For some, Joe Kelly's words on 'The Baseball Show To Be Named Later' Saturday with Rob Bradford and Steve Perrault might have been uncomfortable.
Comparing anybody to the ultra-popular Brock Holt in these parts can be a dicey proposition.
But, on the other hand, when the former Red Sox and current Dodger brought up Brock Holt's name when trying to describe what Boston is getting in Kikè Hernandez, it should have offered the kind of optimism Sox fans are starved for these days.
"He is a step in the right direction in that regard," said Kelly when talking about adding personality to the Red Sox' clubhouse. "And, I bet he’s not listening but I’m going to say this … Brock Holt is not going to like this but I’m going to put this out there: Kiké is an athletic version of Brock Holt.
"I love Brock. Brock is my brother. Brock knows he’s not the greatest athlete in the world. I didn’t say he’s a better baseball player. I just said he’s Brock Holt but a better all-around athlete. He can run better. He can jump higher."
Kelly certainly speaks with admiration when surfacing the name of Holt, who stayed in the reliever's Arizona home during last spring training. Like Hernandez, Holt's value is partly due to the kind of enthusiastic presence good teams usually possess.
"I can only imagine," said Kelly when the topic of how different the Red Sox' clubhouse became without guys like Holt. "The good thing is that when people are moping around Kikè is always the guy who is like, ‘Hey, pick head out of your ass.’ Or, ‘Pick it up!’ He will bring energy. That’s huge."
So why don't teams prioritize these sort of personalities when building rosters? "I don’t know why they don’t," Kelly said. "Honestly, the team that are smart know that’s a thing. The teams that win. Usually former baseball players who are managers who played the game they know it so when they become managers they always have a guy like that on their team. Dave Roberts. Alex Cora is back in Boston and Cora loves Kikè. It’s always good.
"You need the vocal guy and you need the guy who brings the energy because not every time … If a manager is doing that you’re like, ‘Alright, save it.’ You don’t really take it to heart like you would as a position player or a pitcher, which Kikè is kind of like that."
When it comes to Hernandez the player, Kelly also passed on that the Red Sox are getting someone who has the ability to fill the second base position on a full-time basis.
While Hernandez -- whose contract with the Red Sox is for two years at $14 million -- has moved around the diamond quite a bit, he has appeared in at least 80 percent of the Dodgers games over the last four years.
"Kiké likes to have a good attitude if he’s playing or not playing," Kelly said. "He’s one of the guys during the playoff run I had a lot of pregame speeches and Kikè was the first guy to come up to me and say, ‘The boys need it. Let’s go!’ He would drag me out of the clubhouse and try to get the boys all riled up. Kiké would be yelling at the boys me. Kikè is one of those hype men. What you’re getting out of Kiké is he takes it to heart when he doesn’t play. He thinks he is an everyday guy and I think he’s an everyday guy, but obviously we were on a team that won the World Series and we were loaded. He plays plus defense at every position and you can look up the metrics and I bet it would say the same thing. It’s pretty crazy for how many positions he plays. It’s very exciting. And he has some pop. He will hit a big homer in a big situation. Playoff Kiké is fun. He’s always going deep in moments you really need it."
The pitcher added, "If he’s not an everyday second baseman he’s an every day player. You can move him to left. Or you move him to center. You move him to move him to short. You move him to first. You can put him anywhere."