The new J.B. Shuck/Jordan Danks reality

Chances are, if a waiver claim player threatens your job security, you never had job security. You might not have even had the job.

This is the reality that the out-of-options Jordan Danks, whose ten-day stranglehold--again, probably not, as it turns out--on the fifth outfielder slot was rudely interrupted by the Sox claiming J.B. Shuck off waivers, a speedy, left-handed spare outfielder who is about half as tall as Danks and strikes a third as often.

Shuck as a Danks alternative makes enough sense. Before he hit like what Moises did to get booted out of Toronto--Shuck hit .145/.168/.209 in 114 plate appearances in 2014--his awesome contact rate (10.7 career K%) allowed him to be someone who could at least get on base and not skunk up every rally with a three-pitch strikeout. Shuck's .293/.331/.366 line in nearly full-time work in 2013 is a far larger sample. Let's focus on it with tunnel vision! He played next to Mike Trout that year. Maybe some Trout particles rubbed off on him.

Given Adam Eaton's lack of durability, and De Aza's departure, one might think securing a spare outfielder who can field the middle at an excellent level while sitting on the no. 9 slot, might be a better fit than some unproven tweener (defensively, that is) be a master of no trades, jack of several. Shuck being unable to hit right-handed pitching (.257/.300/.327 in 540 plate appearances is an even larger sample) is not a very positive trait for a lefty to have. He doesn't even make a good platoon pairing with Dayan Viciedo, though half of that is Viciedo's fault.

Shuck is probably better than Danks, because, well, why wouldn't he be?

In the context of the Moises Sierra waiver, Shuck is curious acquisition, since he reads as a less toolsy and entertaining version of the same scattershot production. Shuck's provided some entertaining moments in his career too, but he's kind of fell into them. Sierra's rather careless parting was an acceptable enough way to clear space, but Shuck adds more clutter, so now our only solace is to realize this is a November waiver claim and it probably won't mean much come Spring Training other than "who is this guy batting in the seventh inning of this Spring Training game?"


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