SEPTEMBER 18: Infielder Pedro Ciriaco #77 of the Boston Red Sox throws over to first for an out against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
The Red Sox are attempting to make Pedro Ciriaco more versatile, and the way to do this is to stick him in the outfield. Versatility is valuable, but not on its own -- a player needs to be able to produce in their expanded role in order to justify playing time in situations other than injury-riddled ones. Unless Ciriaco is a defensive savant in the outfield, it's going to be tough for him to justify playing time out there.
Ciriaco has had his moments at the plate in 2012, but the numbers are starting to trend downward. He's now at .296/.315/.398, well below-average for a major-league hitter, and right around the average for shortstop only. Since first exploding onto the scene in Boston against the Yankees, Ciriaco has seen his production fall off -- over his last 56 games (out of 63 on the year), he's hitting just .266/.286/.370. Neither that nor his overall line befits an outfielder, even if said outfielder can range like peak-level Andruw Jones and throw like Rick Ankiel. Well, a starting outfielder, anyway. That's a pretty ridiculous defensive replacement.
If Ciriaco had any kind of plan at the plate, adding to his versatility would be more encouraging. But he doesn't, and it's hard to believe he can do much when his batting average on balls in play isn't trending towards the unbelievable. Boston will see what he can do defensively out there, though, at the end of this year, and likely as an off-season and spring training project.