To say this has been an interesting offseason for the Boston Red Sox would be an understatement. Boston fired Alex Cora. They got a new general manager in Chaim Bloom. Then, they trade away two of their top players in Mookie Betts and David Price. Talk about a seismic shift for a team that won the World Series two short years ago.
Nevertheless, Chaim Bloom and the front office have been adamant about their plan for the 2020 Sox to be highly competitive. But for that to come to fruition, there are several players that will need to step up.
Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Sale, and the rest of the rotation definitely need to be better…and healthier. But the guy that Boston really needs to take a leap is former top prospect Michael Chavis.
Chavis burst onto the scene last season after being called up in March, but his performance steadily declined as the season went on. That is mostly due to major league pitchers adapting to the hard swinging rookie, but Chavis failed to adapt himself (please lay off the high cheese). That is easier said than done. With a full offseason and the experience of 95 major league games, Chavis should be ready to come into 2020 with a bang. That’s something the Sox will need.
With Betts now in Los Angeles and recently acquired Alex Verdugo likely to begin the year on the injured list, Boston’s lineup is going to lack some of the thump they had last year. That’s a given with Betts gone and Verdugo hurt. That means they are going to need a younger player that isn’t Rafael Devers or Xander Bogaerts to step up. That could be Andrew Benintendi after struggling in 2019, but his power doesn’t come close to that of Chavis.
Benny is going to have to do a good job setting the tone at the top of the lineup, but Chavis’s ability to hit for extra bases gives him the chance to become a legitimate threat in the lineup to go next to J.D. Martinez and the aforementioned Devers and Bogaerts.
Chavis also becomes ever more important because of his versatility. With second base being a complete mystery and first base already experiencing issues, their should be a hope that Chavis is able to fill one of those spots all year long. If they continue to move him around between the two spots, that would be fine. But the biggest key is that Boston has a threat on the right side of their infield.
Yes, Boston’s lineup will be fine regardless of what Chavis does this season. But with Boston’s pitching staff being suspect, they need offense to pick up some slack at points during 2020. I am not trying to let the rotation off the hook. But if Boston wants to compete like they have said, they are going to need everyone firing on all cylinders. Chavis has to be a big part of that.
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-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)