There has been some chatter lately about how Jed Lowrie could take over the Red Sox shortstop job from Marco Scutaro. Theo Epstein said as much himself last week. Terry Francona gave a press conference today, however, and he says nope, not happenin’:
“Scutaro’s our shortstop. (Lowrie) gives us something not a lot of teams can say they have. A switch hitter than can play first, second, third or short and play a lot. He can play for a week, he can play it for a day, he can play it or two weeks. That at some point is going to probably save us. How many times have you seen where everybody stays healthy?”
I assume that Francona has Scutaro’s health most closely in mind with that last comment. He was hurt last year, he’s in his mid-30s, and he’s coming off a .275/.333/.388 season in which he played poor defense. Lowrie, on the other hand, had a great season at the plate in an admittedly small sample size.
Francona may very well envision Lowrie getting a ton of time out there in 2011. But he has absolutely zero reason, from a clubhouse management perspective, to say anything apart from “Scutaro is our shortstop.”
Third baseman Anthony Rendon is reportedly open to a contract extension with the Nationals, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post said Sunday. Rendon told reporters that he didn’t know if agent Scott Boras would discuss an extension with the club, contrary to previous reports confirming the two had already started that conversation.
Rendon, 27, is coming off of his best career year to date. He finished the 2017 season batting .301/.403/.533 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI through 605 plate appearances, good enough to earn him sixth place in NL MVP voting. He made his third postseason appearance after helping Nationals through the National League Division Series, and contributed a pair of extra-base hits before the team was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 5.
Rendon is still arbitration-eligible through 2019, but stands to receive a hefty payday once he enters free agency in 2020. While it stands to reason that the Nats would want to lock up a player who contributed a whopping 6.9 fWAR last year, making him the most valuable player on their roster, an extension appeals to Rendon as well. “Why not stay with one organization?” he said Sunday. The 2018 season will be his sixth with the team.