The Red Sox have handled Bogaerts just right, in my humble opinion, and the timing is perfect to bring him up to the big club, perhaps to stay.
Many were blinded by Jose Iglesias's hot start to the season. Those short-sighted fans (Boston fans short-sighted?) forgot that their shortstop of the future was in Double-A at the time.
Once Iglesias, unsurprisingly, cooled off in June, many rediscovered this Bogaerts kid (who was now raking at Triple-A) and clamored for him to get the call-up and play third base. Heck, he could be the next Manny Machado-- a youngster, not even drinking age, who could be converted from shortstop to third base and provide a spark down the stretch. Play him, Sam (or John or Ben)!
Iglesias got traded in late July, and fans had their hands hovering over the panic button. There were rumblings of the Red Sox being interested in bringing in a veteran third baseman from outside the organization. Michael Young was the name du jour. But he was never the answer.
Fans had to endure watching Brock Holt and Brandon Snyder man third base for a week. The panic button was now being pressed violently and often. "Bring Bogaerts up NOW!"
Instead, the Red Sox called up Will Middlebrooks. After a hot start to his career, Middlebrooks struggled in his second season in the majors. What was suppose to be a short injury rehab stint at Triple-A Pawtucket turned into a prolonged demotion. Middlebrooks suddenly didn't seem to factor in fans' long-term plans for the Red Sox. Many callers on sports radio were trying to include him in trades. If you follow talk radio at all, you know callers only include players in trade offers if they don't want them around anymore.
I think the Red Sox did everything right in regards to this situation. I always wanted the Red Sox to trade the light-hitting Iglesias when his value was at its highest. They did (almost too late). They got a former Cy Young Award winner for him! I'm still in shock.
Trading anything for Michael Young would have been a mistake. The 36-year-old's defense has diminished and his power is non-existent. He is a name only.
The answer was to call up Middlebrooks first. I never soured on him. I was always in favor of giving Middlebrooks first dibs on getting his third base job back. If he continued to falter by mid-August, then call up Bogaerts to see if he's ready to handle third base at the big league level.
That plan ensured that Bogaerts got a couple more weeks of seasoning at Triple-A. If, by the end of August, both Middlebrooks and Bogaerts failed at third base, the Red Sox would have to scour the waiver wire. I've been advocating all along bringing in Milwaukee's Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez has a bum knee and would require extended days off which would play perfectly when trying to find some playing time for a youngster like Bogaerts.
Middlebrooks has been playing extremely well, however, since returning to Boston. Am I comfortable with Middlebrooks at third base and hitting in the middle of the order if the Red Sox make the playoffs? Maybe not, but I feel better about the situation than I did a few weeks ago.
While Middlebrooks's resurgence has been encouraging, another twist, no pun intended, makes the desire for Bogaerts now a necessity. Mike Napoli missed Sunday's game with plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is not something that goes away overnight. Albert Pujols has seen his season end due to the injury.
If Napoli is out for any amount of time, that creates another void at first base and in the middle of the lineup. Daniel Nava, Sunday's starter at first base, is not the answer. The long-term answer may be to shift Middlebrooks to first base and have Bogaerts play third base.
Overnight, the Red Sox have become exciting again. Bogaerts should provide a spark this team so desperately needs. Bogaerts has hit well at every level. He has passed every test. He looks major league ready. He might not be Machado, Mike Trout, or Bryce Harper, but the Red Sox hope he can impact this year's pennant races like Yasiel Puig and Wil Myers have.