The Boston Red Sox weren’t expected to be contenders in 2021, but they exceeded all reasonable expectations.
The club made a run all the way to the ALCS and came within two wins of reaching the World Series.
Ultimately, the Houston Astros ended up being too much for Boston to handle, but it was still an exciting year for the Red Sox and their fans.
Boston got contributions from a variety of surprising players throughout the year.
Travis Shaw was one of those players.
The 31-year-old, who started his career with Boston before being traded away several years ago, found himself back with the Red Sox this season after being claimed off waivers in August.
He wasn’t expected by many to be a hugely impactful addition for the Red Sox, but in the end, he was.
Shaw Made His Presence Felt With The Red Sox
Shaw ended up appearing in 28 games for the Red Sox in the regular season.
The returns were solid, as he posted an OPS of .843 and OPS+ of 119.
Arguably his best moment of the year came on August 23, as he blasted a walk-off grand slam in one of his first games after rejoining the Red Sox.
🚨WALK-OFF GRAND SLAM! 🚨
Travis Shaw wins it for the @RedSox!
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 23, 2021
Shaw’s grand slam in this game was massive, as the team wound up needing every one of its 92 regular-season wins to avoid playing a Game 163.
For many Red Sox fans, it was nostalgic to see Shaw back with the team.
He was back like he never left, and to some folks, it seems like he belongs in Boston.
Could He Return To The Red Sox In 2022?
Shaw is a free agent this winter.
He figures to find a home somewhere, but the market probably won’t be very competitive for him.
Could the Red Sox scoop him up?
It certainly seems possible.
He would likely come at a very low price, and it would be a low-risk, high-reward type deal.
The Red Sox know what he’s capable of — they saw it first-hand during his first stint with the team.
From 2015 to 2018, Shaw posted an OPS of .808 and averaged 29 home runs per 162 games (it should be noted that two of those seasons came with the Milwaukee Brewers).
Travis Shaw majestic home run! 💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/sWu2xYSOng
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) April 26, 2016
His production has dropped off since then, however.
He’s batting just .194 with a .634 OPS since the start of the 2019 season.
Shaw, 31, is still relatively young, but he needs to turn things around.
Perhaps his strong showing with Boston in 2021 was exactly what he needed to flip a switch on his career.
Only time will tell, but it would be really interesting to see him in a Red Sox uniform for another season.
The bottom line is that Shaw’s time with the Red Sox was successful this season.
The team didn’t accomplish the ultimate goal of winning the World Series, but who knows if Boston’s deep playoff run would have happened without Shaw’s contributions?
For both Shaw and the Red Sox, the focus now shifts to the offseason.
It’ll be interesting to see if the two sides end up at the negotiating table.