BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox are at the top of most offensive categories, but you cannot thank the outfield for helping them.
With the addition of Carl Crawford in the offseason, Boston was supposed to have one of the most potent outfield offenses the town has seen. Instead, it has fizzled mightily.
Ellsbury has been the only consistent contributor, batting .299 with nine home runs, 55 runs scored and 39 RBI. His batting average is third on the team, behind Adrian Gonzalez (who leads the Majors at .357) and David Ortiz (.311). Ellsbury has also been the only outfielder not to miss time, playing in all 78 games to begin the season.
Crawford was supposed to bring another threat to the Red Sox lineup, but after batting in nearly every spot in the order, ended April with a .155 average. He picked things up in June batting .304, looking much more comfortable with his new team, and even knocking in a few game winners. He had hits in 11 of his 14 games this month before landing on the DL with a hamstring injury.
What has happened since to the Red Sox outfield has been nothing short of abysmal.
Backups Darnell McDonald and Mike Cameron have a combined 20 hits in 143 at-bats this season and are batting .122 and .149, respectively. Add in JD Drew’s .232 average and the only players hitting worse play every five days, and only bat when in a National League park.
Drew, in the final year of a 5-year deal with Boston, has just 18 RBI and 19 runs scored on a team that has scored 409 runs, second in the Majors only to the Yankees 411. He was hitting just .228 after the season’s first two months, and has managed to raise it by just four-points in June. His 47 strikeouts are fourth on the team, and .657 OPS behind everyone but Cameron and McDonald’s.
So what can the Red Sox do to get their outfield going? The return of Crawford in the coming weeks should help, but with the right fielder spot being a black hole in the lineup, is it time for the Red Sox to make a move? The outfield is batting just .249 for the season, and that includes Josh Reddick’s 12-for-29 in 12 games. The team leads the majors with a .275 average, imagine what it could be if they got any production from their right fielders.
Reddick is not a bad option as a fourth outfielder, but it is unlikely he could keep up a steady pace the rest of the season. There are some outfield options out there, but is it worth it to go after expensive names like Carlos Beltran of the Mets and Michael Cuddyer of the Twins. Probably not since Boston is already paying Drew $14 million.
At least for one night, with Adrian Gonzalez in right Wednesday night, the position will look pretty good offensively.