The flip-flopping between Kevin Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks at third base has also taken some creativity from Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. As it all unfolds, we'll sort through this week's mailbag.
Why trade Youk? Gonzo does less and will get a better return. Youkilis is out of place at third and does an extra job [at first base]. Gonzo is not even good at first.
– Alfred Brunell, Murells Intlet, S.C.
While I appreciate your question, my man, you have to realize that trading players isn't like changing clothes. There are a few things that are just off-base with this question, starting with the premise.
Adrian Gonzalez just signed a seven-year, $154 million deal in 2011, which is a hefty sum that most teams can't necessarily pay. He's also three years younger than Kevin Youkilis — who is 33 — and has more long-term upside.
I'm not sure where you got the idea that Gonzalez wasn't good at first base. He's collected three Gold Gloves playing that position and is regarded as one of the top defensive players at first.
Youkilis has showed his versatility moving over to first base, but Gonzalez has also been useful at different positions. He's played 13 games in right field due to the team's injuries and has made a mostly seamless transition.
And Gonzalez hasn't done less, hitting five homers and 32 RBIs compared to Youkilis' four long balls and 13 RBIs. Yes, Gonzalez is posting numbers way below his average, but it's too premature to abandon him.
Felix Doubront has no doubt been the Sox' best starting pitcher this season. Do you think there is any way he will make the All-Star team?
– Alex, Nashua, N.H.
I highly doubt it. Although Felix Doubront has surprised many by striking out 72 batters and posting a 6-3 record through 12 starts, his 4.34 ERA would probably hurt his chances of getting a nod.
Plus, there's a laundry list of American League starting pitchers who have posted better overall numbers, such as Detroit's Justin Verlander, Chicago's Chris Sale, Tampa Bay's David Price, Texas' Matt Harrison, New York's CC Sabathia, Toronto's Brandon Morrow, etc.
That certainly isn't to take anything away from Doubron't contributions. If he sustains his success, he'll eventually get recognition one way or the other.
If they could turn back time, would the Sox undo the [Andrew] Bailey trade given [Josh] Reddick's success?
– @JohnSchwingle, via Twitter
This is an intriguing question. Given the fact that Andrew Bailey, who suffered a thumb injury in spring training, hasn't thrown a single pitch this season, I still don't think the Red Sox would want a mulligan. At least, not yet.
When Bailey returns, he could be an exceptional closer, for all we know. It's tough to judge a trade when there's a player who hasn't played a single game. If Bailey takes the mound on his return and implodes, then it's obviously worth revisiting.
Plus, let's look at the outfield situation. At one point, the entire starting outfield and the entire cast of backup outfielders were all sidelined on the disabled list. No one could have ever predicted that for the Red Sox.
Considering Boston's recent string of unfortunate luck with outfield injuries, Josh Reddick may have landed on the disabled list. Who knows? In the end, there are so many unpredictable factors that make it too early to assess the trade.
Why do the Red Sox keep Darnell McDonald on the team? Don't we have any right-handed outfielders in Portland or Pawtucket?
– Jim L, Spencer, Mass.
Valentine said his decision to designate Marlon Byrd for assignment over Darnell McDonald was mostly in part to McDonald's ability to hit left-handers pretty well. For his career, McDonald is batting .276 against southpaws.
Byrd was also a liability with his defense in Boston, misplaying a few balls in Fenway Park's tricky outfield. McDonald, meanwhile, has more of a track record with the Red Sox in recent years. That also offered some staying power.
As for your second question, the Red Sox already dipped their hand in Triple-A and scooped up a right-handed outfielder in Daniel Nava.
Photo via Facebook/Josh Reddick