Middlebrooks or Bogaerts? Sox weigh options

Middlebrooks or Bogaerts? Sox weigh options
July 31, 2013, 6:30 pm
Share This Post

BOSTON -- The trade of Jose Iglesias makes the Red Sox infield a whole lot more interesting moving forward.

More specifically, it makes the organizational decisions about the infield more interesting.

As of Wednesday night, seeing the trade deadline come and go, the Red Sox called up infielder Brock Holt, who was in the lineup against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night, starting at third base and hitting ninth.

For now, Holt and Brandon Snyder will be in a platoon situation at third.

"Brock [Holt] is here because he gives us the backup shortstop capability," said Red Sox manager John Farrell before the game at Fenway Park. "And that was somewhat overriding it at the moment. So, that's where we stand today.

"We'll put the best team on the field that's available, whoever that is. And right now, that's between Brock and Brandon," Farrell said.

The need for a backup shortstop behind Stephen Drew could complicate things for the Red Sox as to where they see Will Middlebrooks and the organization's top prospect, Xander Bogaerts, fitting in with the major league team for the rest of this season.

Both Middlebrooks and Bogaerts are at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Middlebrooks is strictly a third baseman, and is trying to convince Red Sox management that he is ready to produce consistently as he had done last season before he sustained a season-ending injury.

Bogaerts is a highly touted shortstop who seems to be getting closer and closer to his big-league call-up. Recently, he's been playing some third base, making some wonder if he'd get the call up to Boston before Middlebrooks.

Right now, that remains to be seen. But it seems obvious that at least one of them will eventually get the call-up. Either way, both are "in the conversation."

"Well, [Middlebrooks] is in the conversation, I know that," said Farrell. "In his own right, he's working through things that he's been very clear on. And there's some increase in consistency while in Pawtucket. But the backup shortstop was the reason for Brock today.

"[Bogaerts] is in the discussion," added Farrell later in the media session. "But the fact is, he's still non-roster. And we wanted to preserve a spot in the event something else happened. So, we're just kind of letting the dust settle a little bit right now. That doesn't suggest that his move or his recall or purchase of his contract is imminent. But, he's doing a very good job. And he's played third of late, trying to get some exposure there. So, we're just trying to cover everything that we can do in Pawtucket, if in fact he's the guy. Which, right now, he's not. But that's just normal preparation and development."

So does the fact that Bogaerts has the ability to play both shortstop and third base work to his advantage?

"It could," said Farrell. "But at the same time, we want to make sure we've got the best guys here who gives us the best chance to win tonight."

Holt has the ability to be the backup shortstop, in the case of an in-game emergency with Drew. With that being the case, one would think that the Red Sox organization would wait to pick the right spot with a Bogaerts call-up, for developmental purposes.

And right now, Bogaerts is still working on things.

"There's comfort [with Bogaerts at third], but there's also -- in talking with [Pawtucket manager Gary DiSarcina] -- there's still some things that he's working on defensively," said Farrell. "And whether that's at shortstop or whether that's at third base, there's still work that's being done. So if we were to say that he's the guy, we know that there's going to be further development needed at the big leagues, which is not uncommon."