PTBNL in Dodgers deal could be in Sox first base platoon

864987.jpg

PTBNL in Dodgers deal could be in Sox first base platoon

The Red Sox have publicly identified first base, left field, and right field (along with starting pitching and shortstop) as areas of need. The offseason will be devoted to filling those spots, along with several other roster vacancies.
 
Free agents Mike Napoli or Adam LaRoche could be the answer at first. In the outfield, the Sox could bring back Cody Ross, or try to lure Torii Hunter or Nick Swisher, or maybe Jason Bay again. Or perhaps Swisher could be the answer at first.
 
Perhaps the answer to one or more of those questions is already in the organization. General manager Ben Cherington said at last weeks GM meetings that Jerry Sands could be a platoon option at first base.

Sands was part of the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers in August, although, as a player to be named later, the Sox did not acquire him until Oct. 4. He was then added to the 40-man roster.
 
Sands, who turned 25 in September, was a 25th-round pick of the Dodgers in 2008 out of Catawba College in North Carolina. He made his big league debut last season, appearing in 61 games. This season he appeared in nine games for the Dodgers.  He has appeared in 47 games in left field, 23 in right, seven at first base, and one in center field for the Dodgers all without making an error.
 
The right-handed batter  has hit a combined .244 with four home runs, 27 RBI, a .325 on-base percentage, and .376 slugging percentage in the big leagues.
 
Listed at 6-feet, 4-four inches, and 225 pounds, Sands runs relatively well for a big guy. He is 3-for-6 in major league stolen base attempts, all in 2011. In the minors, he has 28 stolen bases, getting caught just four times.  In 2010, he was 18-for-20. Last season, though, he was successful in his lone attempt.

Over five minor league seasons, he has hit .289 with a .376 OBP and .562 SLG, playing all three outfield positions, first base, and third base. He has appeared in more games, 173, at first base than any other position. But over the last two seasons -- both at Triple-A - he has appeared in 94 games in left, 89 at first, 52 in right, and one at third base.

In 119 games with Triple-A Albuquerque this season, he hit  .296 with 26 home runs, 107 RBI, .375 OBP, and .524 SLG. In 2012, he played 60 games in left, making one error for a .992 fielding percentage, with 11 assists, 44 games at first base (seven errors, .983 fielding percentage), and 24 errorless games in right field.

His versatility is certainly attractive to the Red Sox. But, what is his best position and what can he offer the Sox offensively? Several scouts weighed in:

I like his power but contact issues are a concern, said one scout. His walks are up, which is a positive. Played a solid left but limited to left fieldright field . He can also play first base, but much better in left field. I was a little higher on his D than most but he is an average defender at best. Runs well for a big man but not a threat. I had him as an extrafourth outfielder  type. Those power numbers in Albuquerque are a little exaggerated due to the light air but he has 20-plus home run power. I do not think he will ever hit for much of an average -- .240 - .250 type.

Sands has been brought up and given a little chance, said another scout at the time of the trade. He always did well in the minor leagues, but never produced. He never impressed the Dodgers enough to keep him in the big leagues.

Hes a big power-type guy. Thats a big part of his game, said a third scout. I think eventually hes going to be OK.  I know the Dodgers had some situations with him where if he doesnt hit, he wants to start changing things, and they were trying to be patient with him doing that. But I think hes going to get everything straightened out, and hes going to be a pretty good offensive-type guy. Hes a playable defensive guy. Hes one of those guys, if he hits and hits for power, his defense is going to be good enough. Hes more of a fringe defender in the outfield. But if he hits 40 home runs, then hes a very good outfielder. I think hes got some promise to him.

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

MORE:

“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”