Two weeks remain in the worst Red Sox season in modern history.
The losses matter less and less every day. Thirty....Thirty-one.....Does is matter anymore?
For more than a month, it's been obvious that the Red Sox weren't going to qualify for the postseason, even with an expanded playoff format. By the time the team mercifully got around to ending their nine-game losing streak -- itself, nearly one-sixth of the schedule -- it was apparent that the rest of the season was going to play out with little to no significance.
But there are a few things still to be determined in St. Petersburg, Miami, Fenway and Atlanta.
Here are four:
- Who's the next second baseman?
We know now, certainly, that it's not Jose Peraza., who hit .198 after Opening Day and did little to distinguish himself, offensively or defensively. Peraza is likely to be non-tendered for the second straight year.
It's also not Jonathan Arauz. Early in the season, Arauz showed an ability to respond to the big moment, coming up some big hits late in games. He didn't appear awed or intimidated by his surroundings. But the more the season progressed, the more Arauz struggled. Since Aug. 16, he's slashed just .107/.242/.143 and his playing opportunities have dwindled.
All of which isn't to suggest that he doesn't have a future with the organization. As a Rule 5 selection, he played in big leagues at 21, having played little above Single A previously. He's athletic and poised. But he needs more development, which should hardly be a surprise given his age and inexperience.
That leaves two other candidates on the roster: Christian Arroyo and Yairo Munoz.
Arroyo has gotten more time there of late and has responded well with the bat while at times appearing unsure of himself defensively. It's clear that Chaim Bloom sees something in Arroyo -- he helped obtain him for Tampa Bay in the deal that sent Evan Longoria to San Francisco and then claimed him from Cleveland last month.
Bloom liked that Arroyo appeared to unlock some extra-base power last year at Triple A, where he slugged .603, and in 2020, every position is thought of as an offensive position. If Arroyo can demonstrate that he can be at least a league-average defender at the position, he could go into the winter as the presumptive favorite.
Munoz may be better suited for a super-utility role, someone who can literally fill in everywhere except center field and behind the plate. Again, look to Tampa Bay, Bloom's previous place of employment, for clues -- the Rays love versatility. In an era when teams often carry just four extra position players, it's more important than ever for players to play at multiple spots. Such a role is likely to Munoz's future with the Sox.