The Boston Red Sox finished 24-36 last season and finished dead last in the American League East. It was a real problem following a tumultuous offseason that saw their manager in Alex Cora move on and Mookie Betts get traded.
But the past is the past and 2021 is a new season to stun everyone. The Red Sox brought in a number of new players to bolster their lineup and pitching staff, something they struggled with last year.
This is why their biggest asset this season will be versatility if they want to go far.
After a difficult 2020 season, the Boston Red Sox are blessed with versatility in 2021
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When you sign the likes of Kike Hernandez and Marwin Gonzalez, you should expect to have versatility at all times. But what Red Sox fans may forget is that Yairo Munoz, who really shined last year when he made it to the majors, can play a number of positions in the infield and outfield as well.
That gives the Red Sox something that almost no team can say they have which is the ability to play as many lineups as possible when having these players who can fill in it more than two positions on the field.
Hernandez has debatably been the best utility player in baseball the past few seasons, taking over for former Red Sox and massive fan-favorite Brock Holt in that role. It’s worth noting Hernandez came to Boston to play everyday, something he didn’t have the ability to do with the Los Angeles Dodgers and he should be the near everyday second baseman while giving them a fill-in for the outfield and someone to spell Xander Bogaerts on his day off. It’s a blessing to have a guy like this, but having two (possibly three) more on the team fills them up for possible greatness.
Next up is Gonzalez, who was the utility man for the Houston Astros for many seasons before making his way to the Minnesota Twins the last two seasons. He gives you all infield positions and even talent in the corner outfield spots. While he doesn’t destroy the ball by any means at the plate, he can hold up his end which makes him important as well. Gonzalez should play in at least 100 games this season even off the bench as what he can do is nearly unmatched.
Munoz wasn’t someone people probably had making the Red Sox roster to start this season, but his play in Spring Training has got people talking about him. He has mostly played outfield for the team, but in his past seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, his infield ability is no joke. It’s actually where he’s most comfortable spot and considering how he has played in the spring and where he can play, Munoz feels like he has to advantage over Michael Chavis for one of the few bench spots.
Boston Red Sox versatility extends to the minors
Finally, the only man not named on here is Danny Santana, who was recently signed by the team to a minor league contract. He missed the majority of the 2020 season as he had his UCL repaired. His last full season in 2019 saw him have a career year for the Texas Rangers, hitting .283 with 28 home runs. He’s another guy who can play every position besides pitcher and catcher. If he is truly healthy, Santana could be that addition that Chaim Bloom can receive serious credit for come to the end of the season.
The Red Sox should use their versatility as an advantage all season long and it could benefit them at the trade deadline as well. The versatility aspect could get them back some prospects if teams that are in the hunt are looking, which should be part of Bloom’s plan unless the Red Sox are in the race themselves.
Having a lot of guys being able to play multiple positions is a great thing for the team this season and could be what gets them to a surprising finish at season’s end.