Utility Man Bill Hall Likely to Wear Many Hats With Red Sox


Utility Man Bill Hall Likely to Wear Many Hats With Red Sox "Bingo! Bingo! I've got bingo!"

Troy Brown
's famous line from his 2001 United Way commercial rings true with the Red Sox following the team's acquisition of Bill Hall from the Mariners last month.

Brown played offense, defense and special teams in his 15 seasons with the Patriots. His flexibility contributed to each of the team's Super Bowl championships.  

In a sense, Hall gives the Red Sox their Troy Brown for the 2010 season — a selfless player who does whatever he can to help his team win.

Hall may never win a Gold Glove but he offers the Red Sox a versatile utility player who, in his eight major league seasons, has played every position except catcher, first base and pitcher.

As an infielder/outfielder, Hall gives the Red Sox options. If the team wants to give Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro or Dustin Pedroia a day off, Hall's their man. The 30-year-old has played nearly 80 percent of his major league games at third base, shortstop and second base.

Hall plays the outfield, too, where he has amassed more than 1,000 innings of experience in his major league career. His experience in left, right and center provides Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron and J.D. Drew the opportunity to rest when necessary.

The veteran utility man may impact three other positions as well: catcher, designated hitter and first base. If Terry Francona wants to give both Beltre and Kevin Youkilis the same day off, the team can use Victor Martinez at first base, Jason Varitek behind the plate and Hall at third base. In addition, Francona can also mix and match his lineup to use Martinez at designated hitter and Hall at another position if he so chooses.

Hall even has something in common with the Geico gecko: Both provide reliable insurance.

Last season, 19 Red Sox players spent time on the disabled list. Hall has played in at least 126 games in five of the last six seasons and has earned experience as both a full-time and part-time player. The infielder-outfielder has started more than 700 games as a major leaguer, but he served in a part-time role with the Brewers and Mariners last season.

Hall's role on the 2010 Red Sox may remind you of someone who played with last year's team. Remember Nick Green? It wasn't easy being Green last season, as he hit .236 in 103 games.

Neither Hall nor Green will ever be mistaken for Ozzie Smith, Brooks Robinson or Roberto Clemente on the defensive side. However, Hall should prove to be an upgrade both offensively and defensively for the Red Sox.

Offensively, Hall boasts a .251 career batting average, 12 points higher than Green's career .239 mark. In addition, Hall has crushed 104 home runs in eight major league seasons; Green has hit just 16 homers in five seasons.

Defensively, Hall is an upgrade as well. Hall committed five errors in 110 combined games with the Mariners and Brewers in 2009, while Green committed 17 errors in 103 appearances.

Hall seems to have just what the Red Sox coveted: solid defensive skills, experience as a full-time and part-time player and tremendous versatility. Is there anything Hall can't do?

Well, there is one thing.

Hall's resume lacks pitching experience. Last season, Green — as well as Dusty Brown and Jonathan Van Every — showed that position players can occasionally get it done on the mound when necessary. However, given the Red Sox' starting rotation depth, fans probably won't see Hall make his major league pitching debut this season.

Less than three weeks from the start of spring training, the Red Sox face many questions. How will the rotation situation shake out? Does Mike Lowell have a place on the team? Will David Ortiz recover from an up-and-down 2009 season?

Thankfully, the team no longer has to worry about acquiring a flexible utility man. Hall provides Francona plenty of lineup options this season, much like Brown did for Bill Belichick during his Patriots career.

In Hall, the Red Sox got their bingo.


NESN.com will answer one Red Sox question every day through Feb. 23.

Monday, Feb. 1: Is Junichi Tazawa ready to make the Opening Day roster?

Wednesday, Feb. 3: Would a swingman role be easier on Tim Wakefield's body?

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