SS possibilities going forward

bosockboy

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Convinced me. I was in the ‘don’t mess with CR’ camp by turning him into a utility infielder, but I heard great points from Lou(assuming he’s the best player available):

1 He can play SS this year and pick up the OF glove next offseason, it’s not exactly temporary swapping around
2 What about the pitchers development? They can’t really pitch to their strengths (do your job!) with a butcher at SS
Yep. And gives you the flexibility to move Mayer for pitching at some point.
 

Rovin Romine

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My only fear with this is that Cora will align the OF to be Durran in CF, Abreu in RF and O'Neil in LF (which he seems inclined towards). As far as I can tell that puts the best outfielder in the least demanding position and the worst OF in the most demanding position. Not sure why the haven't been using O'Neil in CF and Duran in LF when Rafaela sits.
O'Neil has calf issues, and is currently the only one hitting. He's also the only RHH threat on the club. I'm all for pampering him as much as possible.

Also, Abreu is a passible CF/good RF type with a plus arm. Not sure what's going on with him this year, but he's probably better than Duran overall.
 

Cassvt2023

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Hamilton is likely not the answer at SS, but how about him at 2B and Romy at SS for now? There was a ground ball hit late in the game yesterday that Valdez didn't get to because he stayed on his feet and tried to backhand it instead of going to the ground to smother it. I believe Hamilton would've got to it either way and prevented it from going thru. It seems like Valdez doesn't really have a roster spot right now if his bat stays cold, because even though he may have improved a bit with the glove, he is not a good fielder.
 

Fishy1

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Hamilton is likely not the answer at SS, but how about him at 2B and Romy at SS for now? There was a ground ball hit late in the game yesterday that Valdez didn't get to because he stayed on his feet and tried to backhand it instead of going to the ground to smother it. I believe Hamilton would've got to it either way and prevented it from going thru. It seems like Valdez doesn't really have a roster spot right now if his bat stays cold, because even though he may have improved a bit with the glove, he is not a good fielder.
They're going to give all of these guys time, is the reality. Valdez I would bet on being the best bat of the bunch because he has a track record of being the best bat in the minors. He's definitely going through a dry spell, but I wouldn't make too much of it: like a lot of hitters, he can look really bad when he's slumping.

Grissom is almost certainly taking his job when he gets back anyways, so we're talking a week or two or a little more of games they have to account for unless someone else goes down.
 

Rovin Romine

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They're going to give all of these guys time, is the reality. Valdez I would bet on being the best bat of the bunch because he has a track record of being the best bat in the minors. He's definitely going through a dry spell, but I wouldn't make too much of it: like a lot of hitters, he can look really bad when he's slumping.

Grissom is almost certainly taking his job when he gets back anyways, so we're talking a week or two or a little more of games they have to account for unless someone else goes down.
Yesterday it was reported by Speier and others that Grissom starts his rehab games this week and will be taking some balls at SS. I suspect Grissom will ultimately stick at 2B with Hamilton/Romy holding down the fort at SS. I'm guessing closer to 1 week than 2.

At that point, I'm not sure Valdez has a place, unless he's absolutely mashing or Hamilton somehow flames out. If Hamilton (LHH) hits though, I think you have to assume his 2B is going to be better than Valdez's? And Hamilton can at least cover SS. So it's probably him over Valdez when Grissom comes back.

Originally, I thought Valdez might stick even with Story (RHH) getting the majority of SS starts, Grissom (RHH) the majority at 2B, and Reyes (RHH) as the first choice fielding backup. That would leave Valdez (LHH) as a PH/occasional 2B starter. And even that presumed decent fielding, and an OPS+ of average or above.

Later in the season maybe there's also Meidroth RHH (AAA 3B/2B) and Yorke RHH (AA 2B) to consider in the IF mix. Say if Grissom fixes the yips and moves over to SS.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Once Grissom is ready, I assume Valdez goes down. They will want him playing every day and there’s really no room for LH backup IF, especially if Hamilton is the starter at SS.

Now, who Refsnyder replaces will be a bit trickier. I would guess one of Gonzalez or Hamilton, and not Abreu.
 

simplicio

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I think the main argument for sending Abreu down is getting him everyday AB to fix whatever is wrong this year. Some more fielding time wouldn't hurt either.
 

Cassvt2023

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I think its pretty straightforward: Grissom and Ref will replace Valdez and Abreu. Hamilton can play SS and 2B hits LH, and is a great option to pinch run. Romy can play all over, hits RH, and may be a decent bat now that shoulder seems healthy.
 

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Now that the Orioles are bringing up Jackson Holliday, they seem to have a glut at middle infield. I wonder if they'd take a bag of balls for Jorge Mateo?
Boy, this would be a fantastic if Breslow could pull it off. With Grissom a solid bet to replace Story’s production with the bat, a wizard like Mateo at shortstop would really help reward the pitchers for keeping the ball on the ground. Take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I think a glove like that is key for the Sox to be relevant this year. Plus, looking to the future, he’d also be a great guy to plug into the Pablo Reyes role assuming Story or Mayer take the job next year.

Would Baltimore even pick up the phone from a trying Red Sox this season, though?
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Why would the O’s even want to move Mateo, though? Seems like the perfect utility guy, offers depth all over the field, and is relatively cheap. Very useful player for a contender to have.
 

dynomite

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This is an interesting thread.

Why would the O’s even want to move Mateo, though? Seems like the perfect utility guy, offers depth all over the field, and is relatively cheap. Very useful player for a contender to have.
Agreed with this. No reason for the Os to part with him cheaply, particularly not to a Division rival.

Not sure how we feel about UZR these days, but I pulled up Fangraph's leaderboard by UZR per 150 games played ranks for all 76 players who had 90+ innings (I randomly decided 10 games was a nice round baseline) at SS in 2023. For context, Story comes in 4th in baseball (sad face). Old friend Yu Chang is 9th and Mateo 21st. Pablo Reyes checks in ~40th. Of note in terms of cheap replacements, Elvis Andrus checks in at 39th between Bobby Witt Jr. and Xander.

And of the 76 players who had 90+ innings at SS last year, want to know who had the absolute lowest UZR/150 rating by a significant amount in 158 innings?

Vaughn Grissom.

Edit: Sorry, when I mention Andrus above it's because the DBacks released him a few weeks ago: https://www.msn.com/en-ph/sports/mlb/diamondbacks-release-veteran-shortstop/ar-BB1kmPFP

I'll go on record and say Andrus is my preferred replacement. He'll come cheap and can be cut/traded at any time if it's not working out or a better replacement emerges in Reyes/Hamilton/etc. He's a stabilizing veteran presence for a young team that just lost a veteran leader. And most importantly he's still decent defensively, while his bat should be within the range of acceptable (81 OPS+ last year, 104 in '22).

Pablo Reyes rates out similarly defensive and at the plate (last year), but he's 30 and has never had more than 170 big league ABs in a season and the team didn't seem comfortable just slotting him in there (see: yesterday's Hamilton experience). I don't want to cannabalize our CF defense or risk injury to O'Neill by shifting Rafaela to SS, and I don't buy anyone on the current roster being able to play a full season of games at SS.
 
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jon abbey

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That Andrus story is a few weeks old, but pretty sure he’s still a FA.
 

Rovin Romine

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And of the 76 players who had 90+ innings at SS last year, want to know who had the absolute lowest UZR/150 rating by a significant amount in 158 innings?

Vaughn Grissom.
That's sort of significant, and sort of not. Grissom had a 19 game implosion at SS in 2023 (6 errors). He'd been a SS for his MiL career and never put up those kind of numbers (obviously, or he'd never have been called up.)

OTOH, he had a much larger 40 game sample size at 2B the year before and did passably well there, certainly for someone who had minimal prior experience at 2B (19 MiL games total).

I say all this to suggest his 19 games may not be all that predictive of his overall defensive ability. Interestingly, in the smaller and more recent MiL sample of his games at 2B, he's across the board better than he is at SS - better fielding %, greater range factor.

I personally would keep him at 2B and allow him to settle in, mostly because (fairly or unfairly) he wasn't able to hit the pause button and reboot himself at SS in '23.
 

pjheff

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I suspect Grissom will ultimately stick at 2B with Hamilton/Romy holding down the fort at SS. I'm guessing closer to 1 week than 2.
Grissom basically had no Spring Training and is moving to a new position. I can’t imagine that he will be rushed up to the majors in anything close to 1 week.
 

Rovin Romine

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Grissom basically had no Spring Training and is moving to a new position. I can’t imagine that he will be rushed up to the majors in anything close to 1 week.
FWIW, I recall reading somewhere he had live ABs in extended spring training. So I figured 10 days (closer to 1 week than 2) wouldn't be out of the question - depending on how he hits, of course.

(PS - it's not really a "new" position for him, but it's not his primary one, which is SS)
 

dynomite

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I personally would keep him at 2B and allow him to settle in, mostly because (fairly or unfairly) he wasn't able to hit the pause button and reboot himself at SS in '23.
Absolutely agreed with this -- Grissom is hopefully a long-term investment at 2B, and I want him to get comfortable there. It's a similar reason I'd rather sign Andrus than flip Rafaela back to SS. For young guys trying to establish themselves in the Majors on a team that doesn't look like it's competing for a World Series, I want to provide them consistency and stable development path.

And there's a cascading impact on the rest of the team, of course, when you start moving pieces around -- I don't think we win that extra innings game in Oakland, for example, with anyone but Rafaela in CF.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Grissom basically had no Spring Training and is moving to a new position. I can’t imagine that he will be rushed up to the majors in anything close to 1 week.
It's not a new position, it's just a new permanent position. He has nearly 800 professional innings playing 2B already. The rehab assignment isn't about preparing him to pay 2B. It's about showing he's fully recovered from his injury, getting him live at bats, and playing at game speed. He shows he's good with all three, he'll be up. I can't see how it takes more than a week unless he suffers a physical set back.
 

simplicio

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Romy had a really good play in the fifth yesterday trying to get Santander (at 1:25:10 if you want to watch). Sliding, turning and getting a strong accurate throw off while falling backwards is not a play I think Hamilton can attempt. I'm guessing he's the everyday guy for now unless they're getting platooned.

Also: did Pablo actually get hurt? He seemed to be in pain after catching a hard liner and was then pulled from his AB in the bottom half of the inning for Abreu.
 

moondog80

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What exactly are people afraid of with putting Rafaella at SS? HIs versatility is part of his value, right? But only if you actually utilize it.

Is it that net effect of Duran/O'Neil in CF and Abreu/Refsnyder (eventually) into the OF is a worse overall defensive alignment, and the presumed spike in hitting does not offset that? Or is it that doing so will somehow have an adverse effect on Rafaella?
 

simplicio

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More the former. I'd be totally fine with moving him there for the season if Abreu looked like his September self, but he hasn't been hitting or making plays and the O'Neill/Duran/Abreu defensive alignment is not a strong one. Romy looks good enough to trust defensively and I'd rather accept that downgrade in one position than the whole OF.
 

moondog80

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More the former. I'd be totally fine with moving him there for the season if Abreu looked like his September self, but he hasn't been hitting or making plays and the O'Neill/Duran/Abreu defensive alignment is not a strong one. Romy looks good enough to trust defensively and I'd rather accept that downgrade in one position than the whole OF.
I get it. But this team needs offense. Romy Gonazlez hit fifth last night. Rafaella was pinch hit for with David Hamilton. I'm OK putting the best SS we have at SS and giving Abreu 200 PA to sink or swim.
 

Fishy1

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I get it. But this team needs offense. Romy Gonazlez hit fifth last night. Rafaella was pinch hit for with David Hamilton. I'm OK putting the best SS we have at SS and giving Abreu 200 PA to sink or swim.
Yeah, this is where I'm at, but I also understand why they're giving Romy a shot. Abreu has much better offensive pedigree than Romy, but Abreu is scuffling and Romy is hot, and Abreu looks very lost, and they do have to manage personalities and give rookies some breathing room where they need it. I'd rather they wait till Abreu gets a little hot before they start playing him in RF full time.

They also don't want to move Rafaela around too much, even if we wish they would. He's already scuffling at the plate, and giving him more to manage might be tough. Confidence and comfort are definitely real factors in all of this, and only the manager and coaching staff really have their finger on the pulse of all of this.

It's still incredibly early. Abreu has twenty plate appearances. Rafaela has 41. We've seen how fast things can turn around. I remember last spring Yoshida and Casas were both scuffling and it felt like they'd never get right. Now, Yoshida got right and then got very very wrong, but Casas got right!
 

YTF

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What exactly are people afraid of with putting Rafaella at SS? HIs versatility is part of his value, right? But only if you actually utilize it.

Is it that net effect of Duran/O'Neil in CF and Abreu/Refsnyder (eventually) into the OF is a worse overall defensive alignment, and the presumed spike in hitting does not offset that? Or is it that doing so will somehow have an adverse effect on Rafaella?
I've previously stated my preference to keep Rafaela in CF, however if/when it becomes clear there's not another suitable in house option then I'm cool with the move. Ultimately you want to put your team in the best position to win games. You also want to take as much pressure off the pitching staff as you can. We know all too well the effect that extended innings due to poor defense have on a pitching staff, especially if that staff already has its own concerns. One thing that has me slightly concerned about Rafaela moving to SS is what seems to be Cora's preferred OF alignment of O'Neill LF, Duran CF and Abreu RF. While it's great to have speed patrolling CF, from what we know (or think we know) it seems like O'Neill may be the best option there. I think that Hamilton and Romy get a little more rope there because one, the other or both are still going to be on the roster until Grissom and RFsnyder return. I think at least for the next couple of games one of those two are going to play SS until it becomes apparent that they can't if for nothing else but determine which of them has more value to the team and might deserve a roster spot when the other two do return.
 

Cassvt2023

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Jesus, the hits keep on coming....he was the in house option that I was liking the best to man SS for now.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Bobby Dalbec is the only available infielder or outfielder on the 40 man right now. They could move Story to the 60 day. Not sure who would get the call. Sogard I guess?
 

dynomite

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I didn't realize SS on the Red Sox was slightly more dangerous than being a drummer for Spinal Tap.

At the risk of being a broken record, I argue again for Elvis Andrus. He's cheap, still decent defensively, and likely won't be a disaster at the plate. If folks get healthy, he can be cut anytime.
 

moondog80

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It's time to treat SS like it's the most important position on the diamond. Stop pretending Hamilton is an option. Put your best SS (Rafaella) there and figure out the OF, because that's the easier problem to solve.
 

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It's time to treat SS like it's the most important position on the diamond. Stop pretending Hamilton is an option. Put your best SS (Rafaella) there and figure out the OF, because that's the easier problem to solve.
I'd still like to give Romy a shot if/when he gets healthy, but otherwise, I think this is totally right.
 

kazuneko

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It's time to treat SS like it's the most important position on the diamond. Stop pretending Hamilton is an option. Put your best SS (Rafaella) there and figure out the OF, because that's the easier problem to solve.
Not sure why they wouldn’t want to give Andrus a call. He was +4 OAA last season and isn’t horrible with the bat. I get it that they want to give young players chances but do they really see Hamilton as a viable major league option at SS? The development of their young pitchers would definitely benefit from upgrading the infield defense, especially if the team doesn’t have to downgrade their OF defense to do that.
 

Daniel_Son

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Not sure why they wouldn’t want to give Andrus a call. He was +4 OAA last season and isn’t horrible with the bat. I get it that they want to give young players chances but do they really see Hamilton as a viable major league option at SS? The development of their young pitchers would definitely benefit from upgrading the infield defense, especially if the team doesn’t have to downgrade their OF defense to do that.
I think we've got to give him more that 44 at-bats before making that decision.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Agreed on Andrus. When Story first got hurt, I could see them wanting to see how the in-house options would handle it, because there is no future for Andrus here and maybe one of the internal guys could handle SS defensively.

But now that Romy is hurt, they clearly prefer not to play Rafaela at SS for whatever reason, and we are bleeding unearned runs, it would make a lot of sense to bring in Andrus to try to stabilize the infield. They kind of owe it to the pitchers who they are counting on and hoping to see take another step to give them an actual major league SS behind them.

There's not much downside to signing Andrus at this point. If he is washed up and proves he can't handle defense at SS (which he still could last year) he would at least be no worse than what we have now and would buy some time for guys like Hamilton and Reyes to get their crap together and for Romy to get healthy.

Hamilton looks really uncomfortable out there at SS (IMO he's not a SS defensively, he should be considered a 2B) and Reyes, who was a perfectly cromulent infielder last year, has 3 singles and a walk in 23 PAs, and now looks like he was kidnapped and replaced by an impostor who's never played before. His attempted bunt the other day was one of the worst at-bats I've ever seen and he whiffed on an important routine grounder last night. Hopefully he will settle down and play like he did last year and be useful, but he hasn't yet.

Now that Dalbec has been called back up (because we're facing 2 lefties this weekend) it looks like they are going to roll with what we have for another series and hope that Gonzalez will be back out there in a couple days and that his injury won't affect him when he is back.

I'm hoping that they are at least talking to Andrus and if things don't improve very soon they bring him in.
 

InsideTheParker

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I came here hoping to find an update on Romy G. I am hopeful about him as a SS possibility. I guess they'll update us on his progress in a week or so. Is it a sprain? Because I had a sprained ankle once and it was slow to heal. Of course, you need an ankle to walk around, and I wonder if Romy is just totally resting that hand. Don't know.
 

Daniel_Son

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The issue with Hamilton is not his bat.
19 games then. The point is that it's way too small a sample size to make any decisions. I don't think Hamilton is ever going to be a world-class defender, but can he be adequate? We don't really know, and I think we need to give him (and Romy) a chance to sink or swim before turning to Elvis Andrus, who is what he is at this point.
 

moondog80

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19 games then. The point is that it's way too small a sample size to make any decisions. I don't think Hamilton is ever going to be a world-class defender, but can he be adequate? We don't really know, and I think we need to give him (and Romy) a chance to sink or swim before turning to Elvis Andrus, who is what he is at this point.
He's played SS a bunch in the minors and the reviews have not been good. Here's what soxprospects says (the bit about footwork is timely):

Field: Inconsistent footwork and fringy range at shortstop. Can make the routine play, but there are concerns about how he would adjust to the speed of the major league game there. Has shown a tendency to rush plays and has trouble fielding the ball on the run. Looks more comfortable and profiles better at second base. Hands work and has shown solid range there. Footwork is sloppy second as well, but is within the more forgiving margin for error at that position than at shortstop. Speed and athleticism might be best suited for center field, where he has played on occasion in 2022 and 2023. Potential below-average defender at shortstop and average defender at second base.

Arm: Below-average arm strength. Shot puts the ball over and throws lack carry. Arm is best suited for second base.
 

Cassvt2023

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He's played SS a bunch in the minors and the reviews have not been good. Here's what soxprospects says (the bit about footwork is timely):
This is what I've always believed; he should be at 2nd base. He is better there than Valdez defensively, and he has more potential to steal bases.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I came here hoping to find an update on Romy G. I am hopeful about him as a SS possibility. I guess they'll update us on his progress in a week or so. Is it a sprain? Because I had a sprained ankle once and it was slow to heal. Of course, you need an ankle to walk around, and I wonder if Romy is just totally resting that hand. Don't know.
I hope they have an update sooner than a week or so. They can't really afford to have him on the bench possibly unavailable to play for a whole week. With Dalbec reportedly up from Worcester, it's either for Devers or Romy. We'll probably know more in an hour or two when Cora meets with the media.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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19 games then. The point is that it's way too small a sample size to make any decisions. I don't think Hamilton is ever going to be a world-class defender, but can he be adequate? We don't really know, and I think we need to give him (and Romy) a chance to sink or swim before turning to Elvis Andrus, who is what he is at this point.
I think when you look at easily scouted aspects of defense like his noodle arm or his footwork and agility its really not hard to see that the kid is way over his head in the MLB. There are years of scouting reports along with 328 minor league games played. I highly doubt Breslow and company believe that 20 more games in the field is going to tell them much of anything. They're holding on for dear life at this point.
 

kazuneko

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I think we've got to give him more that 44 at-bats before making that decision.
I think supporting the team’s young pitching (by providing them an ML quality SS) is more important than giving a chance to a guy that no one sees as significant prospect.
 
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kazuneko

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The only good thing about last night’s game is that it made clear how inconsistent “giving Hamilton an extended look at SS” is to the team’s larger goal of developing young pitching. Breslow needs to reach out to Andrus’s agent.
 

OCD SS

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Hamilton was not been seen as a legitimate SS option by anyone until there was literally no one else (which sort of begs the question why not Rafaella). He doesn’t have the arm strength or defensive instincts to compensate for the speed the MLB game. He’s miscast at a premium defensive position because he’s fast.

My guess is that they’re actually trying to find someone else and waiting on announcing Romy’s status until that’s finished (or at least explored - there’s probably not much there).

I have no enthusiasm for Andrus, I guess it would depend if he’s really in game
Shape and could be a short term fix.
 

moondog80

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One weakness of the Bloom regime that seems
to have carried over is not knowing when to cut bait on guys, position wise. Hamilton should have been moved to CF. Same situation with Valdez, although there I can understand the instinct keep trying at 2B given that his bat might play there. It’s not working though.
 

simplicio

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Hamilton's obviously been a disaster so far, but are we truly expecting an error per game from him going forward? He's pretty obviously not going to be good, but I think he's also just in a rut to start with and won't actually continue being the worst fielder of all time in the long term.
 

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Hamilton's obviously been a disaster so far, but are we truly expecting an error per game from him going forward? He's pretty obviously not going to be good, but I think he's also just in a rut to start with and won't actually continue being the worst fielder of all time in the long term.
He looked terrible last year, too. A bunch of games in the minors didn't seem to make a difference. I don't see how he'll become acceptable out there now.