BOSTON -- The revolving door at third base for the Boston Red Sox continued to twirl Wednesday with the insertion of Brock Holt into the starting lineup, as expected. However, there is no indication it will stop spinning anytime soon.
Holt was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket for the second time this year. For now, he will platoon at third base with Brandon Snyder while the splashier names at the position -- Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks -- continue to toil for the PawSox. Rumors linking Boston to Philadelphia third baseman Michael Young died down as the 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline came and went.
Manager John Farrell indicated that Holt’s return to the big club rests largely on his ability to back up shortstop Stephen Drew, a role that the departed Jose Iglesias could fill prior to the trade Tuesday night that sent Iglesias to Detroit and brought Chicago White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy to Boston.
Once the calendar turns, that scenario may chance once again. Farrell said the organization is “waiting for the dust to settle” before reassessing the third-base situation. When asked about Bogaerts as an option in the near future, Farrell said, “He’s in the discussion.” When asked how Middlebrooks factors into things, Farrell said, “He’s in the conversation.”
Obviously, it is a fluid situation.
For Bogaerts, two factors played into him remaining at Pawtucket. For one, there is a sense that he is not quite there defensively, playing a position that is new to him but without the extraordinary abilities that allowed Iglesias to slide easily from shortstop to third base when he made the transition earlier in the year. Also, sheer roster permutations are in play.
“The fact is, [Bogaert is] still a non-roster and we wanted to preserve a spot in the event that something else happened,” Farrell said, alluding to the fact that Bogaerts is not on the 40-man roster and that another pre-deadline move could’ve altered some decisions that required roster flexibility. “That doesn’t suggest that his move or his recall or purchase of his contract is imminent. But he’s done a good job and he’s played third of late trying to get some exposure there. We’re just trying to cover everything we can do in Pawtucket if in fact he’s the guy, which right now he is not, but that’s just normal preparation and the development.”
Another factor in the roster situation is that Snyder is out of options. Farrell indicated that at this point in the season depth at all positions, particularly one as up in the air as third base is for the Red Sox right now, is a top priority. Losing one of those depth pieces to the waiver wire is not appetizing.
As for Middlebrooks, who was ejected from Pawtucket’s game earlier Wednesday, the mission to rediscover his stroke continues.
“In his own right he’s working through things that he’s been very clear of and there’s been some increase in consistency while in Pawtucket,” Farrell said.
Middlebrooks entered Wednesday hitting .257 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs in 36 games with Pawtucket.