Sports

Boston should add two reds to the Red Sox

Two of the best baseball players in the past two decades who grew up in Cincinnati have enjoyed the team’s success in red hats and leggings, which should have excited fans in their hometown. Unfortunately for those in Queen City, these favorite sons became stars not for the Reds, but for the Red Sox.

Current Boston sensation Andrew Benintendi was drafted in the first round from Madeira’s suburban high school, and just a few seasons later he finished among the top picks for the AL Rookie of the Year award. Ten years earlier, Boston had discovered outfielder Kevin Youkilis, who would become a Red Sox All-Star, while playing for the University of Cincinnati.

Baseball executives in Bean Town may want to rest two more Cincinnati players before the trade deadline next month, only the duo will have to be pulled from the Reds instead of the draft. Any deal would cost Boston very little in return, as the rebuilding Reds are more interested in opening up playing time for younger players.

Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton is a talented defensive center fielder and base runner, but he has been a below-average hitter throughout his career. Still, ESPN Buster Olney believes Hamilton’s speed would be an advantage for any contending team, according to his June 18 column.

Olney didn’t include Boston among the three clubs he deemed suitable for Hamilton, but the Red Sox have several reasons for acquiring him. Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr is still hitting well below the Mendoza Line, nearly midway through the 2018 season. He is one of the few players Hamilton is out-hitting, and the latter would be an improvement on defense.

The Reds also have an even better asset to sell to the Red Sox, second baseman Scooter Gennett. His .336 batting average is second best in the National League and he has been selected twice as Player of the Week. Boston has been reluctant to move up to second place, awaiting the return of All-Star Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list.

In fact, Pedroia came off the disabled list last week, only to be re-placed after just one game. With division rival the Yankees proving to be one of the best teams in the league, the Red Sox can’t afford to wait for Pedroia to fully heal.

Right now Boston is using Eduardo Escobar in second place, a veteran presence to be sure, but more of a utility infielder than an everyday player. Gennett would be a great improvement, and is versatile enough to move elsewhere if Pedroia returns.

Perhaps through that deal, Cincinnati could get some gems out of Boston. That could help atone for the Red Sox taking Benintendi and Youkilis from the Reds’ hometown.

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