How desperate are the Red Sox for a third baseman? Not desperate enough to try Pablo Sandoval there again, but catcher Christian Vazquez has twice been placed at third late in games, and overall, Boston third basemen have hit .228/.280/.320. The Sox were linked to a bunch of non-third basemen on the trade market — Asdrubal Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, utility man Eduardo Nuñez — and decided they didn't want to play around in that end of the pool. Instead, the Sox called up top prospect Rafael Devers in the hopes he can fill the gaping hole at the not-so-hot corner.
Devers is all of 20 years old and played in nine games at Triple-A. He crushed Double-A pitching, though, batting .300/.369/.575 with 18 homers in the cooler, pitcher-friendly Eastern League, where the average position player batted .259/.331/.399 and is 24 years old. He's always been advanced for his age, to the point where, in spite of his youth, he's ahead of where Yoan Moncada was when Boston called him up a year ago.
Maybe most importantly, Devers isn't meant to be some kind of savior for the Red Sox. The Sox are in first place in the AL East with the American League's second-best record despite having a smoking crater where their third baseman is supposed to be. Devers mostly needs to concern himself with just filling in that crater a little bit so if something that was going right in the first half starts to go wrong, Boston isn't stuck with two gaping holes. Devers might be 20, but there's a pretty good chance he's going to hit better than Red Sox third basemen have to this point, and he doesn't even need to actually be good yet for that to happen.
For those surprised the Red Sox would call Devers up even though his defense at third isn't where it needs to be yet: Remember that Dave Dombrowski was the Tigers GM who moved Miguel Cabrera's glove to third base to make room for Prince Fielder's glove at first base, and never once was the roster designed for J.D. Martinez to be the primary designated hitter. That's not to say Devers is going to go Miguel Cabrera on AL pitching or anything, but it's a reminder that making room for a bat in the lineup, glove be damned, is something Dombrowski has been willing to do in the past if he thinks that the overall outcome is a positive.
And hey, with the number of strikeouts the Red Sox generate, what Devers needs to hit to justify the promotion might not be as high as you'd think.
- There's basically no way the Marlins will trade Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees. Unless ... well, OK. Let's let Grant Brisbee do the whole Rumor Grade thing to this tasty morsel.
- Clayton Kershaw left Sunday's start with lower back tightness and is expected to land on the disabled list. About the only bright spot from this is that the Dodgers have a massive lead in the NL West and can weather a Kershaw injury.
- Kershaw wasn't the only major starter to be lifted from their game early, as Stephen Strasburg couldn't get loose and was lifted as a precaution after two innings.
- An MLB umpire told a 5-year-old fan to kick Dee Gordon.
- The Phillies and Rays might be looking to match up on a Pat Neshek trade.
- The Yankees' trade deadline strategy has been smart, as it's positioning the team well for both the present and the future.
- Playing the blame game in St. Louis isn't going to make the Cardinals any better.
- The new MLB collective bargaining agreement changed compensation for free agents, so it might not be a bad idea to read up with a week to go before the trade deadline.
- The Nationals' Gulf Coast League team threw back-to-back no-hitters in a double-header. The caveats are many, of course: Minor league games are seven innings for doubleheaders, and these were combined no-nos. The counterpoint to that, though, is: oh, wow.
- Rename that team to the Vander Meers imo
- Curt Schilling hates this article, so you know it's good.