Some are wondering why the Red Sox have four catchers and are in no rush to get rid of them.
But if those Red Sox fans are also Patriots fans, they may be seeing a pattern — and it has something to do with why Bill Belichick brought a half-dozen tight ends into camp this year.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington says the club is looking for more flexibility among its positions, with the team opting to sign players who are versatile, and to shorter deals. He credits part of that to the Patriots.
“I think we’ve learned a lesson from the lack of protection in different areas and depth in different areas,” Cherington said, according to CSNNE’s Sean McAdam. “I guess it’s a little bit of a page out of the Patriots’ book, having guys who can cover different things. It’s important. Seems to me that the teams who get the six-month season and can afford the real droughts tend to be the ones that have a bunch of guys who can cover different spots. Inevitably, you’re going to have guys out. That has been something we’ve talked about a lot.”
The Red Sox had some big problems last season with a lack of depth, especially as injuries ravaged the team. The team relied on call-ups to fill holes in the outfield and had several pitchers trading off for starts on the back end of the rotation.
By signing players like new catcher Mike Napoli, however, the Red Sox are adding flexibility. Napoli is tabbed as the starting first baseman, but he’s been primarily a catcher for much of his career, meaning he can support Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway and David Ross behind the plate if needed.
In the same way, Shane Victorino will be a flexible option in right field due to his ability to also play center.
Completely Belichickian? Not yet. But if pitchers start coming in as pinch runners, a la the Mike Vrabel-as-a-tight-end routine, then we’ll know Cherington and BB are sharing trade secrets.