The logic is obvious, almost compelling.

The Red Sox have no plans to put Mookie Betts at shortstop or third base. (Getty Images)

The Red Sox have no plans to put Mookie Betts at shortstop or third base. (Getty Images)

The logic is obvious, almost compelling. At a time when Will Middlebrooks has struggled at third base and the Red Sox don’t appear to have an internal answer at that position to open 2015, why not see if Mookie Betts can play there? It’s a matter that the Red Sox seemingly have no intention of exploring.

Betts is playing second right now because Dustin Pedroia is out for the rest of the season and Brock Holt has been sidelined by a concussion. But when Pedroia is healthy, the Sox envision Betts patrolling the outfield.

“We moved Mookie to second base when Dustin went down for the year. We moved Mookie to center field initially because of Dustin’€™s presence. With Dustin coming back, we see Mookie as an outfielder — not on the left side of the infield,” said Farrell.

Betts actually began his pro career as a shortstop in Lowell, but after a dozen games, he was moved to second (partly because of throwing struggles that yielded six errors in that time, partly because the team drafted Deven Marrero). At this point, the team wants to build on the areas where Betts has focused his professional development rather than introducing a new element to his career that might slow his career progression.

“He was moved off the left side of the infield early in his minor league career because of some changes with accuracy to throws and that type of thing,” said Farrell. “To go back to an area that has already been played, we’€™re trying maximize the current ability and plug him in to a team that can contend and compete as soon as possible.” 

Farrell said that while Betts has been “learning on the fly” in the outfield, he’s shown “real tangible” defensive improvement in each of his three big league stints. He also noted that, even as he’s demonstrated a consistently solid plate approach, Betts has enjoyed improved offensive numbers in each of his three big league stretches, demonstrating an ability to be a top-of-the-order solution going forward.

“I think there might be a couple of games in which he’€™s not reached base, but many games it’€™s been a couple of times a game. he gives you some power threat in the leadoff spot for a young guy. There’€™s base stealing capability. The on base is .370, .380 at this point,” said Farrell. “He profiles to the position, to the spot in the order.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

ESPN’s Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss Derek Jeter‘s farewell tour and possible Red Sox<

ESPN’s Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss Derek Jeter‘s farewell tour and possible Red Sox<

Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’s Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss Derek Jeter‘s farewell tour and possible Red Sox offseason targets. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Asked about the future of promising rookie Mookie Betts, who has played center field and second base in the majors this season, Olney suggested that Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval might be a good fit for the Red Sox, and the acquisition of a player like him would affect where Betts would end up.

“I saw the Giants the last couple of nights, and there’s a lot of anticipation within that organization that someone’s going to make a run at Pablo Sandoval. That team could turn out to be the Red Sox,” Olney said. “He would fit them in a lot of regards. When I talked to some people with the Giants about that, they were nodding their heads and said, ‘You know what? He’d be a really good fit.’ Because he could play third base, and he had a good year defensively. He’s regressed toward the end of the year. You guys now, he’s had conditioning issues, he’s put on some weight during the year. But he squares up a baseball. And if you sign him to a four- or five-year deal and the first couple of years he’s playing third base, and when David Ortiz moves on he could slide into DH. He’d be a nice fit.

“And if you had Sandoval then that obviously changes the equation with Betts. So we’ll just have to wait and see what other moves they make. I think the bottom line is wherever you put Mookie Betts, he’s going to be a good player. The number that really jumps out at me is pitches per plate appearance. It’s almost 4.5. Which means even as a guy in his first days in the big leagues, he’s demonstrating that ability to work the count, to get on base, to be an on-base percentage guy. And I do think we have to remember that after the postseason last year we all thought Xander Bogaerts would come in this year and be a major star, and he’s had some growing pains. And that may be what happens with Betts. But when you talk with people on other teams, they think he’s a legitimate, high-end player who is going to be with them for a long time.”

Another option at third base could be Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez, who might be available via a trade after having some defensive issues this season before being diagnosed with a season-ending stress reaction in his left foot.

“He is a guy who this year really struggled with his confidence at third,” Olney said. “It seems like he’s got what’s referred to as ‘the thing’ in terms of throwing. And I don’t think if you were the Red Sox you would acquire him with confidence that he could play third base. Now, he is a big-time power hitter. … But I do wonder, when you’re talking about someone who is dealing with a confidence issue in terms of throwing, is Boston the best place for him? That would be one of the questions that I would ask.”

Derek Jeter will head to Boston on Friday for the final three games of his illustrious career. Olney said there is a contingent of people that views his final season as a disappointment.

“Most of the Yankees fans are happy with it, because they’ve gotten what they’ve wanted — they got to see Jeter out on the field,” Olney said. “He got to go out in a way that at least he wanted to compared to what happened last year when he was injured all year. He’s played all year. He’s going to wind up finishing the season with more plate appearances than any other Yankee, which is remarkable for a player who turned 40 earlier this year.

“I do think there’s a small group of fans, and I know that there are a number of people around baseball with other teams, scouts, who have been shaking their head all year. And I wrote about this on Sunday, just as we talked about last week. I personally think Joe Girardi‘s done a disservice to the Yankees in how he’s used Derek Jeter this year. It’s not an insult to say he’s regressed. He quite literally, when you look at him statistically, he’s one of the worst players in baseball this year. Only three players have a lower OPS than Derek does. He’s long been regarded as one of the worst defensive shortstops in baseball, and yet day after day after day they kept him in a role of tremendous prominence, No. 2 hitter in their lineup, playing shortstop.

“They’re going to wind up missing the playoffs by a couple of games. And it’s not out of the realm of possibility that different decisions couple have made a difference  with this team. There’s no way to really know for sure. But I think Joe said early in the year that he was not paid to run a farewell tour. In the end, that’s exactly what he did. And I think that the team overall for the sake of trying to win was hurt by it.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at

On potential rule changes to speed up the game: “I think it’s inevitable that we’re going to see rule changes that are going to be significant. Because people within baseball view this as a big problem. At a time when it seems like society is speeding up, attention spans are getting lower, baseball’s dragging out. And it was great to see that they put together this committee early this week, although I was absolutely shocked at the composition of this committee. … I was stunned by the names they had on there. It was sort of like they brought out the old guard. And I say this with all due respect to the individuals who are on the committee — Tom Werner, Joe Torre, etc. — how about a player? How about a current manager? How about a general manager? How about an umpire. You’re telling me it’s a bad thing if you were to put a Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright on the committee to have a conversation about how to speed up the game. How they put this committee together makes no sense to me. I hope they make an adjustment in weeks to come.”

On Dustin Pedroia: “It’s hard to know exactly what he’s going to be going forward. And I told you guys during the course of the summer that when you talk to people with other teams, they have serious questions about whether or not Dustin’s going to be someone who’s going to hit for power again, because he plays so hard. And because he plays so hard, he gets dinged up. As he get older he gets hurt often, does this mean that he’s never going to be the type of power hitter that we saw when he won the MVP? I think that’s a legitimate question. But look, at the current rate they have him at, and given how good he is defensively, and the intangibles, I think we’re a long way from saying this is not a contract that’s going to work out the way that we can about the last two years of CC Sabathia‘s deal with the Yankees or the end of [Mark] Teixeira, the end of Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, etc. I don’t think his salary is going to be so outrageous that you’re not going to get value out of him because the defense is so good.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Buster Olney spoke with Tim and Christian today regarding Derek Jeter's final three games, which will be at Fenway Park. Buster outlines how bad Jeter has played this year offensively and defensively. He also talks about what to expect from the Red Sox off-season, including a power-hitting from the West Coast, and what can be expected from Mookie Betts.

[0:00:10] ... Wednesday here in the Shell. Like. Oh let's start off with -- Derek Jeter come to town but is it fair for me assuming he'll be here fort over the weekend. Now I will not I got were due to Jeter's special role. Sports and special Friday night but with the playoff so a lot of stuff lingering in the fact that we got the National League. All of wild card team on Tuesday. And I'm trying to you lose weight if you were -- to go on Monday. So what do you think is gonna happen right in the Derek Jeter plays last game Fenway Park but he's got a lot of gifts in the past and he did did the Red Sox. ...
[0:09:12] ... He'd tell me it's a bad thing if you reporter Clayton Kershaw Adam Wainwright on the committee. They have a conversation about how to speed up the game how they did get to put its committee ...
[0:09:46] ... brought -- and -- of course all this hinges on the fact Dustin Pedroia is here. For a long time he's got a no trade now and then it becomes a 105 player when the new ...
[0:10:58] ... the Yankees have yet to Teixeira. All you know the end of Albert Pujols kill a lot so it's our our unity. I don't think it's salaries going to be so outraged that you not immediate ...

Right-hander Burke Badenhop has a career-best 2.33 ERA. (Getty Images)Pop quiz: Of the pitchers who were on the Red Sox' Opening Day roster, who leads the team in ERA? 

Anthony Ranaudo

Anthony Ranaudo

The Red Sox will play the middle game of their series with the Rays on Wednesday night when Anthony Ranaudo pitches against Jake Odorizzi.

Despite a quality start against the Pirates last Tuesday, Ranaudo (3-3, 5.29 ERA) was charged with the loss after allowing three runs over 5 2/3 innings at PNC Park. The home run ball did Ranaudo in, as he allowed a two-run homer to Russell Martin in the second inning and then a solo blast to outfielder Starling Marte in the sixth. The latter home run ended Ranaudo’€™s night.

Ranaudo has served up 10 homers this year, accounting for 14 of the 19 runs he’€™s allowed through his first six major league starts. The right-hander said after his latest outing that he needs to change is his pitch selection more.

“I think it’s continuously mixing my pitches better and understanding the strike zone and just being more consistent with my pitches and understanding what some of these hitters’ approaches are and things like that,” Ranaudo said. “I think that’s all going to come with experience, and obviously I’d like to be making the adjustments a little quicker, but it’s something that’s part of the learning process that I just have to do a better job of.”

Of his first six appearances with Boston, one of the best came on Aug. 29 against the Rays at Tropicana Field. In six innings of work, Ranaudo struck out four and allowed three runs in the win. Brandon Guyer did the most significant damage with a two-run home run in the fifth inning. Other than that, Ranaudo pitched well, which earned him praise from manager John Farrell.

“I thought tonight, of the three starts he’s made for us, this was probably the best overall mix of three pitches that he had — particularly a little bit more use of his changeup tonight,” Farrell said of Ranaudo. “A solid night all the way around.”

Jake Odorizzi

Jake Odorizzi

Odorizzi (11-12, 3.98 ERA) has shined this season as one of Tampa Bay’€™s strong young pitchers. He threw six innings of one-run ball against the Yankees last Tuesday to earn his 11th victory of the season. This came one start after the Yankees hit him hard and scored six runs against him in 4 1/3 frames in the Bronx on Sept. 9.

Against the Red Sox on Aug. 30, Odorizzi baffled the Boston hitters for seven innings. He allowed one hit, a Will Middlebrooks single, and no runs. The rest of the Tampa Bay bullpen recorded the final six outs without giving up a hit to shut out a struggling Red Sox offense.

Odorizzi is 2-1 through three starts this season against Boston. Back in May, he made back-to-back starts, winning the first one, but losing the second. In the loss at Fenway Park, the right-hander lasted just 3 1/3 innings and allowed five runs before exiting. Brock Holt led the way with a home run and 2 RBIs in the game, while Xander Bogaerts also hit a double.

Rays vs. Ranaudo (RHP)

Yunel Escobar (3 career plate appearances): .333 average/.333 OBP/.333 SLG

Brandon Guyer (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Ryan Hanigan (3): .000/.667/.000, 2 walks

Matt Joyce (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

James Loney (3): .333/.333/.333

Evan Longoria (3): .000/.000/.000

Wil Myers (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Ben Zobrist (3): .000/.000/.000

Kevin Kiermaier is 1-for-2 with an RBI against Ranaudo.

Red Sox vs. Odorizzi (RHP)

David Ortiz (10): .100/.100/.100, 2 strikeouts

Allen Craig (9): .000/.222/.000, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (8): .167/.375/.333, 1 double, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Brock Holt (8): .143/.125/.571, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 3 strikeouts

Daniel Nava (8): .143/.250/.571, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Yoenis Cespedes (6): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Jackie Bradley (4): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

Mookie Betts (3): .000/.333/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Will Middlebrooks is 1-for-2 against Odorizzi, while David Ross is 0-for-2 against him.

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

Yoenis Cespedes has struggled in left field at Fenway Park. (Getty Images)It was a bad night for Yoenis Cespedes. 

Thanks to their midseason remake, the Red Sox have a glut of outfielders. But how they align them in 2015 remains anyone’s guess.