Solving the Boston Red Sox Third Base Logjam
The Boston Red Sox currently have a good problem on their hands. Michael Chavis is a godsend and Rafael Devers is developing into a fantastic all-around player. Additionally, Bobby Dalbec is tearing up AA Portland and could be in the majors sooner rather than later. Having too much young talent is never a bad thing, but the Red Sox will need to find a way to get all their young third base talent on the field. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution.
How to Solve the Boston Red Sox Third Base Logjam
Michael Chavis is the biggest question mark, as the prodigal infielder doesn’t have a true position. Chavis initially arrived in Boston after a series of injuries decimated their second base depth. Chavis, a third baseman by nature, took over the second base job and outperformed any realistic expectations. So far through the season, Chavis is hitting .296/.406/.580 with a 159 wRC+.
What’s most impressive is how natural he looks at second base. Despite his minimal experience, Chavis has handled defensive duties in stride. Second base is a more difficult defensive position than third, so finding a competent defender is a huge plus for Boston.
The Red Sox need to find a long-term answer at second, as the current options are pretty bleak. Dustin Pedroia is still battling back from a 2017 injury while Brock Holt is set to be a free agent after 2019. Tzu-Wei Lin is a solid utility player but shouldn’t be an everyday player. Chavis should be given every chance to be Boston’s second baseman for the next decade.
Putting Dalbec on this list is a little premature, but let’s assume he’s able to develop into an everyday major leaguer. If he can continue to limit his strikeouts, he’s easily the best choice to man the hot corner. As everyone knows, Rafael Devers has his shortcomings as a defensive third baseman. Chavis isn’t that much of an upgrade, so there was no point in forcing Devers to learn a new position on the fly.
Dalbec is a significantly better defender than both Devers and Chavis. The 6’4” third baseman boasts surprising range, quick reflexes and an absolute cannon of an arm. He probably won’t develop into a Gold Glover, but he can provide plus defense with a massive power bat.
With second and third filled, Rafael Devers moves to first base. Devers hasn’t played first base at any point in his career, but he’ll be the one to move. First base isn’t that difficult a position to learn, so Devers should be able to provide adequate defense by the start of the 2020 season.
The Red Sox already signed Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts to big-money extensions, but they still need to find the money to re-sign Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. They could save some money at first base by allowing Steve Pearce and Mitch Moreland to walk and let Devers play first.