Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bob Lobel: What Drew's Return Means to the Red Sox

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

The roller coaster Red Sox are a better team with Stephen Drew at shortstop. 

Spare me the stunted growth argument about Xander at third base. This isn’t an instructional league where players learn to play positions. Reminding one and all, this is a win or else league, and the best people at the best places are key to making that happen. 

Here’s what I noticed and why: Xander started raking the ball the day he found out that Drew was coming back. So what does that actually mean? Is there a connection?

You bet there is, and this isn’t just a cockamamie idea.  Drew’s impeding and subsequent return took any and all expectation and pressure to perform at short away from Bogaerts. He will be a force with the bat at third. 

Just watch and tell me if I’m wrong, stupid or both. Besides, most people I have listened to on dumbed-down sport talk think that this Drew return is about Xander and Drew. Not so at all. 

The missing piece of the equation is Middlebrooks. This is about him and his inability until now to lock up a third base position when it was gifted to him. He may never play here again. 

Would that surprise you? 

It shouldn’t either way.   

Stability is the most sought after commodity for the Carmine house at the moment. How about Rubby? How about Lackey and Lester and that other starting pitching?  It’s kind of “in” to suggest a team that was a champion the year before comes back with a “hangover” of sorts. They kinda stumble through the beginning of the next season with little focus and lots of frustration because they are losing more than they should due to having a “hangover.” 

But lets face it, after last year and all that went into it, who would think it could be anything different? Are we (they) just supposed to erase the emotion of the whole 2013 experience?  No way. So now, all we can reasonably hope for is stabilization. 

Guess what, Xander at third, Drew at short and Holt anywhere he wants to play is that stability. 

The only remaining questions are where will Middlebrooks be after the trade deadline, and can Brock Holt become a catcher. 

Fasten your belts, summer has just arrived.

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