Mike Napoli’s Boston Red Sox tenure came to a close Friday, with the Sox trading him back to his former team, the Texas Rangers.
Not only did Napoli’s departure further decrease the number of 2013 World Series champions remaining in Boston — a total that now is down to eight — but it also created some uncertainty as to who will fill his void at first base for the rest of this season.
Lets’s take a look at a few of the candidates:
Shaw is the best bet to be Napoli’s immediate replacement. The 25-year-old has swung the bat well since his most recent major league call-up (7-for-9, two home runs, five runs scored in three games entering Friday) and currently is the only true first baseman on the Red Sox’s 25-man roster.
Expect Shaw to continue to see some time at third base, as well, especially if everyday starter Pablo Sandoval continues to struggle defensively.
Boston’s only All-Star this season is not a first baseman by trade, but he’s proven he can hold his own pretty much anywhere on the diamond. Holt currently mans second base on a nearly nightly basis for the Red Sox, but that will change once Dustin Pedroia returns from the disabled list. Giving the utility man playing time at first would be a way to keep his bat in the linuep.
Holt’s bat hasn’t looked nearly as formidable of late, though, as he carried an 0-for-14 slump into Friday.
Remember him? A former National League All-Star, Craig has been toiling in Triple-A since May after failing to make any sort of offensive impact in 24 games with the big league club (53 if you include last season, too). The 31-year-old hasn’t shown much power with the PawSox (eight doubles, three homers in 69 games) but has hit for a respectable .274 average and posted a .379 on-base percentage — the result of drawing 40 walks.
Now might be the time for the Red Sox to see if Craig has any chance of resurrecting Allen Craig circa 2013, or if those days are gone for good.
Pablo Sandoval/Hanley Ramirez
Neither Sandoval nor Ramirez has impressed in the field this season — at third base and in left field, respectively — but general manager Ben Cherington said Thursday he doesn’t expect either to change positions this season. So, while it’s still a possibility Sandoval or Ramirez gives first base a shot, it sounds like the team would prefer they remain where they are.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images