He hit at a 30-home run pace when he finally had his chance in the majors last season and this spring, he has collected 12 hits in 23 at-bats (.522 average) with a pair of home runs. Headed into Spring Training, he looked to be a lock for a spot on the bench. But now, it looks like he could do more than just that.
Shaw even told The Boston Globe, “I’m trying to make it hard on the decision-makers not to start me. There are still three weeks of spring training to go. Nothing is set in stone.”
Clearly, he wants to be playing every day — and he is playing up to that caliber. Sure, Spring Training stats really don’t matter too much. But keep in mind he hit well down the stretch last season and he plays three positions.
Shaw has logged time at first base, where Hanley Ramirez is trying so desperately to learn, third base, where Pablo Sandoval waddled into Spring Training out of shape and is having a weak spring and left field, where Rusney Castillo, who posted a .566 OPS against right-handers last season, is slated to start.
A left-handed power bat, Shaw has value for the Red Sox. And they would be smart to play him every day. Will it happen for sure? It is tough to say since money can be such an issue. Managers, however, do not pay players. Their job is just supposed to be to win with whatever the front office gives them.
Maybe John Farrell sees what Shaw is doing. And if ends up being fired, then maybe Torey Lovullo likes what he sees. After all, it was Lovullo who played him every day late last season.