Before the season, everyone questioned what Will Middlebrooks could bring to the table for the Red Sox during the 2014 season. Some questioned his defensive ability following the still-questionable obstruction nonsense from the World Series. Others questioned his offensive capacity and wondered whether he would ever get back to being the offensive force he was as a rookie in 2012. One thing is now clear regarding Will Middlebrooks: the Red Sox need him. Badly.
Even though he had only provided modest production at the season’s outset (.231/.333/.538 triple-slash in just four games this season), Middlebrooks has left a sizeable hole in the Red Sox lineup ever since he was placed on the Disabled List with a calf injury on April 6th. Ever since that time, the Red Sox have rolled out numerous players in an attempt to provide at least serviceable production at the hot corner. Unfortunately, the results have not been there, and the combination of Jonathan Herrera, Ryan Roberts, and now Brock Holt simply has not gotten the job done.
Herrera won the utility infielder job out of spring training, but he has been forced into more regular action so far due to injuries. The bulk of Herrera’s time in the major leagues has come in the middle infield, and while the Red Sox spent a decent amount of time trying to get him adjusted during the spring, Herrera seems uncomfortable at third base. He has already cost the Red Sox two runs at third in just ten games there this season (-2 Defensive Runs Saved, -2 Ultimate Zone Rating), which is obviously something that cannot continue for an extended stretch of time. Combined with his mediocre .222/.323./.222 triple-slash, it is pretty clear that Herrera is not capable of being a useful starting infielder.