Red Sox

It’s Absurd to Jump to Conclusions about Rusney Castillo, Pablo Sandoval and the Red Sox Now

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COMMENTARY

I don’t suppose a Jump To Conclusions Mat was among the 20,400 baseballs, 1,000 bats, and 100-pound dumbbells Hanley Ramirez has been eating whole loaded onto the southbound equipment truck February 12 for the trip to Fort Myers.

But judging by some of the hyperventilated nonsense we’ve heard and read from Red Sox camp this spring, such an item has been as essential for a certain segment of sunburn-necked reporters this spring as pens, tape recorders, and ugly golf shirts.

There have been two particularly absurd story lines conjured from conclusions derived from puny sample sizes and events that will long since have been forgotten by the time the temperature eclipses 60 degrees around here.

We won’t waste much too time on them now. You know what they are, and they don’t require much discussion to debunk, with three freakin’ weeks left in spring training.

The first is this: Is Pablo Sandoval too sensitive for the Boston market? C’mon. We’re doing this already? To this guy?

Sure, he’s chirped some surprising things about San Francisco, where he spent the first seven years of his career. He also has three World Series rings and an 1.162 career OPS in those three World Series, leading us to conclude without much of a leap at all that this is a man who has earned his own jewelry.

If he can handle October, time and again and again, he can handle the “pressure” of the Boston media market, a notion, by the way, that matters at all only to those employed in the Boston media. Sandoval will be fine here. He’s a good player, and besides, Papi has his back.

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The second absurd, Bob Beamon-esque bound to a conclusion this spring? This: Did the Red Sox really need to sign Rusney Castillo. I mean, I suppose they didn’t need to. But spending $72 million on a multi-tool, Ron Gant-style hitter who can play center field? That seems like a smart thing to do, not one that should be a cause for finger-wagging panic just 40 (impressive) plate appearances into his career.

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Yes, the Red Sox have more outfielders than they know what to do with right now, especially with Mookie Betts looking like he’s going to be the best damn Mookie ever to play the game. Yes, Castillo hurt his oblique early. The latter matters not at all in the long run.

Shane Victorino can be traded if he can stay healthy, and if he can’t well, there’s Castillo’s spot right in the lineup right there. Over in left field, Hanley Ramirez isn’t exactly making Cal Ripken Jr. nervous about his record.

Of course, the Red Sox have certain dilemmas, just like every other team. It’s nuts that anyone who is familiar with Clay Buchholz’s enigmatic career trusts him to lead a staff now. The rotation absolutely will need a high-end reinforcement before the summer is over, though I’m beginning to think Eduardo Rodriguez could eventually play a bigger role in their success than many expect now, three weeks before Opening Day.

But here is one conclusion that is easily drawn, and no leap of faith is required: The Red Sox have a lot of intriguing and potentially excellent players, especially on offense, and their positions and roles will probably sort themselves out organically.

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Everything else is just worrying for attention or out of a lack of inspiration.

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