Infielder Traded by Red Sox to Braves One Week After Team Debut

The Red Sox pulled off a deal with the Atlanta Braves this week after leaving town with two losses in two games—their fourth loss in the previous five games—though it won’t go down as an MLB blockbuster by any means. A week after Zack Short made his Boston debut, the Red Sox traded him to Atlanta.

Short played in two Red Sox games, going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts, and seemingly giving the team all the information they required. Short made his debut the next day after Boston acquired him from the Mets on May 1. He is now playing for his third squad this month.

The Red Sox activated Romy Gonzalez from the injured list to take his spot. When he came back, he played first base and finished 1 for 4.

Ceddanne Rafaela is the shortstop for the Red Sox.
When Gonzalez rejoins the team, it will be intriguing to watch how Red Sox manager Alex Cora handles him. After a stellar start in Triple-A Worcester, he was first called up in early April and has the ability to play anywhere in the infield.

At that point, Trevor Story had already injured his shoulder and announced his season-ending injury eight games into the season, thus the plan was to platoon David Hamilton and Gonzalez at shortstop.

However, Cora decided to make Ceddanne Rafaela, a center fielder, the team’s regular shortstop, and he hasn’t changed his mind in the weeks that have passed. Rafaela has a terrific arm and incredible range, making him one of the game’s top center fielders. It goes without saying that the arm translates to shortstop, but he is still getting used to playing the position every day.

He is rated as a shortstop by Baseball Savant with minus-3 outs above average. In his 17 games at the position, he has made three mistakes. However, with his batting, he has been hitting better.263 in his final 17 games following a.161 start to the season in his first 20.

A Look Inside Wilyer Abreu
There’s more to pulling Rafaela out of the outfield than just trying to locate Story’s successor. It’s also about keeping up the development of youngster Wilyer Abreu, who may struggle to accumulate at-bats unless the Red Sox thinned out their outfield rotation.

Tyler O’Neill and Jarren Duran have regularly been included in the outfield mix. Rafaela can occupy center field, leaving little space for 25-year-old Abreu, who is eager to establish himself as a regular big-league player. According to MLBPipeline.com, Abreu started the season ranked as the No. 6 overall prospect in the organization after hitting.316 in 28 games with the Red Sox the previous year.

Abreu enjoyed an April explosion after a sluggish start (.111 in his first eight games), but he has since faltered, going 2-for-23 in his last six games.

However, the group must assess Abreu’s capabilities. Cora clarified that Rafaela’s presence in the infield is largely due to it.

Cora stated, “We’ll use him at short; he will play short,” according to Boston.com. But that has nothing to do with the shortstop issue. The goal here is to get at-bats for Abreu. Willie needs to play, I swear to you. Thus, this is how we’re going to locate him at-bats. Every day, he will play against righties. So, we’ll manage. He will play against righties, but we’ll rearrange guys.

Veteran sports writer Sean Deveney works for Heavy.com, covering the NBA, NFL, and MLB. With over 20 years of NBA coverage experience, including 17 years as the lead NBA correspondent for Sporting News, he has been writing for Heavy since 2019. Seven nonfiction works, including “Fun City,” “Before Wrigley became Wrigley,” and “Facing Michael Jordan,” have been written by Deveney.

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