On Sunday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox claimed first baseman Travis Shaw off waivers from Milwaukee. The veteran switch-hitter, who played two seasons in Boston in 2015 and 2016, was batting just .191 on the season before dislocating his shoulder in early June. He had driven in 28 runs with six homers in 56 games. The Kent State product posted back-to-back 30-homer seasons in 2017 and 2018 before falling off the grid in 2019. In rehab games, Shaw batted .273 (9-for-33) with 8 RBIs in 11 games.
Despite Shaw’s slow start to the season, this move will pay dividends for the Red Sox. Shaw provides a steady veteran presence and infield depth, primarily at first base. He will be able to take over for the streaky Bobby Dalbec during cold streaks, and gives Alex Cora another option against right-handed pitching (which Dalbec is batting just .196 against). The acquisition also diminishes any chance of OF/DH Kyle Schwarber being moved to first base. Schwarber started twice against Baltimore as the designated hitter, with J.D. Martinez taking over in left field on Sunday.
This is a Grade A move by Chaim Bloom — it may not look flashy, but Shaw’s switch hitting and infield versatility make him a reliable bench option. If he can hit the reset button and be somewhat consistent again, he will contribute to wins down the stretch and into the postseason.
Additionally, taking the added pressure of a position switch off of Schwarber will allow him to focus on his offensive approach and staying healthy. This is an under-the-radar acquisition that will pay dividends in the road ahead for the Red Sox.
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