Finally, a bridge to Casas

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Aug. 5—One of the Boston Red Sox longest-standing weaknesses has finally been addressed.

Thursday Eric Hosmer joined the Red Sox for the start of their series in Kansas City, and from here on out he will likely serve as the club's every day first baseman, limiting Bobby Dalbec to a reserve role off the bench.

A move like this is long overdue. The Red Sox have been more than patient with Dalbec but for two years straight failed to protect themselves with an adequate left-handed alternative entering the season. The original plan to take a flier on Travis Shaw blew up spectacularly and after a strong start Franchy Cordero proved he wasn't up to the task either.

Hosmer may have been a disappointment in San Diego, but he is still a four-time Gold Glove winner and a World Series champion who will provide a badly needed boost at first base.

"We have struggled to find stability at the first base position this year and we figure he'll provide that," Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said on Tuesday. "I think he's going to be helpful between the lines and in the clubhouse and we're really excited to get him here."

Beyond the impact he'll have on the field, the Red Sox are also only on the hook for a tiny fraction of Hosmer's remaining salary, which makes him the perfect bridge to top prospect Triston Casas.

The reason why the Red Sox have been hesitant to invest too heavily at the position is because they view Casas as the club's first baseman of the future. If he is meant to be the guy then signing a high-priced veteran to a multi-year deal wouldn't make sense, and Bloom said last week that has factored into their decision-making regarding the position.

"We think so highly of him we don't want to do anything that blocks off a path for him in the big picture," Bloom said.

In a perfect world Casas might already be in the big leagues ready to contribute, but those hopes were dashed after he missed two months with a sprained ankle. Now the best case scenario is perhaps a September cameo, but even if he had stayed healthy there's no guarantee he would have made an immediate impact. As we've seen with Jarren Duran and Brayan Bello, the transition from Triple-A to the big leagues often doesn't go smoothly.

Now with Hosmer in the fold, there's far less urgency.

"What it means is as we have hoped all along Triston's timetable is going to be determined by Triston," Bloom said. "Especially in a place like Boston but really anywhere you never want to have to bring a prospect to the major leagues out of desperation or because of a need, you want it to be because a player is really ready.

"Triston is now getting back on track, it stunk that he had to miss so much time with that injury but he is back on track and this doesn't mean anything as far as how we feel about him or his future or what he can accomplish," Bloom continued. "We think he's going to be a huge part of our future, this is just one more thing that allows us to do right by him and let him develop at his own pace."

With the Red Sox paying Hosmer the veteran's minimum through the next three seasons, Casas has all the time he needs. and whenever the Red Sox decide he is ready they can easily trade Hosmer, whether that's next year or further down the line.

Either way, the Red Sox finally have first base covered.

Email: mcerullo@northofboston.com.

Twitter: @MacCerullo.