So, you want to play for the Red Sox, eh? Want to see your name lit up bright in Fenway? Want to rub elbows with stars like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia?
[NOTE: Please do not attempt to rub elbows with Dustin Pedroia if you approach six feet of height. That's how Kevin Youkilis concussed him once. Okay, twice.]
Well, it seems the fastest route to Boston is to learn first base. Daniel Nava learned first base, got a roster spot, and is now an everyday starter. An All-Star, even. Mike Carp knows how to play first, and suddenly has been infused with great powers by the spirit of Ted Williams. And if Jose Iglesias hasn't ever played there, c'mon, is anyone really going to doubt he could handle it?
It seems that outfielder Alex Hassan has taken that lesson to heart, as detailed by Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Hassan has finally made his way back up to Pawtucket due to a variety of injuries, and now finds himself in a whole new role.
So, why the sudden demand at one of the game's least demanding positions?
Well, look everywhere else and it becomes apparent.
At second base, Dustin Pedroia isn't going anywhere. Hell, it might be a warm May day in 2032 with everyone expecting to see sophomore second baseman Michael Almonte and, suddenly, there he'll be, standing at second with Almonte tied up in a trunk somewhere.
At shortstop and third, the Red Sox expect to have a logjam of Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, and Xander Bogaerts even before Garin Cecchini makes his way up through the ranks.
In the outfield, Jackie Bradley Jr. seems to be the future of center, with Shane Victorino signed on long-term in right and Daniel Nava showing no signs of giving up his hold on left.
Behind the plate things are rather murkier. But it's not like any random player can just pick up catcher and run with it.
Only at first base is the path open and easily followed. Mike Napoli is here for now, and doing a passable enough job, but he's only here for now. Sure, if the Red Sox give him qualifying offers there's the possibility of keeping him here in perpetuity, but at the moment he's not exactly proving worth that much.
Beyond him, there is Mike Carp, whose run has been magical, but doesn't exactly seem guaranteed to last forever. Then there's a whole bunch of middling names in the minors...and that's that. Sure, a third baseman could always slide across the infield, but as far as an heir apparent is concerned, the Red Sox haven't got one.
Does that mean an Alex Hassan type is going to take the starting job in 2014? Almost certainly not. But it does mean that the Red Sox are likely going to be headed into 2014 with limited real depth at that position. It means that right now the depth is mostly locked up playing the outfield and the starter still has a degenerative hip issue. It means that playing the position could give them a chance to live the dream that Daniel Nava is currently enjoying.
So if you've ever fancied yourself a decent ballplayer, and think maybe Fenway is the place for you, pick up a first baseman's glove and give it a shot.
[NOTE: Over The Monster is not responsible for silly investments made based on this article.]