The end was not as envisioned. There was no number retirement ceremony. No standing ovations. No ceremonial last start. Not even one final appearance as a pinch runner. Just another transaction on the waiver wire:
5/18/17 Boston Red Sox designate LF Chase d’Arnaud for assignment
But, the end is a strange place to begin. One must go back to April to find the beginning. The Red Sox were reeling from third base injuries. Brock Holt went to the DL on April 21. Pablo Sandoval followed a mere four days later. On April 27, the Red Sox took a chance, picking up Chase off waivers from the Atlanta Braves. d’Arnaud came to the Red Sox with a fine batting line of .375/.500/.375 and a defensive portfolio that rivaled Holt’s – having appeared at second, third, short, and all three outfield positions in his MLB career.
He was a quick hit with the fans of Red Sox nation, asking young fans for their autographs:
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 30, 2017
And, who can forget his photograph of Hanley Ramirez with a young fan after hitting a bomb:
Or receiving his special shoes for mother’s day:
You know Mothers' Day is approaching when you open up a box with these inside pic.twitter.com/GGYB4XNfTe
— Chase d'Arnaud (@chasedarnaud) May 12, 2017
But, Chase is first and foremost a talented baseball player. Manager John Farrell strived to be fair to his fellow brethren in the managerial fraternity, seeking to avoid blowing out every team by strategically deploying his new weapon. It was not until May 7 in Minnesota that Farrell found the first opportunity to utilize his talents.
In his first game played in two and a half weeks, d’Arnaud came in to pinch run for Dustin Pedroia in the top of the ninth inning. The Red Sox had already scored seven runs in the inning, but were merely up eight runs against the Twins. Xander Bogaerts would triple moments after Chase entered the contest, scoring Mookie Betts and Chase with the eighth and ninth runs of the frame.
Chase would stay in the game for the bottom of the inning at second base, and would quickly show his defensive skills. With one out and Jorge Polanco on first base, Miguel Sano topped a grounder to third baseman Deven Marrero – who had just been called up by the Red Sox after Marco Hernandez had followed Holt and Sandoval onto the DL – who threw a bullet to d’Arnaud at second base, who made the catch and then tossed the ball to Mitch Moreland at first for the game-ending double play.
Two days later, Farrell was able to utilize the potent bat of Chase. With the Red Sox down 6-1 with one out in the top of the fifth against the Milwaukee Brewers, d’Arnaud was asked to pinch hit for Red Sox starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz. The right-handed batter drove a shot to shortstop for an infield single. He would quickly score on Mookie Betts’ double, igniting a three-run rally for Boston. Unfortunately, the Red Sox were unable to capitalize on the big inning and would end up on the losing end of the game, 11-7.
For the next week and a half, Farrell failed to find the perfect spot to utilize his perfect weapon. With the need for both a 40-man spot and a 25-man spot to call up Hector Velazquez for his spot start last Thursday, it was, unfortunately, time for d’Arnaud to go.
In his month-long stint with Boston, Chase was nothing less than perfect:
Two times on base – scoring two runs
One at-bat – one hit
One inning in the field – one putout, one assist, one double play
Chase was picked off of waivers by the San Diego Padres on Sunday. I, for one, wish him the best of luck. But, whatever happens on the West Coast, Chase will always be able to look back at his time in Boston fondly. After all, not many ballplayers can claim they had a perfect stint for any team.