The Red Sox are looking better this weekend against the Orioles, with the bats in particular coming alive in a big way after a prolonged slump. Still, they remain searching for some first base help, with Kyle Schwarber back without having played the position. Bobby Dalbec has been swinging a much better bat of late, but with Franchy Cordero struggling again they are looking for more help from the left side. They have found another option in an old friend, claiming Travis Shaw off waivers from the Brewers. Alex Speier was first with the news, and the team later confirmed.
The Mayor is back!— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 15, 2021
The #RedSox today claimed INF Travis Shaw off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. pic.twitter.com/VSBTKbCBmO
Shaw came up through the Red Sox organization before being traded prior to the 2017 season as part of the Tyler Thornburg deal. That trade certainly did not turn out great for the Red Sox, though after raking when he first arrived in Milwaukee Shaw has not been the same the last few years. He has been below average at the plate by wRC+ in each of the last three seasons, getting 202 plate appearances in the majors this season with a 68 wRC+. (Meaning he’s been 32 percent worse than league-average by that measure.)
Still, Shaw has experience at first base and hits from the left side. I wouldn’t expect him to play in a straight platoon with Dalbec, as the latter should start getting more chances against righties the way he’s been swinging. Shaw does, however, provide some potential insurance against another slump from Dalbec, and buys more time for Schwarber to learn to play first at least a little bit. With more than five years of service time under his belt, Shaw has the right to decline an option to Triple-A, so he’ll likely be added to the active roster as soon as Tuesday.
With the move, the Red Sox 40-man stands at 40, though another move may need to be made soon. Josh Taylor was put on the COVID list prior to Sunday’s game, which took him off the 40-man for the time being. It’s not clear how long his absence will last, but when he does return another move will have to be made. There are a few DFA candidates still on the roster, most notably Danny Santana, Matt Andriese, Yacksel Ríos, and Austin Davis. In the more short-term, if Taylor is not back for the Yankees series starting on Tuesday, I’d expect Connor Wong to be sent down to make room for Shaw.