'Farrell Will Rotate DH While Ortiz Is Out'
'Shall We Dance? Red Sox Start To Do The DH Shuffle'
Are coming from one obvious source… John Farrell. But the meaning, or should I say "double meaning," should be clear. (1) The obvious… David Ortiz will start the season on the bench, or most likely, on both the DL and the bench. Therefore, someone other than Ortiz will have to start the season as the designated hitter. (2) The (not so) subtle meaning… Come hell or high water, Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going to start the season in Boston. Nothing is going to alter this decision, not even a Front Office Zombie Apocalypse.
But wait! The JBJ Fanclub has it all figured out! Playing out of position and his clock, be damned! JBJ can play left, while the "fielding impaired" Johnny Gomes fills in at DH. To them, it's as obvious as the nose on your face. Looking past this crowd's conspicuous bias for just a bit, one might find themselves thinking, hell yeah, this is the way to go! It solves everything. Gomes is really a DH anyway, and it creates an unforced position and role for JBJ going forward. It turns Farrell's difficult decision into an obvious and easy decision. Right?
Wrong. Jackie Bradley Jr. should be on this team, when, and only when, they decide to give him a full time starting position to play. Everything about this situation points to a part time job! Putting Bradley in left now would be tantamount to an audition, and that is the wrong way to start this kids career. The first month of the regular season belongs to pitchers, and if his audition goes horribly wrong, it could have lasting effects on his career. And come on, we all know about the term "expectations" and what it means in Boston.
No. No. No. When JBJ's time arrives, he must be given the job without reservation. He must be told the job is his no matter. We understand growing pains, so don't worry. Unless they are willing to make Johnny Gomes the number two man on the left field depth chart, before a single game is played, nothing has changed. David Ortiz will return at some point, landing Johnny Gomes back in left field, and most likely, JBJ back in the minors. This is not the way to go folks. There is no good reason to start this kid's clock, or for that matter, his motor, for a poultry 3 weeks.
So rotate that DH John… or Larry… or Ben. It's either sticking to the whole plan or abandoning the whole plan. No half measures. Especially with a stud like JBJ.