All the pieces of the puzzle that’ll make John Farrell the next manager of the Red Sox are now in place.
Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that Boston will receive right-handed reliever David Carpenter along with their new skipper in exchange for middle infielder Mike Aviles. Farrell has already signed a three-year contract with the Sox and will report to Fenway Park this week to be formally introduced.
Carpenter registered an ugly 8.07 ERA and 2.07 WHIP across 32 1/3 innings this season between the Astros and Blue Jays. The 27-year-old former 12th-round pick had a 3.08 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 25/7 K/BB ratio in 26 1/3 innings at Triple-A.
Aviles, 31, hit .250/.282/.381 with 13 home runs, 14 stolen bases and 60 RBI over 136 games in 2012.
It’s a deal with a fairly clear winner in Toronto, but the Red Sox are willing to chance it that Farrell can become something special. The former Boston pitching coach had a 154-170 record in his two years with the Jays.
The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.
The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.
In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.
Most of the time anyway.
Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:
One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.
The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.