The Red Sox have no plans to put Mookie Betts at shortstop or third base. (Getty Images)

John Farrell: Sox 'see [Mookie Betts] as an outfielder,' not at short or third

September 24, 2014 - 1:53 pm

The logic is obvious, almost compelling. At a time when Will Middlebrooks has struggled at third base and the Red Sox don't appear to have an internal answer at that position to open 2015, why not see if Mookie Betts can play there? It's a matter that the Red Sox seemingly have no intention of exploring. Betts is playing second right now because Dustin Pedroia is out for the rest of the season and Brock Holt has been sidelined by a concussion. But when Pedroia is healthy, the Sox envision Betts patrolling the outfield.

"We moved Mookie to second base when Dustin went down for the year. We moved Mookie to center field initially because of Dustin'€™s presence. With Dustin coming back, we see Mookie as an outfielder -- not on the left side of the infield," said Farrell.

Betts actually began his pro career as a shortstop in Lowell, but after a dozen games, he was moved to second (partly because of throwing struggles that yielded six errors in that time, partly because the team drafted Deven Marrero). At this point, the team wants to build on the areas where Betts has focused his professional development rather than introducing a new element to his career that might slow his career progression.

"He was moved off the left side of the infield early in his minor league career because of some changes with accuracy to throws and that type of thing," said Farrell. "To go back to an area that has already been played, we'€™re trying maximize the current ability and plug him in to a team that can contend and compete as soon as possible." 

Farrell said that while Betts has been "learning on the fly" in the outfield, he's shown "real tangible" defensive improvement in each of his three big league stints. He also noted that, even as he's demonstrated a consistently solid plate approach, Betts has enjoyed improved offensive numbers in each of his three big league stretches, demonstrating an ability to be a top-of-the-order solution going forward.

"I think there might be a couple of games in which he'€™s not reached base, but many games it'€™s been a couple of times a game. he gives you some power threat in the leadoff spot for a young guy. There'€™s base stealing capability. The on base is .370, .380 at this point," said Farrell. "He profiles to the position, to the spot in the order."