Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

Boston Red Sox Notes: Team Has Big Hole At Third Base

The Boston Red Sox have struggled in many areas to begin 2017, but the conversation of who is the everyday third basemen might be their biggest problem early on this season.

This whole tirade began when the Boston Red Sox traded third baseman Travis Shaw to the Milwaukee Brewers for right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg back in early December. That trade began to look bright as Boston got a solid reliever in return and third baseman Pablo Sandoval seemed to be “slimming” down and looked like he was ready for 2017. Sandoval went down with a right-knee sprain and is “day-to-day," after only playing in 17 contests well batting under his weight (.213).

With Sandoval out, the other options have been Josh Rutledge, who just returned from the disabled list, and Marco Hernandez, who has played in most spots of the infield already to begin the season, but left the game the other night with arm soreness. Brock Holt, who was the starting third basemen in the playoffs last October, continues to deal with his vertigo that has him on a rehab assignment in Double-A Portland to get some at-bats.

By saying all this with all these injuries and misfortunes, the Red Sox lead the majors in errors by a third baseman (11), and don’t have any true depth out there that can go out and win a game.

The Red Sox recently claimed Chase d'Arnaud off waivers, and he’s had success in the majors with the Atlanta Braves. He's also pretty versatile, as he plays the outfield, so he could be seen as being a potential utility player.

Deven Marrero, a former first-round pick back in 2012, has just been called up to the big club, but he has struggled big time to start the year in Triple-A Pawtucket. The 26-year-old was batting just .169/.178/.211 with a with a .389 OPS, along with three doubles and four runs batted in, across 19 games (73 plate appearances). Marrero’s career has been mostly through the minors, disappointing numbers for a former first-round selection, as he has posted just a .243/.311/.325/.636 line in 503 minor league games.

Errors by Red Sox' third basemen:

  • Marco Hernandez — 9 games (9 starts), 5 errors
  • Pablo Sandoval — 16 games (16 starts), 4 errors
  • Brock Holt — 1 game (1 start), 1 error
  • Josh Rutledge — 2 games (1 start), 1 error
  • Deven Marrero — N/A

The team's third basemen problems are real simple; Boston can't count on Sandoval to be there, whether if it’s injuries or production. Come October, if this is a team who is looking to collect their fourth World Seres title in 14 seasons, then there can’t have any holes in your lineup. If Sandoval is not going to be their guy, then the job is there for everyone that was mentioned.

When Holt eventually comes off the disabled list and is ready to play, there's a good possibility that if he's given the opportunity like he has in the past two seasons, he could be the guy who could fulfill that spot if his bat becomes hot like it did in 2015. Hernandez is also a player to who has been able to fill in spots when needed this season and has been a decent hitter to begin the year (.276). Health is also an issue for Hernandez, as well, he has dealt with arm problems in the past.

Overall, the Red Sox need to figure out this problem internally and not go crazy with trading prospects or pitching for a hot-shot third basemen.

It would not be surprising to see someone to fully take on the third base spot as their own by late June, and for the team's offense to be on full display come the summer months.

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