Red Sox: The time is now for Jeter Downs and Jarren Duran

SARASOTA, FLORIDA - MARCH 04: Jarren Duran #93 of the Boston Red Sox hits a home run off of Dean Kremer of the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning during a spring training game on March 04, 2021 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
SARASOTA, FLORIDA - MARCH 04: Jarren Duran #93 of the Boston Red Sox hits a home run off of Dean Kremer of the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning during a spring training game on March 04, 2021 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox are in a “buying low” and “sustainability” mode now.

So, why not take a bold step into the future and rollout two rookies on opening day, Jeter Downs and Jarren Duran as starters. It helps to further explain why the Red Sox have absolutely nothing to lose by so doing and just might jump-start a pitiful offseason and inject a bit of excitement into this boring team.

The way the added pitching is beginning to look, there is little chance of a winning team this season for Boston. Hopefully, this proves completely wrong and this author will serve up a huge plate of crow for himself.

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But winning usually depends on talent and it just doesn’t look like there is enough reliable pitching talent on this current Boston team to make that happen, even if their best hitters perform as they might.

So that’s why there is little to lose by going all-in on rookies, at least it’s a reasonable approach to what is clearly a new dynamic of the Red Sox to close their pocketbooks and not spend big on top free agents.

And in any event, a truly “sustainable” team has to rely on its young home-grown (or traded for)  talent to plug the holes that aren’t filled in free agency by this formerly big market team.

But since the Boston Red Sox have made it clear that they have self-classified their club as not a big market team at present, then starting rookies should be a definite component of that strategy, if you can call it a strategy. It’s really a cop-out.

As a newly crowned soft spending club, the Boston Red Sox should then have no qualms about rolling the dice, taking a chance, and playing the young talent now. Right now.

Before the cynics come calling about the possibility that throwing young players without the proper seasoning into the first could ruin them and their entire careers, let’s answer that criticism with a simple rejoinder, it’s balderdash. Those with the talent (the two suggested seem to have that indeed) the mentality, toughness, call it what you might, will succeed, They’ll grind through any adversity and ultimately prevail.

Why Boston Red Sox should start Jeter Downs and Jarran Duran now

So what if it takes a trip out to Worcester. If so, so be it. But why not see what Jeter Downs and Jarren Duran are made of right now? It’s not as though this club is risking much of anything anyway.

Maybe just maybe, as Dustin Pedroia did about 14 years or so ago (although Pedroia had a cameo the prior season), they’ll play, maybe have a rough spot or two, and then thrive that same season. It’s worth whatever you call it, a risk, whatever.

Pedroia had the grit to make it work and went on to be maybe the best Red Sox second basemen ever. Give these two young players that same opportunity now and see what eventuates.

And one of these rookies plays that same position. It’s Jeter Downs.

Downs, of course, came over from the Dodgers in their fleecing … er, rather trade with Boston for one of the best players in baseball, Mookie Betts. There’s some pressure with that of course but Alex Verdugo jumped right into Boston’s starting lineup last season and excelled. Why can’t Downs?

Yes, he did make two errors in a game earlier this week playing shortstop, who cares? He should be placed right at second base as the opening day starter and along with Xander Bogaerts provide a very nice double-play combination indeed. Downs projects professionalism and poise. Error or no errors, he just looks like a professional right now.

And what sweet irony if a player named after Red Sox nemesis, all-around great player and classy guy, and Hall-of-Famer, former Yankee Derek Jeter, excels for the hated Red Sox. As Jackie Gleason (a comedian younger folks won’t know) used to say, “How sweet it is!” rates Downs as the Red Sox 2nd best prospect. That’s high enough to warrant a starting shot right now for the 22-year-old. What’s to lose?

The second young player,  Duran is one who’s been rising up the minor league charts for Boston and is rated as their fourth-best prospect. He’s 24 years old, not a younger kid, but he has that look of a Jacoby Ellsbury about him.

He should be slotted into center or right field, whichever the top man, Alex Cora thinks makes the most sense. Cora is the best part of this whole Boston operation from top to bottom. He’ll sort it out and two of his outfield positions will be solidified with Verdugo and Duran. Just let the young man play. He can hit and hit with some power and he has the speed and athleticism Boston needs.

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It’s time for the Boston Red Sox to be bold and be daring. If they’re not going to do that in free agency then by-all-means they should do it with its top young players. Just go for it. There’s everything to gain and little to lose.