Tuesday, July 19, 2011
It's Josh Reddick's Time.
June 19 to July 18 Josh Reddick hit .339, with 4 HR's, an OPS of 1.069, and 21 hits in 22 games.
J.D. Drew over the same timeline looked much different. Drew hit .211, with 0 HR's, and an OPS of just .549.
If you listen to Sports Radio you won't hear many people defending Francona's decision to stick with the veteran, and why would you? CSNNE's Sean McAdam's reported that Drew had emotionally "checked out" weeks ago. Regardless of who was better up until now it hasn't really mattered, with Carl Crawford on the DL Boston had to work a platoon style outfield to fill in. But now Crawford is back and it's time to pull away from NY in the 2nd half. It's time to make the hard decisions.
Terry Francona, like Bruin's coach Claude Julien, is known for his loyalty to his veteran's. Sometimes this can turn out to be a good thing: See David Ortiz. On other occasions he's merely prolonging the inevitable, as was the case in 2007 between Center Fielder Coco Crisp and rookie fan favorite Jacoby Ellsbury. That season Francona didn't make the switch until after the first round of the Playoffs, from then on Jacoby was the clear cut everyday Center Fielder.
Hopefully Tito doesn't take until October to make his decision this year, the difference between 35 year old Drew and 24 year old Reddick could just be the difference between 1st and 2nd place in the AL East. And as any seasoned Red Sox fan knows... sometimes that difference makes all the difference.
With Ortiz currently serving a suspension, Francona's decision has been pushed off once again. But once 8 out of the 9 of the everyday starters are locked in, and it comes down to who's the everyday Right Fielder... the obvious choice has to be made, and barring a trade at the deadline that choice is Josh Reddick.