All these errors at third base are about hitting, ultimately. The Sox need to ask themselves if it’s really worth it.
If the horrendous defense they’re seeing at third base is really a bother, they’ll try a different look until Pablo Sandoval or Brock Holt gets back.
Their options aren’t exhausted.
Deven Marrero has made a small career out of being just a defender. Throw Marrero back out there.
There’s a third baseman at Triple-A Pawtucket right now, Matt Dominguez, who is a smooth fielder. Neither Marrero or Dominguez could be counted on for much offensively.
Should that matter at this point?
With Hanley Ramirez out of the lineup Friday night, and possibly again Saturday, maybe manager John Farrell feels he has to to keep some modicum of offense at third base.
Josh Rutledge hits lefties well. The Rays have one on the mound Saturday in Blake Snell. Rutledge also made three mistakes on Friday, the last a dropped pop up.
The Sox staff must believe this is bound to get better, after 13 errors at third base through 35 games.
Yet, it hasn’t to this point. So the question is whether the Sox have reached a breaking point where they need to say, ‘Screw the offensive ability, let’s play the most sure glove we can find.’
If the Sox don’t go that route, and the errors keep coming with the same personnel with no real gain at the plate, that’s completely on the decision-makers: Farrell and Dave Dombrowski.
Dombrowski fell short this winter in his quest to add something more to the third base mix. He looked, he didn’t get it done.
What’s strange, and unexpected, is how the problem has manifested itself.
Let’s be real: somebody should be able to pick it. Offensive production was always the main concern at third, a question of whether Sandoval could add much.
Even if he had limited mobility, nobody sat there and thought the Sox would have this kind of trouble finding clean play at the position — never mind offense.
Dombrowski left no safety net at third base offensively. But defensively, there still are choices.
Dominguez has 352 games at the position in the big leagues, while Rutledge has 36.
Farrell said after Rutledge made three mistakes, one of them scored an official error, that inexperience isn’t a factor.
“I don’t think this is a matter of inexperience,” he said. “We’ve had guys play that position, with the exception of Marco (Hernandez) before the injury, the first extended look or repetitive look that he had at third. As far as Panda, as far as Josh, these guys have a number of years at the major league level so that wouldn’t factor into it and yet the performance speaks for itself.”
Brock Holt’s vertigo was a bad break, among several on the health side.
Still, there are places to turn internally until Sandoval gets back. Or doesn't get back. Once the trade deadline gets closer, a bigger move can potentially be sought.
You want to stop the errors right now, though, you try something new. The question is simple: how many hot-corner errors are worth trying to keep a lineup from going cold?