Christian Arroyo missed significant time during the 2021 season, appearing in just 57 games in his first full season with the Boston Red Sox. That was still a career high for the utilityman, though, as Arroyo appeared at five different positions as well as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner.
Arroyo missed time with a myriad of injuries: a hand injury, a bone bruise, a hamstring injury and a positive COVID-19 test caused him to miss a total of 84 games solely due to recovery. When he was healthy in the final stretch, the Red Sox were pushing to make the postseason and had veteran José Iglesias holding it down at second base.
But because Iglesias was ineligible for the postseason, Arroyo got another opportunity — and ran with it — in the postseason. Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom took notice of his efforts in speaking to reporters in an end-of-season press conference Monday.
“Given a lot of the pauses due to injury or COVID, I think it was pretty impressive how quickly he was able to jump back in, and especially given that down the stretch we couldn’t give him the runway that we would in a perfect world … and he had really quality at-bats in the postseason, and that says a lot about him,” Bloom said.
Provided Arroyo heads into 2022 healthy, a question remains for Bloom and manager Alex Cora: what do you do with a player that has gotten most of his reps at second base over the past two seasons, but has only played in 142 games over five seasons in the league?
Bloom didn’t sound too sure, brushing off a question related to Arroyo serving as the team’s second baseman going forward.
“Ability-wise, is he capable of (being an everyday second baseman)? Absolutely,” Bloom said. “Regardless, I don’t think that means we sit on our hands and say ‘Well, we’re good.’ I think we should always be looking to give Alex (Cora) as many quality options as possible. You see in some really unexpected ways, especially when we had our outbreak, how much our depth was tested. The more everyday, quality players we can have, the better we’re going to be able to withstand those 162.
“…We need to keep adding talent and ideally we want to put Alex (Cora) in a position where every day, no matter what’s happening, he can fill out that card and feel good about what’s going out there.”
Kiké Hernández spent a good chunk of the summer at second base, but returned to center field for most of September, where was a reliable option to fill out the group on the grass especially after Kyle Schwarber moved in to first base.
The Red Sox don’t have much else going at the position. Jonathan Araúz is another option, but he wasn’t reliable offensively through his 28 games in Boston in 2021. There are some intriguing second basemen about to hit the open market.
For now, though, it seems Arroyo’s role is up in the air.