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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox host the Detroit Tigers Tuesday night with a chance to go over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
CBS Sports baseball insider Jon Heyman joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak on Tuesday, and believe it or not, the Tigers may be even more mediocre than the Red Sox have been this season.
“They have not even been average, and they’re in a weaker division by far,” Heyman said of the 23-25 record. “I would say Boston — and I understand .500 is average — I would say they’re probably above average. But I understand, .500 is not what you’re striving for.”
Manager Bobby Valentine has had to play musical chairs, with Adrian Gonzalez playing some right field to make sure both Kevin Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks get playing time.
Is it worth the risk to play Gonzalez in the outfield?
“For now, with Youkilis on the roster, it’s certainly their best offensive team. If Gonzalez is willing to do it, it’s too tempting not to do it to get Youkilis, Middlebrooks and them all in the lineup,” said Heyman. “Long-term they do not consider this to be the solution. But if you’re the manager, what line-up card to you write now? You want Middlebrooks playing, you obviously have to have Gonzalez playing, and you probably want Youkilis and (David) Ortiz in there too. I think it’s too tempting not to do it.”
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One way to get Gonzalez back at first is to trade Youkilis. That has been a hot topic ever since Middlebrooks was called up to the majors, but is it any closer to happening?
“I do believe (Boston will) have to pay a little of the $11-million salary to do it. I’ve seen speculation about the Reds, but I think that’s only because he is from there,” Heyman said of a potential Youkilis trade, noting the Scott Rollin may be done for Cincinnati but they have a 26-year-old third base prospect in Todd Frazier. “I don’t anticipate them rushing into anything, but it does make sense. I’ve run into Red Sox people recently and they’re not saying Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield is a long-term solution. It’s obvious Will Middlebrooks has to play somewhere; he’s that good. This is something that is going to be discussed over the next few weeks.”
While injuries have plagued Boston since before the season began, it appears some of their walking wounded are on the way back. Andrew Bailey is expected to re-join the team after the All-Star break, but will he take the job back from Alfredo Aceves?
“He has the right makeup to be the closer,” Heyman said of Aceves, “but they traded for Andrew Bailey and they gave up a lot in Josh Reddick in that multi-player trade… I would think he is going to be their closer when he is back and healthy.”
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With Bailey’s return, that could mean Aceves is put in the starting rotation. Could that lead to Daniel Bard making his way back into the bullpen?
“It seems like that’s been hinted at all along, although Bobby won’t say that out loud,” said Heyman. “Bobby is a big pen guy; he thinks that is the key to a team and two-thirds of the games are decided when the bullpen is in there. He’s always been that way. This may be a hint that that’s what he prefers.”
Also from Heyman, what’s with all the angry old men at Fenway? From Joe Maddon to Jim Leyland, everyone seems to have a sour mood at the Fens. And where will free-agent starter Roy Oswalt finally land?