Will Middlebrooks' wrist injury (so far, positive reports), let's take a look at how prepared the Sox are to backup the young third baseman. Wrist injuries can be re-occurring and nag throughout the season, so even if Middlebrooks is fine for now, it will be hard to count on him for 162 games.
The Boring Options:
- Pedro Ciriaco seems to be the clubhouse leader as the backup infielder, but do Sox fans really feel comfortable with him playing every day if WMB's injury is bad enough?
- Brock Holt would appear to be the second choice to replace Middlebrooks. He is a career .317 hitter (.381 OBP and .427 SLG) in parts of four minor league seasons, but has never played 3B at the professional level.
- Could old friend Drew Sutton also get a chance? The 29 year-old is in Red Sox camp vying for a job, and hit .315 with an .807 OPS for the Red Sox in 31 games back in 2011; he has played 22 out of his 105 major league games at 3B.
The Interesting Options:
- Another route the Sox could take is starting Jose Iglesias at short, and moving Stephen Drew to 3B. Although never playing third professionally, Rob Bradford says that during the offseason teams considering playing 'Lil J.D. at the hot corner.
- Scott Rolen is a name that has popped up as a guy that could join a team mid-to-late season for a pennant push. Rolen turns 38 in April, and has not played full time since 2010. He has batted .244 in 157 games the past two years in Cincinatti, but has still shown that he can play tight defense. Although Rolen says that "right now, I'm simply not ready to make a commitment. I would like to leave my options open..." The Red Sox have not reached out to Rolen yet, but this will be interesting to follow if Middlebrooks' injury is worse than originally reported.
|Fans may be ready for Boegarts, |
but are the Red Sox willing to take the chance?
- If Middlebrooks does go down for an extended time, many fans will be calling for the debut of one Xander Bogaerts. I personally don't think it would be beneficial for the team -- let alone fair to Bogaerts -- to start the 20 year-old uber-prospect at third base come April 1 in the Bronx. He has taken one week of groundballs at a position he has not played since Little League. The Red Sox could also lose a year of service-time on Boegarts' contract if they bring him up before late-April to early-May.
Regardless of whether Middlebrooks only needs a few days rest, or a few months for surgery, the Red Sox are thin at third base. In the 75 games WMB played in last year, the Red Sox were 43-32 with a .753 OPS. Without Middlebrooks, they were 26-61, with a team .659 OPS after his season ended early. He clearly is one of the lynch pins to this lineup, and the Sox cannot afford to lose him.
Read what else I have to say or find me on Twitter @therealjtrunfio Joel Trunfio 2/28/2013 08:43:00 AM Tweet