Red Sox Infield Struggles

Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

After the 2013 season ended things were looking pretty good for the Red Sox infield.

On the right side they signed David Pedroia to a long term deal, he would fix his ailing thumb, and Mike Napoli was signed to a deal filling in the first base position for the coming years. Both are known for good defense and solid hitting barring occasional slumps.

Then we have had the Stephen Drew saga, that continues to sputter on down the road. The Red Sox have committed to Xander Bogaerts and he has provided a pretty good bat in the lineup with a.271 average and a .400 OBP that has mitigated the impact of Drew's absence.

But he is less than stellar on defense having committed three errors over 24 games so far. His first-step quickness and range have been lacking just like his consistency.

According to John Dewan's Fielding Bible, Bogaerts entered Tuesday having made four fewer plays than the average shortstop, costing his team five runs relative to a big league average shortstop. The Red Sox hope that he will improve at the position, that the gap between what Drew offered and what the 21-year-old displays will diminish significantly.

Bogaerts himself is convinced that such a progression will occur -- both for him and his team.

"As defenders, we try our best to get all the balls. Sometimes the ball is a bit too far from you. It's part of the game," Bogaerts said. "We're definitely going to get better. There's no need to worry about that."

But for now, at a time when the team needs defensive excellence because the offense has not hit its stride, Bogaerts has contributed to the team's struggles in the field.

Gorden Edes from ESPN spoke to a Major League scout who shook his head at any who disparage Bogaerts based on his glove. That scout told Edes that any of his peers that scouted Boston’s system in 2013 said Bogaerts was the best player they saw in Minor League Baseball.

Over at third base we have examined the constant sorrow even though there is good depth with Will Middlebrooks, Brock Holt, Jonathan Herrera, and the strange purchase of Ryan Roberts.

No matter the problems on the left side of the infield, the Red Sox have not changed course on their steadfast resolution to ignore Stephen Drew.

Rob Bradford over at reports, "According to a major league source, at no point this season have the Red Sox re-engaged in talks with free agent shortstop Stephen Drew."

It seems that with the Mets still not interested that he is headed for a longer wait until after the player draft (June 5-7) that will remove the draft pick compensation hanging around his neck.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox work with their infield to improve on balls hit to the left side and up the middle...

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