Shortstop moving forward v. 2014

RoDaddy

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Deven Marrero was promoted today. He’s right at the top of the list for this year’s most pleasant surprise minor leaguer, excelling in AA ball after a mediocre High A ball season last year (if anything, it’s usually the other way around). However, his improving stock as a potential starting big league SS will likely lead to some tough decisions for the Sox sooner than expected. Xander wants to play short; Farrell has also stated that X is a SS; but what about the superior defender Marrero at this crucial defensive position? Basically, you’ve got a quality starting SS who seems almost ready for Boston and the future franchise star who is expecting his SS position back.
 
Here are some potential options:
1. Xander is our future SS and Marrero very valuable trade fodder.
2. Xander is our future SS and Marrero is moved to another position. I can’t see much value in this as moving him to any other position would significantly diminish his value, plus we have a strong farm system already supplying young prospects at other positions.
3. Marrero is our future SS and Xander our third baseman, and Xander is okay with this. For this to happen, Xander will have to be convinced that 3B is better for him
4. Marrero is our future SS and Xander our third baseman, and Xander is pissed about this. I can’t see how this will turn out well . There is also the added complication that we have 2-3 decent young 3rd baseman in WMB, Cecchini and maybe Coyle who can enter the picture. What if WMB starts looking like Evan Longoria and/or Cecchini starts to hit for power and/or Coyle continues his great play?
5. Drew is resigned for next year. Highly unlikely I would think and given above, but he has been our SS for most of the last two years.
6. Trade Xander. We’d all hate to do this, but if Giancarlo Stanton or the right package somehow came along…
 
We had a similar complication at SS last year around the same time and I feel pretty much the same way again; that this is a good problem to have, but nonetheless, soon to be the elephant in the room for this organization.
 

BosRedSox5

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
It's more than extremely early to call Marerro "almost ready for Boston". His AA stint was a nice turn around but he needs to do it for a full season in AAA before you start talking about moving X.
 
X has already been moved. I think that ship has sailed. 
 
Players at this level are athletic and strong. There are many times when they can move and switch positions without too much trouble like X or Holt or Nava etc... but there's still a lot of nuance to playing defense in baseball. Alex Rodriguez, who was a pretty good defensive shortstop (though probably not deserving of those Gold Gloves) put in a lot of hours with Craig Nettles in order to become a competent 3B. He worked on footwork, his new cutoff responsibilities, his throwing mechanics etc. 

X is already a 3B and I think we should keep his education moving towards that end. He's athletic, he's got a strong arm and despite the errors he's racked up, he looks like he could be a really good 3B. Moving him to short and then probably moving him back later doesn't seem like a good idea. 
 

Byrdbrain

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I tend to think he will stay at 3B but you can't close the door on X at SS yet.
If Marerro can't hit enough to be an everyday MLB player then there is no in house SS fallback plan for 2015(I doubt we will see Drew pt3) while there are multiple 3B options.
 

Plympton91

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Why can't Marrerro be the shortstop next year? It's too early to say one way or the other. There's a full half season of AAA left. If he puts up an 800 OPS in AAA the same way he did in AA then he's probably got the inside track on the position. With the team likely to be playing out the string in September after this absolutely putridly awful season and Drew hopefully playing well enough by then to be traded at the waiver deadline, Marrerro could get all of September to play in the big leagues too.
 

OttoC

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Plympton91 said:
Why can't Marrerro be the shortstop next year? It's too early to say one way or the other. There's a full half season of AAA left. If he puts up an 800 OPS in AAA the same way he did in AA then he's probably got the inside track on the position. With the team likely to be playing out the string in September after this absolutely putridly awful season and Drew hopefully playing well enough by then to be traded at the waiver deadline, Marrerro could get all of September to play in the big leagues too.
 
We'll try this again with a slightly different approach.
 
2012 -- .732 OPS in A- (NYPL)
2013 -- .674 OPS in A+ (CarL)
2013 -- .558 OPS in AA (EL)
2014 -- .724 OPS in first 55 games in AA (EL), then 1.131 OPS in last 13 games in AA (EL).
 
I'd like to see something more than a 13-game hot streak before I anoint him as the 2015 shortstop of the year for Boston. Or haven't the adventures of Boston BB's 3 Baby B's this year, all of whom had better pedigrees at the plate, woken anyone up? Maybe Marrero will figure out how to hit at the ML level but let's not be hasty.
 

Byrdbrain

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No one is doing anything close to anointing. My post said "if Marrero can hit enough" and Plympton plainly says it is too early to tell but lets not say he won't be the SS in 2015 yet.
He seems to have had a nice start to his AAA stint tonight so lets see what he does the rest of this year. 
 

Bone Chips

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When it comes to defense I guess you'd say I'm old school - I make my assessment based on what I see rather than the stats. And what I saw from Xander the first 5 weeks of the season had me pretty much convinced that he will never be a very good major league shortstop. The footwork and the range just isn't there. The good news is that he seems to be well suited for third base. I'm not a major league scout by any means - just the opinion of a 46 year old schlep who watches way too much TV. But I do think the Red Sox front office probably feels the same way.
 

Rasputin

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It seems obvious to me. We start next season with Bogaerts at short and Middlebrooks at third and you can start to think about changing that when Marrero succeeds or Bogaerts or Middlebrooks fail.
 

BosRedSox5

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If XB's ultimately going to settle in at 3B in a year or two anyway, I'd rather the team keep him there so he can learn the nuances of the position and perhaps become a gold glove quality defender. Taking a guy with his bat and having him at short, then moving him to third, then moving him back to short, then possibly moving him back to third for Marrero doesn't show any kind of planning. The Red Sox have had stopgap shortstops for 10 years now, so if they had to get a replacement player to throw in there then so be it. I'm more worried about X's development. 
 

Drek717

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Rasputin said:
It seems obvious to me. We start next season with Bogaerts at short and Middlebrooks at third and you can start to think about changing that when Marrero succeeds or Bogaerts or Middlebrooks fail.
Exactly.  Not a point worth over thinking.  Marrero can continue to improve and prove his bat in AAA.  Bogaerts gets another crack to stick at SS.  Middlebrooks and Cecchini can both try to lock down 3B.  I'm pretty sure the concerns about how we fit all these guys into the lineup will sort itself out for us as the rest of this season and next progress.
 

MuzzyField

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I do not have the absolute answer the question posed here, but given the length of the search to find the next franchise SS, neither does anyone else.
My views on Bogaerts at SS in 2014 were based on the the fact the vast majority of his minor league development was played at the position and the assumption if he couldn't actually do it to a major league standard he would have been moved prior to his arrival at the MLB level.  In my view, figuring out the actual playing position of top prospects is best done at the minor league level.  If he's blocked, trade him or trade the player he's being blocked by.
His performance at SS to open the season, while certainly concerning, didn't have me reaching for the panic button.  I thought his last 10-games at SS in 2014 were better than his first 10.  I also wanted to see the native of Aruba get the chance to warm-up with the weather, remove several layers of thermal clothing,  and then see what we had before making any reactionary moves.
 

geoduck no quahog

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I'm not sure minor league development follows that track. We've all read about teams developing "up the middle" talent that can be moved around during development because of athletic ability. I agree that the major leagues is probably not the best place to experiment, but it's not unheard of.
 
I also think there's a lot of precedent for SS's transitioning to 3B, yes?
 

Plympton91

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
We here have had to endure how many posts from you about what an awful mistake in judgment it was for the FO to go with JBJ in CF this year - when he had just as good a defensive track record as Mererro and a hell of a lot better offensive track record in the minors - but now you're honestly going to suggest they should hand the SS job to Marerro based off of what he does over the remainder of the year in AAA?

Please google the word 'hypocrite' and get back to us.
If they allow Marrerro to earn the shortstop job, they will essentially be saying the he's beaten out Holt, Middlebrooks, and Cecchini because then Bogaerts would remain the starter at third base. And if Marrerro fails as spectacularly as Bradley and Victorino this season, they can quickly and easily turn to one of those other options with Bogaerts moving over to SS.

The amount of depth this team has on the left side of the infield (might even add Coyle, and if he doesn't lock down the OF, Betts) is ridiculously good. The situation couldn't be less comparable to the RF/CF situation this offseason. Look up "context" in your internets, and get back to me.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Papelbon said:
 
This is pretty much drivel and I don't see the relevance of the ARod anecdote. X has spent his entire life at SS, short of being put at 3B as a catalyst for the team at the end of last year and being sacrificed for a panic move by the FO to polish the brass on the Titanic this year. He made significant strides to look much better at SS before he was moved and once he got comfortable. There is literally zero reason he shouldn't be the starting SS next season, to say nothing of the depth at 3B the Sox have coming up. It's not moving him to SS it's returning him to where he belongs. You don't throw away the chance to have that much of an impact player at SS because "the ship has sailed" after less than half a season at another spot. If the Sox are fortunate enough to dump Drew on someone - looking less likely as he continues to be a massive pile of suck - he'll go back to SS for the rest of the year. Even if not, he should go back and Drew should be released. Fort he love of God, he's 21 years old, the ship hasn't sailed on anything, especially because he spent the last couple months at 3B. Good God, are you serious? 
 
Either way, Devin Marerro is not your stating SS next season. So if, as you claim, "the ship has sailed" and X will never be a SS again, who's your SS next year? 
Holt? This is what seems obvious to me. He's built to be a stopgap solution.

There is a greater chance of X in a corner OF spot than being a SS next year. He may not be an infielder at all at the big league level without some significant offseason work as the only thing I've seem more discouraging than his play at SS this year is his play at 3B. The SS ship sailed when it capsized 3 months ago.
 

Hagios

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
 
This is pretty much drivel and I don't see the relevance of the ARod anecdote. X has spent his entire life at SS, short of being put at 3B as a catalyst for the team at the end of last year and being sacrificed for a panic move by the FO to polish the brass on the Titanic this year. He made significant strides to look much better at SS before he was moved and once he got comfortable. There is literally zero reason he shouldn't be the starting SS next season,
 
You might be right, but there is no way to be sure. Xander was more polished by the end of the SS stint but we still don't know if he can hold down the position. Most good athletes who throw righty start in the minors at shortstop. Most of them don't stick. That Xander made it through AAA at short is a great sign, but we don't know if he's got the range. And we won't be able to find out by looking at UZR or other fielding stats (unless we give it another year and three-quarters). It really comes down to coaches like Butterfield. If he's determined that Xander can't field the position at the major league level then that's what really matters. Playing Bayesian detectives with a growing body of UZR data is not how this will play out.
 
So maybe the Red Sox believed in X but panicked over their slow start and signed Drew. Or maybe they determined that Xander won't stick (and then panicked and signed Drew). We have no idea but I suspect the jury on X is already in.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Hagios said:
 
You might be right, but there is no way to be sure. Xander was more polished by the end of the SS stint but we still don't know if he can hold down the position. Most good athletes who throw righty start in the minors at shortstop. Most of them don't stick. That Xander made it through AAA at short is a great sign, but we don't know if he's got the range. And we won't be able to find out by looking at UZR or other fielding stats (unless we give it another year and three-quarters). It really comes down to coaches like Butterfield. If he's determined that Xander can't field the position at the major league level then that's what really matters. Playing Bayesian detectives with a growing body of UZR data is not how this will play out.
 
So maybe the Red Sox believed in X but panicked over their slow start and signed Drew. Or maybe they determined that Xander won't stick (and then panicked and signed Drew). We have no idea but I suspect the jury on X is already in.
 
I think those stated reasons were not the main factors driving Drew's re-signing. IMO, the main reason was WMB going down. I would bet 10 dollars (Canadian) that Drew is gone and WMB is back up by the deadline. X will move back to SS and spend most of 2015 there. If Middlebrooks bombs and Marrero's bat continues to improve then another decision will have to be made.  
 

ALiveH

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Don't understand the rush to get rid of Drew (assuming can bring him back at reasonable bucks based on his FA fiasco last year).  He's been an above-average shortstop.  He's not old.  This year he's just been rusty b/c of the late start.  At some point it has to be stop being about developing / acquiring assets.  Why wouldn't you get the best players to try to win in 2015?
 
If the year ended today & no Drew, then we wouldn't have a solid player to put at 3B.  But if we bring back Drew, Bogaerts' bat can play there and he is a plus-defender at 3B (only average at SS).
 
Of course the rest of the year could change that equation if Cecchini or WMB make some strides.  Marrero is another wildcard but probably still a year away.  If I had to decide today I would say Drew at SS and Bogaerts at 3B puts your best players on the field.
 
M

MentalDisabldLst

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I think those stated reasons were not the main factors driving Drew's re-signing. IMO, the main reason was WMB going down. I would bet 10 dollars (Canadian) that Drew is gone and WMB is back up by the deadline. X will move back to SS and spend most of 2015 there. If Middlebrooks bombs and Marrero's bat continues to improve then another decision will have to be made.  
 
Shit, i'll take the other side of that.  If Drew is still on the Red Sox on 8/1, you pay (let's say) $20 to the Jimmy Fund.  If he's DFAd or playing for another team, I'll do likewise.  Interested?
 
I just don't see how the Red Sox are going to sign Drew for $10M, part-way through the year, and then get rid of him after 40 games.  
 
I do agree with you and Rasputin that Xander's going to start 2015 at SS.  It makes sense to give him a reasonable amount of rope - remember our hand-wringing and pearl-clutching over Dustin Pedroia in 2006?  or how Nomar had 21 and 25 errors his first 2 full years at SS?  Just as importantly, they've made that promise to X publicly, and there's no plausible alternative that doesn't involve signing a scrub / re-tread / journeyman to hold down the position poorly, or rushing Marrero.  I see little downside to giving X another shot at it, and plenty of upside.  Breaking in new players to the league is never without risk and uncertainty, but it beats the hell out of the alternative (expensive veterans / FAs).
 

jscola85

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If they go with Bogaerts as the starter next year, which I am not abjectly opposed to, I just hope they have a better backup option than a combination of Holt and Herrera.  Neither of them can properly field shortstop, and if it becomes clear that Bogaerts should be playing on the corner, we'll be stuck in a tough spot.  Unless he hits like a mini Tulo, you can't afford to have Bogaerts being a butcher at SS - that position is just too important for the defense.
 
The problem is, where do you find that slick-fielding shortstop?  Best-case is that Marrero performs well the rest of this year and early in 2014, giving the Sox the option of calling him up to be an all-glove guy if needed.  If he's not ready though, I'd like to have a better alternative than Herrera, I just don't know where you find that guy.
 

HomeRunBaker

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ALiveH said:
Don't understand the rush to get rid of Drew (assuming can bring him back at reasonable bucks based on his FA fiasco last year).  He's been an above-average shortstop.  He's not old.  This year he's just been rusty b/c of the late start.  At some point it has to be stop being about developing / acquiring assets.  Why wouldn't you get the best players to try to win in 2015?
 
If the year ended today & no Drew, then we wouldn't have a solid player to put at 3B.  But if we bring back Drew, Bogaerts' bat can play there and he is a plus-defender at 3B (only average at SS).
 
Of course the rest of the year could change that equation if Cecchini or WMB make some strides.  Marrero is another wildcard but probably still a year away.  If I had to decide today I would say Drew at SS and Bogaerts at 3B puts your best players on the field.
The problem is that Drew is certain to receive a multi-year offer now that a draft pick is not attached as compensation. He's always been a slow starter so I fully expect him to show well over the final 50+ games wherever it may be. Otherwise I agree as he was our best SS option last winter and would be again for 2015.

If we can move him now for a prospect it's a no-brainer unless you feel he can be had on a short-term deal (doubtful) and Marrero isn't ready to come up early next year.

There's nothing wrong with Holt to begin the year IF Marrero has a strong second half in Pawtucket then make the call up to save a year of cost-controlled service time.
 

ALiveH

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Yeah, I guess I agree.  If the FO feels like they have a good feel for Drew's market and the market is a multi-year deal that's bigger than they're willing to give (I might go 2/22 but not much higher), then yeah, I'd trade him.  The FO could even try to lock up Drew to an extension before the deadline - if this season is lost, who cares about "distractions"?
 
If no Drew here next year and assuming WMB / Garin don't proven themselves in the second half of this year, then I think you look on the FA / trade market for best value at SS/3B and plug in Bogaerts at the other position.
 

Hee Sox Choi

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Drew couldn't even find a multi-year deal coming off a good season last year.  Now he's hitting .170 / .256 / .330 and you want to give him a multi-year deal ("2/22")???  He'll be lucky to get 1/7 next year with the year he's having.  
 

Plympton91

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Hee Sox Choi said:
Drew couldn't even find a multi-year deal coming off a good season last year.  Now he's hitting .170 / .256 / .330 and you want to give him a multi-year deal ("2/22")???  He'll be lucky to get 1/7 next year with the year he's having.  
He has an 860 OPS in July; June was basically spring training.

I think the bigger reason he may not be looking at the payday he thinks he's due is that he's really being exposed as a platoon player and finally being used that way by the Red Sox to keep Holt and the outfielders in the lineup.

Teams just don't want platoon players as their middle infielders. He would be best off if he volunteered to play some 3B, I think. Because an 800+ OPS against righthanded pitching to go along with excellent defense at 3B and the ability to be an excellent backup SS would be valuable to a team that knows what it's doing.
 

KillerBs

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Drek717 said:
Exactly.  Not a point worth over thinking.  Marrero can continue to improve and prove his bat in AAA.  Bogaerts gets another crack to stick at SS.  Middlebrooks and Cecchini can both try to lock down 3B.  I'm pretty sure the concerns about how we fit all these guys into the lineup will sort itself out for us as the rest of this season and next progress.
 
Agree with this and other similar posts above, but I think of late 2014/early 2015 3b as a Holt v. WMB competition/platoon. No reason to think now that Cecchini is in the mix, until he shows a lot more at AAA. Coyle strikes me as larger potential factor at this point.
 
The infield pieces actually fit together pretty well, so long as Drew is shuffled out of town, the sooner the better, AFAIC. Bogie gets the extended trial again at SS, while Marrero cools his heels at PAW, giving us a better sense of what his bat really is. Reassess in June 2015. This gives WMB one more 1/2 chance to make it at 3B, while allowing ABs for Holt in the process. Holt can back up SS too, meaning they can carry 5 OFers: Nava, Bradley, Victorino, Betts, and one. 
 
If everyone succeeds, as asigned above, then you leave well enough alone, giving priority to Xander, whose development trumps all other considerations. Marrero becomes trade bait in this scenario, potentially of signficant value. If by mid season next year, it is relatively clear that the best ss/3b combo is Marrero/Bogaerts, than so be it, Xander returns to 3b but having had another good go at it.
 
All we really need to do here is move Drew and then watch closely for 60 to 80 games.