Red Sox: Alex Cora plans to use Bobby Dalbec in multiple spots in 2022
The Red Sox have big plans for Bobby Dalbec this spring
Spring training is officially underway and the Red Sox have their first win on the board! Interestingly enough the man we’re here to talk about today, Bobby Dalbec, played a part in that win. In Fact, he crushed the first homer of all of spring training and got Boston off on the right foot in the Grapefruit League.
As awesome as that homer was, it’s not the main focus of what we’re doing here. While meeting with media today, Alex Cora made it known that he and his coaching staff have some big plans for Bobby D. Mainly, they want to give him plenty of reps at second base and in the outfield while in Fort Myers to test his versatility.
"“The second base thing is real,” Cora added. “He work hard last year. And he was our second baseman the last half inning we played defense. So yeah, we’ll move him around. I think the more versatile, the better for him and his career, although he’s a good corner infielder. But for us, it will be great if he can play multiple positions.”"
Dalbec has become Boston’s primary first baseman but also has plenty of playing time at third base. He also put in some work last season at shortstop and it looks like AC and the team want to really get him focused on second. While the Red Sox have been rumored to be interested in Trevor Story, they would need either Story or Xander Bogaerts to move to second, which seems unlikely.
Then we have Triston Casas firing on all cylinders with his sights set on the big leagues, Bob’s days .at first may be numbered. As it stands right now, the Red Sox have Christian Arroyo planted firmly at second with a backup plan in Kiké Hernández. While it looks as if Kiké is still planned to be the everyday centerfielder, the oft-injured Arroyo will need help at second.
The Arroyo/Dalbec platoon doesn’t offer the same righty/lefty mix that his pairing with Kyle Schwarber did, but having him become comfortable at second may just be a backup plan. The Red Sox really only have one utility guy right now and while others can play multiple roles they could use that other guy in the lineup that can be plugged in anywhere on a given night.
Obviously, this will all depend on how well Dalbec takes to his new positions and where and when the Sox will need to pull the trigger on those moves. It’s still far too early to know anything and for all intents and purposes, he’s Boston’s first baseman. During the lockout, I wrote about players who could be moved by the Trade Deadline and Bobby was on my list.
"“He’ll practice out there (in the outfield),” Cora said. “I don’t know if the timing is going to help us (shorter spring training because of the MLB lockout) but go out there, shag, move around.”"
Not for a lack of effort or ability, but merely by being the odd man out. If Casas supplants him at first and he has nowhere else to go he can and likely will be moved. Having him put in the reps in other areas where the Red Sox could use him is a smart move by Cora and his team. Having guys that can be strong in multiple spots in the lineup is what helps teams win championships.
With the slog that is the MLB regular season fast approaching, the team needs every weapon they can muster. Bobby D had a rollercoaster of a rookie campaign with a miserable first half and a blistering second half. He would finish 2021 with a .240/.298/.494 slash with 25 homers and 78 RBI. His biggest weakness is the whiff and if he can work on being more patient at the plate those numbers will only rise with time.
If Bobby is able to take to his new positions and Cora sees an increased value in him then he may have locked in his spot in the lineup for years to come. You always want to be as versatile as possible so you’re always in demand. Getting his plate discipline tightened up with an addition of more defensive capabilities all builds to Dalbec having a solid career in Boston. We’ve seen him do some great things, now we just need to see him put it all together.