It's time to adjust the Michael Chavis conversation

Rob Bradford
May 20, 2019 - 11:29 pm

We're waiting.

We're waiting for something to take a hard right-hand turn when it comes to Michael Chavis. We thought the rookie might be veering a bit when going 0-for-19 two weeks ago, but then a ball falls in against Seattle and he's back on his merry way. 

Adjustments have been made by the pitchers. Adjustments have been made by Chavis. And here we are. American League Rookie of the Year candidate, and recent addition to the All-Star conversation.

It certainly looks like this is a player who isn't going anywhere, a notion that was once again cemented with his ninth home run of the season Monday afternoon. So, it's up to us to figure out what the future holds for both the player and his team.

The obvious leap of faith by some has the Red Sox burying Dustin Pedroia for the remainder of the season so Chavis can simply live his new life as a second baseman. But if Pedroia does what he thinks he will do over the next couple of weeks -- exhibit improved health while finding the on-field rhythm that had been hiatus over the past two seasons -- there is a very real scenario which puts both of them on this roster.

If Pedroia is healthy enough to play four times a week then the ones who should be put in the cross-hairs are Eduardo Nunez and/or Steve Pearce. 

Part of the Pedroia's value -- assuming he can move at least like he was in spring training -- is the ability to field the second base position. That is of value. Chavis and Brock Holt can both play the position, but neither is the kind of pure second baseman Pedroia represents. This narrative is, once again, dependent on that knee not being a hindrance.

What Nunez has shown so far is a player who is still uncomfortable at second base, while looking lost at the plate. He enters Tuesday hitting .173 with a .432 OPS, having not made any adjustments to the barrage of outside-edge offerings he continues to receive from opposing pitchers. And with Rafael Devers playing like he is at third base, there doesn't figure to be much of a window to use Nunez at that spot nearly as much as a season ago.

Pearce did manage a double and walk in his four plate appearances Monday but is still sitting with .131 batting average and .371 OPS. He, or Nunez, have represented part of the Red Sox' solution against lefty pitching. 

A year ago this week the Red Sox made a move with their roster when it came to Hanley Ramirez. It's not unreasonable to believe such an adjustment involving another veteran will be made around its one-year anniversary.

Holt will be back soon, which will likely necessitate the departure of one of the Red Sox' extra pitchers. After that is when we will start having the aforementioned conversation. There is also the intriguing presence of Marco Hernandez, who has just recently continued his road back with a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket.

As for where Chavis might find himself a month from now ...

First off, if he keeps making a name for him at second base over the next few weeks there could be legitimate debate about an All-Star berth. Right now the injured Jose Altuve would probably get the starting nod, but Chavis could certainly be thrown in the mix with Whit Merrifield and/or Brandon Lowe for a berth.

But a trip to Cleveland aside, the more pressing issue will be Chavis' lot in life when Pedroia returns. The combination of giving the veteran second baseman time off over the course of a week's worth of games, and filling in as a first base option against lefties is intriguing. There is also the scenario where J.D. Martinez is summoned to play more outfield, shifting Mookie Betts to center field and putting Chavis at designated hitter.

The point is that there are options more than worrying about either drawing back on Chavis or kicking Pedroia to the curb.

Either way, right now it's a good problem for this Red Sox team to have.