix the problem. First base is by tradition and needs a power position. The internal options are in the future, and external options will be an adventure. Bloom’s reputation for problem-solving on the cheap is on the line.