MILWAUKEE — If Travis Shaw were the vindictive type, now might just be the best possible time to see his former team.

Dealt in the winter by the Boston Red Sox for relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg, Shaw is off to a strong start with the Milwaukee Brewers. He has seven homers and 24 RBI, both more than anyone on the Red Sox entering Wednesday night’s game.

Meanwhile, Thornburg has yet to pitch and the Sox are a mess at third base.

Injuries to Pablo Sandoval, Brock Holt and Marco Hernandez have left Boston to rely on Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero at the position. The Sox have more errors at third than any other team has at any single position, and no team has received less overall production at third than Boston, according to Baseball Reference’s wins above replacement.

But while Shaw isn’t exactly vindictive, he wasn’t shy when explaining one of his goals with Milwaukee.

“I want to win the trade,” he said. “I want to make Milwaukee look way better than Boston looks for trading me. As a competitor, everybody would say the same thing. The guy you get traded for, you want to do better than him.”

He was diplomatic when asked about Boston’s situation at third base.

“It is what it is,” said Shaw. “I keep track obviously of the Red Sox and all the friends I have on the team. I check some boxscores. It’s an interesting situation that some guys have been thrown into.”

Shaw wasn’t exactly floored by the Dec. 7 deal that sent him, Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington to the Brewers for Thornburg.

Always a self-aware player, Shaw saw the writing on the wall late last season with the way the Red Sox ran away from him at third base in September and October, and the way they talked up Sandoval’s recovery from shoulder surgery.

“I knew they were going to give Pablo another chance,” he said. “If there was a position player to be moved that offseason, it made sense to me that I would possibly be the one that was going to go.”

Indeed, those wishing Shaw was still in Boston have to acknowledge he was an imperfect fit for the roster, at least as far as the front office saw it. Like Sandoval, he was much better against right-handed pitchers than left-handed ones. His second-half slide prevented the Sox from seeing him as a long-term solution at first base.

Looking back at his first full season in the majors, Shaw concedes he didn’t produce as hoped in the second half of the season – when he hit .194 with a .259 on-base percentage. In his mind, one of the main problems was his mindset, especially after Boston acquired Aaron Hill – from Milwaukee, of all places – in early July to split time with him.

“I started trying to figure out what they were doing and that’s out of my control: Am I going to be in the lineup? Why are they trading for Aaron Hill?” Shaw said.

“There’s a couple things I didn’t handle probably as well as I should have, looking back on it now. I lost some rhythm and tried to overcorrect, and it completely backfired on me.”

By September the Sox were looking elsewhere at third. Boston anointed Yoan Moncada as its everyday third baseman after one game. When he didn’t take, the Sox turned to Brock Holt for the postseason.

“It (hurt) a little bit, knowing you were the guy for most of the year and down the stretch, in the most important time, they were going somewhere else,” said Shaw.

“It wasn’t fun for me personally. … You just came to the park hoping to get another shot. Just for the last three or four weeks of the season, it wasn’t there on a daily basis.”

Shaw started 111 of Boston’s first 132 games; he started only 16 of the last 33, including the postseason.

Now in Milwaukee, Shaw is aiming to be more consistent throughout the season than a year ago, something he expects to come with time.

“Looking back on it, I had to take into account that last year was my first full season in the big leagues,” he said. “A lot of guys go through some ups and downs in their first full season. I was no exception to that.”

Shaw admitted he’d be “hyped up a little bit” this week with the Sox in town, and he still stays in consistent touch with a number of former teammates, including Mookie Betts and David Price. For him, while leaving Boston provided greater opportunities on the field, it was difficult to leave the only organization he ever had known.

“That was the hardest part. You don’t want to leave those guys,” he said, mentioning being part of the organization’s much-ballyhooed 2011 draft class. “That was the part that (was lousy), realizing I wouldn’t be playing with them. I made some really good friendships over there – friends for life. That’s not going to go away just because I got traded.”