In Praise of Juan Carlos Linares

Ortiz is likely to miss some of the Regular Season. Most of the options to replace him for a week or two interrupt development of young players or involve using trade chips. One option is both reasonable and keeps the organization in order: J.C. Linares.

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Can we be honest with each other?


David Ortiz is not likely to be ready for Opening Day. I know… I know… I heard the 5-7 day projection, but that was not a projection until he will be ready, that is the prescription for rest. He could be rushed back, but who wants to see an injured Papi go all 2009 again? No thanks. Get him straight.

In preparation for the possibility that Ortiz will likely miss some regular season, Pete Abraham wrote a typically thoughtful piece on the options for the Red Sox moving into the season. Frankly, coming off the disastrous 2012 season, each of the options seems reasonable. Anything has to be reasonable compared to the Pawtucket Rejects being wheeled out onto the Fenway infield last September.

Now remember how the Disabled List works to start the season. If Papi begins on the DL, that does not mean that he is out for the first 15 days of the season. The retroactive date for the 15 can be dated back into the Spring. Therefore, it is reasonable to start the 15 day clock now. Which means, finally, that Papi can start on the DL and start when he is ready, whether that means the second series or the second week.

So what are the options? Mauro Gomez (meh), Lavarnway (please catch him or designate him), Bradley (so, so tempting, but there are free agency clock and minor league at bat issues here), Overbay at first with Napoli at DH (you have to admit that this makes sense).

There is a wild card roll of the dice that Abraham adds almost as a footnote: Juan Carlos Linares.

I know, he looks like he is 43. I know, he has no Major League experience. A whole article could be written on his clear ceiling. But, again, we are talking a couple of weeks here, and we are talking about a designated hitter. Plus, his bat is hot and his spring – a time for competition – has to have made the powers that be take notice. Currently, he is hitting .364/.375/.545 in the spring. His career minor league numbers are .298/.346/.493, including .282/.312/.485 at AAA.

Listen, no one would suggest that he is going to be a Major League all-star. But, he is clearly capable of hitting. For what hopefully is a week or two without David Ortiz, he allows Bradley’s clock to sit at zero, keep Lavarnway developing his defensive game, and gives us the ability to shop Overbay to the likes of the Milwaukee Brewers or another first base needy team.

Now, when and if we find that Ortiz is going to need longer than a few weeks, I change my whole point. But for a short term attempt to catch lightning in a bottle, J.C. Linares keeps the organization in line and could provide some good at bats.

Categories: Boston Red Sox David Ortiz Jackie Bradley Juan Carlos Linares Ryan Lavarnway

Thinks Pedro deserved the MVP and that Justin Verlander did not, that Dwight Evans was better than Jim Rice, that Marty Barrett was a worthy choice as favorite Red Sox player when I was a child, that J.D. Drew was very good for the Olde Towne Team, that Fenway Sports group owning Liverpool is not a proper reason to support that loathsome soccer club, that Peter Gammons needs a key lock on his cell phone, still thinks that Nomar Garciaparra is better than Derek Jeter, and that, finally, there is no such thing as being completely bias-free. When not writing about or watching the Red Sox, I moonlight as a father, a husband, a pastor, a doctoral candidate, an infielder and #2 hitter on the church softball team, soccer fan, Disney pass holder, snark manufacturer, and pizza connoisseur. Free time free since 2001.

7 Responses to “In Praise of Juan Carlos Linares” Subscribe

  1. XDSRAY March 12, 2013 at 10:20 AM #

    Wow! Finally someone that makes sense. Give Linares a shot, he deserves it. I have a feeling people will be surprised at what this kid will do in the majors. He reminds me of a Cuban version of Kenny Dykstra.

  2. Chip Buck March 12, 2013 at 8:42 PM #

    I don't quite get the fascination with JC Linares. People seem to irrationally love him despite the fact he has played only 52 games at AAA. Was his production solid? Yes, but he was 27. He's supposed to hit that well at his age in AAA. Just as he's supposed to be lights out in AA at that age.

    It should be noted that his .364/.375/.545 line is only in 24 plate appearances, which means his performance isn't at all predictive. Additionally, Baseball-Reference has rated his ST competition as 7.5, meaning he's facing AAA quality competition (or worse).

    He may end up being a solid player, but I don't see him as any more than a Daniel Nava type. Nice player, but hardly worthy of being a starter–especially when better options like Mike Carp and Ryan Lavarnway are around.

  3. Tim Brooks March 12, 2013 at 8:50 PM #

    I agree with the assessment. Again, I do not think he is an all-star. I just think his short term inclusion could be productive while keeping the lineup in order. Further, at 27, it is worth a shot to see if he can be Daniel Nava.

  4. Steve H March 13, 2013 at 7:39 AM #

    Lenny Dykstra

  5. Steve R March 13, 2013 at 8:06 AM #

    Not on the 40-man. And I really don't see the Sox adding him before the likes of Ryan Sweeney. For a short-term hold plug, the Sox are going to look at options that don't require a 40-man roster move first.

    • Steve R March 13, 2013 at 8:06 AM #

      *hole* plug.

  6. Chris M. March 27, 2013 at 11:00 AM #

    Look JCL can flat out rake. He has hit at every level, his age means nothing. They signed him to see what he can do and he's proven he's a great hitter. He's earned the job in RF with the Red Sox. Say all you want about his number of ABs or his age, the fact is that he has produced at every level and proven he can hit. We can't assume he can't hit until his stats show that. We're about to give the job to Jonny Gomes who has proven he can't hit RH pitching and K's 33% of the time. The same can be said for both Salty and Napoli. This team has too many strikeout hitters, while JCL puts bat on ball.