With the recent struggles of David Price and Clay Buchholz on full display for Red Sox Nation, the other eight players that take the field every day have been rightfully put on the back-burner. However, there are some concerns, specifically depth in the outfield, that could, and probably should, be addressed by Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski.
The current Red Sox outfield consists of Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts, with Chris Young coming off the bench. To date, Jackie Bradley has been hitting above and beyond what we all thought he was capable of. In 30 games this season, JBJ is hitting .288 with three home runs, 15 RBIs and a league-leading four triples. Because of his stellar defensive ability, the Red Sox are willing to work through the growing pains with Bradley. However, if he continues to hit like this, he may have to worry about picking up his All Star jersey instead of a PawSox one.
Mookie Betts has drastically underperformed up until this point in the season. In 31 games, Betts is batting a measly .248, with four home runs and 17 RBIs. Before the start of the season, people were talking about Betts getting some consideration for the Most Valuable Player award. However, at 23-years-old, every one needs to slow down with the Mookie Mania. No one has lost faith in Betts and he will hopefully heat up as the season progresses.
As a platoon left fielder, Brock Holt has gone from super utility man to an everyday starting outfielder. Personally, I'm still not sold on Brock Holt being an everyday player on a team thats ultimate goal is to win a World Series. In 25 games, Holt is batting .282 with two home runs and 17 RBIs. I like Brock Holt a lot, and he deserves to be in the lineup four or five days a week. However, he is most valuable to the Red Sox as a player that can play all positions in the case of an injury or someone needing rest.
Finally, the Red Sox have been strutting out 32-year-old Chris Young to hit against left-handed pitchers. In 19 games, Young has hit .182 with zero home runs and one RBI. While John Farrell was enamored with the righty to start the season, it looks as if he is in the dog house and won't be getting the 400 plate appearances that he was pencilled in for to start the season.
So, what should the Red Sox do? With little depth and room for error, will they keep Brock Holt in left field and slide Josh Rutledge into the super utility role?
In short, I sure as hell hope not. My hope is that the Red Sox will be looking to add a legitimate outfielder to this already stacked lineup. While the Red Sox currently rank as the best offensive team in the American League (4th in the MLB), on April 27 the Red Sox ranked dead last in the American League in home runs. Since then, they've hit 17 home runs in 11 games and currently rank 7th in the American League. No one thought that they would continue to not hit the ball out of the ballpark, but it is still a little bewildering as to how that could happen when you have names like David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez in your lineup. With limited power and more effective in his previous role, I am hoping that the Red Sox will be looking to take Brock Holt out of left field and restore his status as an All Star super utility player.
In his place, the Red Sox could look to Chris Young, or they could explore the trade market. The player they should be looking at is 31-year-old slugger Matt Kemp with the San Diego Padres. In 11 MLB seasons, Kemp has averaged 27 home runs and 96 RBIs. In 2016, Kemp has played in 31 games, with a .279 average, eight home runs and 23 RBIs. It seems as if Kemp has been linked to the Red Sox since he signed his eight-year, $160 million deal with the Dodgers in 2012. While many believed he may have been involved in a deal that brought Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval to the Padres, Sandoval is done for the season, and any deal is presumably dead.
Or is it?
With such a large contract, the Red Sox could take on most of his money and ease the salary cap of the Padres. If you attach some players, such as Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, Rusney Castillo, etc., to the deal, then the Padres could and should be extremely interested.
Will it happen? Probably not. But imagine that lineup....scary.