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Inbox: How will Sox keep Chavis in lineup?

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers questions from fans
May 13, 2019

Any chance Michael Chavis will be the new utility guy once Dustin Pedroia returns? He is too valuable to not be in that lineup as much as possible. -- @GHarkins1979 It could be reminiscent of Kevin Youkilis when he would bounce between first and third base in the early stages

Any chance Michael Chavis will be the new utility guy once Dustin Pedroia returns? He is too valuable to not be in that lineup as much as possible.
-- @GHarkins1979

It could be reminiscent of Kevin Youkilis when he would bounce between first and third base in the early stages of his career. The fact that Michael Chavis can also play second only helps his cause. The team even left open the possibility he could eventually play some outfield once the roster is back to full strength. But I think it’s too early to assume Dustin Pedroia’s health. He has played nine games in the last two seasons, and there are simply no guarantees with his left knee. One thing is for sure: I don’t anticipate Chavis going back to the Minors.

Will the Sox continue with Chavis at second, or will they look to move him somewhere else in the future?
-- @LoganPalmer_

Second base is a great spot for Chavis right now, given the uncertainty of Pedroia. But I still look at Chavis as a corner infielder down the road. Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce are both free agents at the end of this season, so first could be an option as early as 2020.

What will happen to Eduardo Nunez once Pedroia and Brock Holt come back?
-- @smurfmanc

The more I’ve been around baseball, the more you see how these things work themselves out. Maybe someone else gets a nagging injury before those two guys come back. But Nunez does need to start performing or he could be the one who goes. A .454 OPS doesn’t cut it for a player known mostly for his offense.

Are Pearce's struggles injury related?
-- @mwk89

I don’t believe so. When I watch Pearce hit right now, I see someone who looks completely out of sync from a mechanical standpoint. Pearce, much like Nunez, needs to find his groove soon. As mentioned earlier, there could be tough roster decisions to make at some point.

Is there any concern with Rafael Devers and his home run total?
-- @seanfox11

If the season ended today, Devers would be the American League batting champion with a .336 average. He also has 12 doubles and an .865 OPS. Of late, Devers has been scalding the ball, even if it isn’t going over the wall. If there is a concern with Devers, it is his defense, which remains unpredictable. I wouldn’t worry about his bat.

Are the Red Sox still in discussion with Craig Kimbrel or are they going to ride with what they have until the Trade Deadline?
-- @MadKingTylor

I don’t think anything has changed regarding the team’s stance with Kimbrel. At this point, I think Kimbrel will see what kind of offer he can get after June 3 -- at which time the other 29 teams will no longer have to send a compensatory Draft pick to the Red Sox if they sign him. Though Boston’s bullpen doesn’t have big names, Matt Barnes has emerged into a stud. The bullpen has been fine for the most part.

Why hasn’t anybody noticed that the flip at the top of the lineup isn’t working, especially for Andrew Benintendi?
-- @JKevin6

I think it’s too early to say that it’s not working. First of all, Mookie Betts, after a really rough first couple of weeks to the season, now has a .906 OPS. Though Benintendi has been hot and cold, he still has an .811 OPS. Also, the Red Sox are fourth in the Majors in runs despite one prolonged rut they had offensively. I think it’s too quick to make an evaluation on whether Benintendi leading off and Betts batting second is the best fit for the team.

Any Trade Deadline predictions for the Sox?
-- @TheRealDon93

I’m guessing they will go out and get a closer. Barnes is almost too valuable in the seventh and eighth innings to pigeon-hole him to the ninth. Ryan Brasier hasn’t been as effective as he was last year. Going into the pennant race, the Red Sox could want someone who has a track record of coming through in the ninth inning.

Is JBJ on the 2020 Red Sox?
-- @SeanRCurtis1

One thing we’ve learned by now is not to judge Jackie Bradley Jr. when he is at his very worst at the plate. How many times has he come out of one of those cold spells and gotten red hot? Quite a few is the answer. Though Bradley's defensive metrics are down for the early portion of the season, it is just a small sample size. And the catch he made last week in Baltimore to prevent a walk-off homer was jaw-dropping. The Red Sox have Bradley under their control through 2020, so unless they got a really appealing trade offer between now and then, I’m guessing they will hold on to him until he hits free agency.

Haven’t heard much about Marco Hernandez lately. How is his recovery coming and might we see him this year back in the big leagues?
-- @SamDrusch

It has been a long road back for Hernandez, who missed almost two full seasons with right shoulder issues. He is currently playing for Class A Salem and doing fine there. As for the big leagues, the Red Sox already have a logjam in the middle infield. I could see Hernandez as a September callup. If he comes up before that, it would likely be due to injuries to other players.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.