He’s given the team depth when they needed it the most.
Travis Shaw has been one of the Red Sox’ many mid-season additions that have contributed in a significant way for the team. After most people were down on Chaim Bloom’s deadline moves, the likes of Shaw, Kyle Schwarber, and José Iglesias have been instrumental in the Sox’ postseason push. For me, it’s been a lot of fun to see Travis Shaw back in a Red Sox uniform.
I look back quite fondly on the 2016 Red Sox, mostly because it was the last chance we had to watch David Ortiz take the field at Fenway Park. Those Sox were a solid team that won 93 games and the division, and Travis Shaw played a big role with them, appearing in 145 games and accumulating a valuable 1.7 bWAR. If I recall correctly, he made the final out in that ALDS against the Indians, but we can forget that.
Despite his stellar performance, Shaw was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers for Tyler Thornburg the following offseason, and I was not a fan. While Thornburg was plagued with injuries and struggled heavily on the field, Shaw produced a spectacular 8 bWAR over the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The Sox sure looked like the clear losers in that swap.
Shaw began to falter after 2018, however, and he stumbled through two very unproductive seasons with the Brewers and Blue Jays. Although he re-signed with the Brewers at the start of this season, he once again struggled to re-gain his 2017-18 form and was placed on waivers with a .616 OPS in mid-August.
Enter the Red Sox. To be honest, I didn’t see Shaw and the Red Sox as a match, especially considering his lackluster first half performance as well as the depth the Sox had at the time. But the move has definitely paid off. Shaw has provided infield depth and a power bat off the bench, something that was quite important while the Sox battled their COVID outbreak. In 21 appearances, Shaw has contributed an excellent .908 OPS, as well as a few fun moments that include a tank job walk-off grand slam.
At the end of the day, it’s been fun to see Travis Shaw back in the Red Sox’ clubhouse. He hasn’t been a season-saving addition, but he’s given the team solid depth and some nice at-bats off the bench. It’s always enjoyable when a former Red Sox player comes back to the org and contributes (also looking at you, Jose Iglesias).