If the right side of the infield is pretty secure, the left side still has a question or two. Nothing major, mind you. But, there certainly is a sense of wonderment.
Thanks to the arrival of Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis moves back across the diamond to man the third base bag. Will that be an easy transition for him? I sure hope so. Youk has a couple things going for him. For one thing, it’s not like he’s being asked to catch. It’s at least a similar position to first base. He’s also, of course, played there before. He played there periodically even as he was winning a gold glove at first base. So, it’s not a foreign place for him. Perhaps most important, he want to make the move. I think he likes the idea of finally having a position to call his own. That would certainly suggest the mental side of the switch shouldn’t affect his time at the plate. And, that’s really what we’re talking about here. The difference between a B defender and an A defender at third base isn’t going to make or break a team. The difference between an A hitter and a B hitter just might. So, I expect that Youkilis will continue to be Youkilis, which is good for Boston.
A little bit more interesting is the shortstop position. Marco Scutaro is in the last year of his contract. There’re already whispers that Jed Lowrie should finally take his spot as the starting shortstop. I’m not in that camp. It seems to me that if a youngster wants a position, he should go and take it. Lowrie hasn’t done that. So, let Marco run with it another year. Either one of them will bat towards the bottom of the line-up more often than not. As Lowrie enters his prime, maybe he’ll be healthy enough to take the spot next season.
Youkilis: .306, 30, 108
Scutaro: .273, 13, 55