While there’s a literal arms race taking place in the National League West in the battle for Max Scherzer (which still isn’t finalized... weirdly), the American League East is going all in for the bats.
After Tampa Bay acquired Nelson Cruz, the Yankees went out and acquired Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo. Then, last night, the Boston Red Sox landed left-handed bat Kyle Schwarber.
The AL East has added 85 home runs to the division in a week.
The biggest concern remaining for the Red Sox is first base, which is why Rizzo going to the Yankees is a slap in the face. I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to add to that position today before the deadline, as well as bullpen help. Maybe a reunion with reliever Craig Kimbrel is in order.
Schwarbah, who is currently on the Injured List with a hamstring injury, is expected back in the next ten days to two weeks, was hitting .253/.340/.570 with a .910 OPs, 25 home runs, and 53 RBI. Kiké Hernandez has been red hot in the leadoff spot, so slotting Schwarbs into the second spot in the lineup behind Hernandez and ahead of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez looks to make the most sense. That’s a really solid top five to a lineup.
Schwarbah will likely take over as the everyday left fielder in front of the Green Monstah and Fenway Pahk, with Alex Verdugo moving to centerfield and Hernandez moving down to second base. As soon as he blasts a wicked dingah ovah the monstah, Bean Town will rally behind him. In 2018, the playoff hero was Steve Pearce, or “MVPearce” as Boston affectionately called him. He was named the World Series MVP, and instantly became a folk hero in Boston.
Schwarbs has the opportunity to ingratiate himself similarly to the Red Sox faithful as they prepare for a playoff run. With Boston clinging to a 1.5 game lead over the Rays, the AL East is going to be one of the great storylines over the final two months of the season. The storylines kick off with a crucial weekend series between the Red Sox and Rays, starting tonight. Buckle up.