Red Sox

Drellich: Red Sox can't move on third base yet

Drellich: Red Sox can't move on third base yet

The Red Sox have the worst production in the majors at third base, per Baseball-Reference.com's wins above replacement. 

For now, they shouldn’t do anything major to fill that black hole.

That’s not because they don’t need the help. Rather, they need to wait and see whether third base remains their greatest problem before committing significant resources to it.

A small fix would be fine. But for the Red Sox to spend all their salary cap space — excuse me, luxury-tax threshold space — and for them to deal away one of their remaining prospects on the position would be jumping the gun. 

What if they need another starting pitcher?

In June, maybe David Price is back and looks good. Maybe relievers Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg are about to return too, or already have. Then it’d be hard to imagine another need being greater.

But what if Price gets hurt again, and Kyle Kendrick doesn’t shake out? The Sox will need to go out and trade for someone like, say, Drew Pomeranz.

Third base has never really been a settled matter. This hasn’t been an exercise in genius roster building.

Over the winter, the Sox tried to sign Trevor Plouffe, who wound up going to the A’s and is hitting just .191. So, they might have dodged a bullet inadvertently. But at the same time, it was clear the Sox always wanted a better right-handed hitting option at third base than Pablo Sandoval.

Of course, Sandoval isn’t an option at all. He’s out with a right knee sprain he suffered while going down for a ground ball, which isn’t the most traditional way to suffer a knee sprain. Tee work is about to begin.

Brock Holt is out too, with vertigo, but is trying another rehab assignment Saturday. Marco Hernandez dislocated his left shoulder.

Holt and Sandoval both are on their way back. All three of them could return and be unproductive. Yet, the fact three players are coming back is an incentive for the Sox to wait and see.

Maybe Josh Rutledge, a Rule 5 pick who has to say on the roster, shows some mettle that’s unexpected. The Sox should let that play out for a time.

It'd be different if the Sox had a ton of prospects left. They don't. Trading one now hurts all the more. 

Rafael Devers, who could well take over the position next year, might be able to force his way to the majors later this season. But Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski didn’t sound like someone ready to fast-track the 20-year-old, who has a .956 OPS and five homers at Double-A Portland.

Said one scout who’s seen him: “Played the hell out of third. Solid bat and good instincts for the game. Little concerned about the body though. High maintenance...Think he needs the full year in the minors.”

The Sox cannot go on with a full season like this at third base. But their self-imposed resource limitations should keep them from acting hastily.
 

Jackie Bradley Jr. channels 'inner Bo Jackson' to make insane catch

Jackie Bradley Jr. channels 'inner Bo Jackson' to make insane catch

Jackie Bradley Jr. probably won't be hitting 475-foot-home runs anytime soon, and he certainly won't be pursuing a second career as an NFL running back.

But the Boston Red Sox outfielder does have a little Bo Jackson in him.

Here's Bradley going airborne in the seventh inning of Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Twins to make an insane catch that's even more difficult than it looks:

The Red Sox went on to lose 3-2 in a 17-inning marathon, but after the game, Bradley admitted to attempting a Bo Jackson impression as he slammed into the centerfield wall.

Jackson, one of the best athletes of all time and a dual-sport star for the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Raiders, famously defied gravity by literally running up the outfield wall after a highlight-reel catch:

Bradley obeyed most of the laws of physics here, but his catch arguably was impressive in that he snagged the ball in midair while crashing into the wall.

The 29-year-old may have his struggles at the plate -- he's hitting .213 through 66 games this season -- but Tuesday's catch was another reminder that he's one of the best defensive outfielders (and pure athletes) in baseball.

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Here's the rule that had Alex Cora hopping mad -- until he realized the umpires hadn't gotten it wrong after all

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File photo

Here's the rule that had Alex Cora hopping mad -- until he realized the umpires hadn't gotten it wrong after all

Alex Cora needed to be separated from home plate umpire Jeremie Rehak by coaches after Tuesday night/Wednesday morning's marathon 17-inning loss to the Twins, but it only took one look at the replay for the manager to admit he was wrong.

Cora and other members of the Red Sox, most notably right-hander Rick Porcello, were incensed after Eddie Rosario fouled off a bunt attempt with one out in the 17th. Catcher Sandy Leon immediately pointed at the batter's suggesting Rosario had stepped out before making contact, which would have been an automatic out.

Cora asked Rehak to consult with the rest of the crew and third base umpire Mark Wegner agreed that no violation had occurred. Cora complained bitterly before Rosario doubled the winning run to third. Two batters later, the Twins prevailed on Max Kepler's walk-off single.

Only after the game did Cora realize that Rosario, who had slid to the front of the box while awkwardly trying to bunt against the shift, didn't actually do anything illegal.

"I want to apologize to the umpires," Cora told reporters in Minnesota. "Obviously, emotions take over. I look at the replay, and Eddie wasn't off the batter's box. They did an outstanding job for how long (the game) was. Just one of those, it's tough to swallow. You see it and the emotions take over, but it was out of character. That was my fault."

Rule 6.06 (a) states that a batter is out for illegal action if, "he hits a ball with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter's box." Upon video review, the left-handed Rosario's front foot clearly does not leave the box until after the ball leaves his bat. At the moment of contact, his heel is on the line.

So, Cora did the right thing and apologized.

"I look on the video and he wasn't," Cora told reporters. "They were right and I was wrong."

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