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Monday Morning Brushback: Decisions, Decisions

The Red Sox week in review dives into Triston Casas, Kiké Hernandez, and more.

Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

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We’ve now seen 100 installments into the canon that is the 2023 Red Sox, and yet the outlook of the remaining 62 editions are still not completely clear.

Here we stand at the start of a new week with Boston and its 53 wins sitting just outside of the playoff party looking in—gotta name one of the frat brothers or trade for some rotational help to get in, dude. A series win at Wrigley and two wins out of three at home against the Mets sandwich a terribly disappointing trip to the Bay Area. The team’s long-term strategy for success has been evident, but the short-term plan is more murky.

I feel like a broken record saying this, but there really is no rhyme or reason with this club. They’re a respectable 38-32 against teams above .500, which makes losing a series against the worst team in the league all the more frustrating. Maybe I should take my previous advice, throw my arms up, and laugh at the absurdity and the nonsense. Maybe I’ll fix myself a strawberry margarita while I enjoy the chaos. What else can ya do at this point?

It’s Monday Morning Brushback time, y’all.

It’s Gotta Be The Fingernails

New York Mets v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

I think it’s officially safe to say that Triston Casas has arrived on the MLB scene. I’ve seen enough to call it, like I’m working on cable news on Election Night and I’m calling Massachusetts blue right as the polls close.

After a tough start to his first full campaign with the big club, the young first baseman has really begun to find his groove. June 1 is a fine—if not arbitrary—frame of reference: since that date, Casas has hit over .300 while driving in 19 and logging 19 extra base hits. He’s hit five homers this month alone—two of which were pivotal in Saturday night’s victory over those Metropolitans.

I wrote this last month in reference to the youngster and I’ll write it again now: progression for players is not linear. Casas’ struggles were always slated to be temporary growing pains, since the raw tools were always there. His eye has always been great for his age (94th percentile in walk rate this year), and he’s always had good raw power that would translate well in between the lines of the diamond (84th percentile in average exit velo and 91st percentile in barrel rate). The blueprint to his success was always there, even as he stumbled out of the gates the first month-and-change to start 2023.

Sending Casas back down to Worcester was never going to be the answer. Instead, trusting the profile was always the play. Now those abilities are coming to pass: Casas has brought his OPS to over .800 and his OPS+ to nearly 120—hell, I’ll take that from a young corner bat who’s ceiling only suggests better things to come.

I say he should keep painting those fingernails, baby.

Go West (Again), Young Man?

Oakland Athletics v Boston Red Sox Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

There have been whispers that non-All-Star player (but All-Star goof) Kiké Hernández could be reuniting with his former club with the August 1 trade deadline looming, as the Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly interested in adding a right-handed bat for their playoff push.

This potential development comes as the Red Sox stare down the Pablo Reyes decision following his rehab assignment, which is due to be made prior to Tuesday (good writing tip: don’t write “tomorrow” or “today” when referencing a date; who knows when people are gonna be reading one of these bad boys). By the time you’re reading this on Monday (see, there’s that writing tip again), that decision on his future—or Kiké’s future, or Christian Arroyo’s future—may have already been made. I don’t have a crystal ball, although I’m hoping I can use the OTM company card for one.

As much as I appreciate what Kiké has done in the past (read as: not 2023), and as fun of a guy in the clubhouse he might be, you’ve basically gotta take any deal on the table that involves him, no? I mean any deal for his services. The guy’s lost his everyday role by the tune of a sub-.600 OPS and some straight up bad defense in the infield. If one of those middle infielders is going to be sent packing by Tuesday, it probably should be Hernández.

So if you can get something from the guy who might just be DFA’d anyways, and if that trade suitor is the team he previously won a Mickey Mouse championship with, then what’s the hold up? What’s the worry there? I’m sure it may not seem that simple from within the walls of the front offices involved, but on the surface that does feel like a solution that could benefit all parties.

I thank Kiké for those 2021 memories, but pulling a Biggie Smalls by going back to Cali might be his best bet.

Help Is Just Around The Corner

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Yay, Trevor Story’s rehab assignment began this week!

The $140 million man started getting his in-game reps in Double-A Portland this past weekend—not a moment too soon given the middle infield kerfuffle that the Major League club currently finds itself in.

Story was able to flash some highlights at the plate and on the field, crushing a three-run ding-a-ling on Friday and flashing some leather on a play to his right before throwing the runner out from short on Sunday.

Now, should we take a ton away from these performances at Double-A to begin a rehab assignment? No, probably not . . . but that isn’t gonna stop me from doing so, baybeeeee! Shortstop issue is fixed, World Series is back on, no take is too crazy now that Story is coming back into the fold!

Seriously though, it’s nice to see that the elbow looks fine from short. Story’s range defensively was never in question, so to have the arm to compliment that ability on defense will be quite the breath of fresh air. Mix in some (hopefully) good offensive production, and then maybe we’ll have the antidote to at least some of the hiccups we’ve seen up to this point of the season.

Also: the streets are starving for the Story-Mayer combo up the middle. I need it like I need air to breathe.

Song Of The Week: “Changes” by David Bowie

We’re probably gonna be seeing some roster changes in the coming days, so this feels fitting. Plus: there’s never a bad time for some Ziggy.

Same time and same place next week, friends! Go Sox.

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