Are the Red Sox Jerking Around Josh Reddick’s Development?

By and large, I think the Red Sox do a pretty good job on player development. Sure, there has been an instance or two where the Sox rushed a player, as they did with Cla Meredith in 2005. But for the most part, the organization has been pretty responsible when it comes to development, striking a proper balance between promotion and preparedness.

But now comes word that Josh Reddick has been tapped to replace Mike Cameron, who is being DL’d with something akin to a sports hernia. I realize the Sox don’t have a ton of options in this space, but this strikes me as a move that is pretty short-sighted and one that could be avoided.

Here is my main concern:  Josh Reddick has a bright future but the Sox are retarding his development. I say this because last year – when the Sox got hit with some injuries – they hauled Reddick up to the majors with just 250 AA at bats on his resume. Granted, he mashed AA pitching last season (in a ptcher’s league) before he was slowed with a wrist strain, but generally speaking, Reddick was not ready to hit major league pitching. And guess what? He didn’t. Once he got the call, Reddick struggled, spent some time on the Boston bench and finally, he wrapped up the season by struggling at AAA. In essence, the Sox took a season that Reddick could have used as a great springboard and they turned it into a stop and go, 108-game mish mash for their young outfielder.

Now I will be the first to admit that the Sox didn’t have many options last year. And I will also concede that getting a taste of the majors had value for Reddick. But having said that, what Reddick really needed this year was a solid 300 at bats at Pawtucket. If he hit there like he did at Portland in 2009, then I would be the first to suggest promotion. But that doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards as Reddick will be playing at Fenway tonight.   

And I am not entirely sure I understand why Reddick was the big club’s first choice since the Sox now have four left-handed outfielders – Reddick, Ellsbury, Drew and Hermida. As such, wouldn’t have it made a little more sense to bring up Darnell McDonald from Pawtucket, a right-hander who is off to a fast start at AAA? Especially since the Sox face two lefties this week and perhaps another on Saturday.

Now what might happen is Reddick will play tonight and then head right back down to Pawtucket. McDonald can then be called up to  play against the Texas lefties and after that, Ellsbury should be ready to go and McDonald can slide back into a corner OF backup role until Cameron returns. That is a solution that works for me. What doesn’t work for me is a situation where Reddick is brought up, put in against a lot of left-handed pitching, loses confidence and eventually spends 3-4 nights a week on the bench while the Sox wait for Cameron.

As I mentioned earlier, I think Josh Reddick can be a big player for the Sox but he has to be given a chance to refine his approach. And once he gets his AAA at bats, I am all in favor of dropping him in the deep end. But in the meantime, I wish the Sox would stop jerking him around. Hopefully, this “jerk” will be  very short-lived.

Josh, now go out and Prove me wrong by roping a couple of doubles.

Editors Note: The Sox have put Ellsbury on the DL and called up MacDonald to fill in. With Ellsbury and Cameron both out, Backtofoulke realizes that the Sox have no choice but to use Reddick. The question now becomes, who gets sent down when Ellsbury returns from the DL in a week? My preference and guess is Reddick but who knows, maybe he rakes this week and the Sox just roll the dice that it conitnues. 

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