Red Sox express interest in Adam Everett

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WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports that Boston has contacted Adam Everett to “to express some preliminary interest,” which makes sense given that this year’s crop of free-agent agent shortstops is so underwhelming that the Red Sox have considered asking Dustin Pedroia to switch positions.
Everett is one of the worst hitters in baseball, but he’s long been an elite defensive shortstop, was originally taken by the Red Sox in the first round of the 1998 draft, and will come far cheaper than fellow free agents like Marco Scutaro, Miguel Tejada, and Orlando Cabrera.
Scutaro is the cream of the shortstop crop, but would require a multi-year deal and giving up next year’s first-round pick, while Tejada and Cabrera may not even be capable of handling shortstop defensively at this point. Ultimate Zone Rating had Everett as 8.9 runs above average defensively in 116 games for the Tigers this season and per 150 games he’s rated 18.3 runs above average for his entire career.
Everett turns 33 years old soon, so counting on that same extraordinary defense is no sure thing, but even a slight decline would leave him as one of the better defenders in the league. Red Sox fans may have a tough time seeing it, but Everett is fairly similar to Alex Gonzalez in overall value. Everett is a career .245/.297/.351 hitter with excellent defense. Gonzalez is a career .247/.294/.395 hitter with very good defense.
While it may not sound appealing, a .650 OPS combined with great defense would make Everett close to an average all-around shortstop. And unlike the prominent free-agent options Everett is also cheap enough that signing him to a one-year deal wouldn’t preclude the Red Sox from handing the job back to Jed Lowrie at some point. Everett is certainly no one’s idea of a No. 1 target and the Red Sox already traded him away for Carl Everett back in 1999, but as fallbacks go he’s palatable and cheap.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.