Inbox: Franchy's lineup fit? Return of Chavis?

April 26th, 2021

What in Franchy [Cordero’s] past justifies the patience as he struggles? -- @Aal1Al

Well, you kind of teed this one up for me. He doesn’t have much of a past. Though Cordero has over three years of Major League service time, his multiple injuries have left him with just 364 career plate appearances so far, spread over five seasons. He has a lot of raw power and athleticism. But you are right -- at some point that needs to turn into results.

Candidates to replace Franchy Cordero, and when could that happen? -- @LuisRosal

The one obvious candidate is Danny Santana. He is getting healthy in Fort Myers after dealing with a foot infection. Just two years ago, the switch-hitting Santana had 28 homers for the Rangers. He also has defensive versatility that rivals that of Kiké Hernández and Marwin Gonzalez, and you know how much Alex Cora loves having players he can move around. The two positions Santana has played the most in his career? Center field and shortstop. He could be a good fit in the coming weeks.

A lot of people are talking up a Franchy/Santana swap on the roster, but what about a Dalbec/[Michael] Chavis swap with the struggles Dalbec has had? -- @wesmh22

I think you make a fair point that the struggles of Cordero, and even Hunter Renfroe, have somewhat hidden the slump Dalbec is in at the plate. One thing Dalbec and Renfroe have both done is play plus defense. It has been impressive to watch Dalbec be the pick master at first, given that his natural position is third base. It does bear watching how swiftly Dalbec can start producing. He has shown flashes but hasn’t been able to generate consistent results this season. It’s hard to give up on him this soon, given what he displayed late last season and in Spring Training.

When do you think we will see Chavis back up? -- @XxBosox12xX

It’s hard to evaluate the progress Chavis is making, given there are currently no Minor League games. However, he is a nice insurance policy to have if the Red Sox suffer any injuries in the infield. He can play first, second and third.

How much longer do the Red Sox give Hunter Renfroe to start hitting before designating him for assignment? -- @TopRowe42

At some point, Renfroe will have to start producing, at least against left-handed pitchers, on whom he has feasted throughout his career. On the plus side, he has played tremendous defense in right field, so it’s not as if he’s not helping the team. I think Renfroe will be with the team the entire season, though his role could certainly get reduced if he doesn’t start hitting.

How many more starts does Garrett Richards get to prove he can help? I feel like 4/5 is a strong sample size. I am also a big Tanner Houck fan. -- @DanKelley66

Tuesday’s start against the Mets will be must-watch with Richards. He should also take the ball in the finale of the road trip on Sunday in Texas. The Red Sox need to see some progress out of him soon, for sure. There are a lot of moving parts in his delivery, and pitching coach Dave Bush has worked hard with him in recent days to correct mechanical flaws. As for Houck, I like him also, but I think we need to pump the brakes slightly on his hype train. He still has some development left and has never pitched at Triple-A. I think making some starts for Worcester would be ideal before he joins Boston for good.

Sale update? -- @SDucks8

Chris Sale went to Fort Myers, Fla., this week to start cranking it up in his rehab. His next milestone will be pitching off a mound for the first time. It sounds like this is reasonably close to happening. I wouldn’t expect Sale to pitch for the Red Sox much before Aug. 1. They are being conservative with his progression and they are mindful that he is under contract for three full seasons beyond this one.

Is there any talk about tinkering with the lineup? Potentially moving Kiké down and [Alex] Verdugo to the leadoff spot? Also, will we ever see [Christian] Arroyo in an everyday role? -- @emma_houghton9

This is going to be interesting. Cora was really invested in Kiké being the leadoff hitter and it worked out great in Spring Training, but not so much in the regular season. I think they could do something like this: Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, Christian Vázquez, Gonzalez, Hernández, Renfroe/Cordero, Dalbec. I think this will be a key road trip for Kiké to prove he can be productive as the leadoff hitter. As for Arroyo, for now, they like him in the role he is in. Things could always change, but he’s getting plenty of opportunities.

If you had to rank the biggest issues for this team, what would your top two be? I think I might go with defense and lack of hitting from bottom of lineup/OF. -- @thompsoncs9

My top issue is the starting rotation. You still don’t know what you are getting after Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi. Nick Pivetta has shown some encouraging signs, but he needs to be more consistent. Richards and Martín Pérez haven’t performed well so far. It’s not sustainable for them to contend if they don’t get reliable pitching throughout the rotation. Second concern would be, as you said, the lower portion of the order. Out of Cordero, Renfroe and Dalbec, they need some production.

Who will be sent down to make room for [Ryan] Brasier when he is ready? Are the Red Sox hoping Brasier could be an internal solution to the 8th-inning job? -- @tom_nym_

Cora feels really good about Adam Ottavino in the eighth inning. I know it hasn’t worked perfectly so far, but Ottavino is a veteran with a track record of success. I think Brasier would fit solidly into the seventh inning. As far as who would have to move off the roster in order to make room for Brasier, Josh Taylor is the obvious name that comes to mind at this point. That said, I don’t think Brasier is particularly close to returning.