Boston Red Sox: An internal alternative to their hot corner conundrum
The Boston Red Sox were rumored to be in contention to land Todd Frazier in a trade with the Chicago White Sox. While they came up short to the hated New York Yankees, the only hope in his addition was to get that badly needed home run even if it takes a series of 1-for-5 games to get there.
If that is indeed what the Red Sox are going for with their third base pursuit, they could do so internally.
With all things considered, the Red Sox should not have the third base problem that has plagued them all season long.
Pablo Sandoval was the big free agent signing for the Sox after being a symbol for the San Francisco Giants dynasty. However, one sub-par season in 2015, a 2016 season erased due to injury and an embarrassing first half to this season led to him being released on his way to running back and sliding head first into the loving bosom of the city by the bay.
Travis Shaw was a solid third baseman last year, hitting 16 home runs and driving in 71 runs despite a .242 batting average. Shaw has been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for a reliever that would not see the mound this season because of the hope that third time would be a charm for Sandoval.
Without those two, the Red Sox were left with a musical chairs like rotation of Justin Rutledge, Deven Marrero, Tzu Wei-Lin and Brock Holt. None of which carries a bat that can alleviate the problem.
The Red Sox have two prized third base prospects in Rafael Devers and Michael Chavis that may not be ready yet this season but most likely next year. It may be easy to forget that Marrero was a first round draft pick by the Red Sox in 2012. While his glove is proven to be Major League ready, his bat – which was never impressive in the minor leagues to begin with – will only relegate him to that of a utility infielder.
Mike Olt is in the middle of a resurgence season with the Red Sox’s Double-A affiliate, the Portland Sea Dogs. With 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 78 games, he may be an underrated short-term solution to the Sox’s hot corner conundrum.
Olt was a once a prized prospect of the Texas Rangers. He was the featured piece of a packaged deal to get Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs in 2013 and hit 12 home runs in 2014 while splitting time at third base. He started the 2015 season as the Opening Day starting third baseman for the new look Cubs and was a part of a controversial theory that the Cubs were keeping Kris Bryant in the minor leagues long enough to push his arbitration back a year.
An injury opened up a star studied career for Bryant but left Olt in limbo. He finished the 2015 season across town with the White Sox but he wasn’t the same since his injury and it showed in a year and a half’s worth of missed time.
“I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve missed so much baseball, I understand how much fun it is,” Olt told the Portland Press Herald. “A wrist injury for a power hitter … it took a while to get my power back. That was a whole year.”
The Red Sox lose nothing by trying Olt out, should they not score a third baseman of their own by the trade deadline. It would not be the first time this season that the Red Sox plucked a player out of Portland. They did so with Wei-Lin and he batted .280 before being sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket.
There are many names being thrown out there in the trade market. Some of which would just be adding for the sake of it. If a real prize can not be obtained by the end of the month and Mike Olt doesn’t get his chance, then it makes no sense not to promote their top prospect starting in August.