Well, I mean…maybe sorta kinda. But, that’s not really the correct question.
It’s one that’s come up a lot this week, though. With the Red Sox visiting Milwaukee to play Shaw and his Brewers, some Red Sox fans have been staring at Shaw’s numbers, and wondering what might have been. Here’s the main problem with that, though.
By dreaming about what might have been, people seem to forget what was.
People are focused on the Red Sox hot mess as third base at the moment. Sandoval is hurt. Holt is hurt. Devers is too young. Everyone else has just been awful. Like “they have to be better than this just to be employed as baseball players” awful. So, it’s easy to look across the diamond and see Shaw’s numbers and think the Sox sure could use him. Which, I suppose, is correct. When you lose your top two options at any position, it’s pretty easy to think another option would work. But, most any third baseman would be an upgrade over what the Red Sox are forced to accept right now. So, it’s hard to pine for Travis Shaw when you could just as easily pine for any other third baseman, pretty much anywhere.
Besides, the reason Shaw is in Milwaukee in the first place is because he was a hot mess of his own. The reason we were all so excited to see Panda back is because even a poor Panda is better than what Shaw was putting out last season. There’s a reason he had to be packaged with someone else to get a reliever.
Which brings us to the other reason people seem to be longing for Shaw. Tyler Thornburg is hurt. The Red Sox are getting nothing from their end of the transaction. I bet if Shaw had been included in the Chris Sale deal, instead of the Thornburg one, people would have trouble remembering who Shaw was.
So, do the Red Sox miss Travis Shaw? The Red Sox miss the numbers Shaw has been able to put up in his first month in Milwaukee. But, you could answer that with any ol’ fill-in-the-blank too. Was it the correct move to ship Shaw off to another team? Absolutlely. In fact, the Red Sox waited too long. He should have been moves at the deadline last year, before he remember who he was and fell back to earth. Should the Red Sox held onto him as added depth? No. At some point, you need to let the dice roll. You can’t have three back-ups at every position just in case the top two get hurt. Check out the depth charts for every other team. Anyone else have that third back-up? Besides, nobody was missing Travis Shaw when Dustin Pedroia was injured again. But, because it happened to be the guy who plays Shaw’s position, the hole was magnified.
So, no. The Red Sox do not need Travis Shaw.
They sure could use a third baseman, though.