Categories General Red Sox “Sox Diligent in Shortstop Search” Post author By SF Post date June 8, 2009 44 Comments on “Sox Diligent in Shortstop Search” Reads the headline of this Cafardo missive in the Globe. Oddly, Theo's four+ year quest for a reliable player at that position doesn't show up in this google inquiry. ← Andy And Andy: Rays-Yanks Gamer VIII → Contract Year Conspiracy Theory 44 replies on ““Sox Diligent in Shortstop Search”” A tad melodramatic, aren’t we? There are plenty of searches that have gone worse: OJ’s, the WMDs, Don Quixote’s, whatever Bono was looking for… But seriously, how is four years with various stopgap SSs a huge deal? The Texas Rangers haven’t had an entire pitching staff for their entire history. There’s probably a position on most teams that has been a bugbear for them over recent history stretching a lot longer than four years. I’m not even sure that they need another SS for the short-term this year. Wait, I didn’t say that the shortstop search was an Achilles Heel or anything! In fact, the Sox won a Series with LFRS, of all people. So it is clearly NOT the end-all position, and Theo’s travails at the position have been anything but crippling for the team. But still, the search has been quite futile, right? I think there are two factors that make the failed SS search all the more glaring: A) Nomar Garciaparra B) Derek Jeter We had our star shortstop, and he imploded. The Yankees still have theirs, and he’s still chuggin along. bingo, ath yep, at his peak, nomar was generally considered to be a better ss than jeter…my sox fan friends constantly hammered me about that…jeter only closed the gap a bit by being on a few championship teams… you can also add a “c” to your “a” and “b” ath: the best ss of the trilogy, arod, was blocked from the sox by the yankees, and turned into a 3b of all things… Good point dc, I still try to mentally block that failed trade from my mind. Nomar had a far higher ceiling, but that’s worthless if you can’t stay healthy. Jeter has been pretty damn consistent over the years, and the way his defense improved this year is impressive. I hate the Yanks, but have always had a lot of respect for Jeets. Speaking of his 2009 year, can you believe he has 11 stolen bases? That’s as many as he had in all of 2008, and he’s only been caught once. The Sox didn’t just have Nomar… they had Hanley Ramirez. They traded him for Beckett, and I don’t think many of you would want that back. Flags and all that. However, that was your SS of the future and since then it’s been a bit of a scramble to fill the position adequately. The Yankees didn’t really have a LFer for a number of years and still won titles. Hanley is a once-in-a-lifetime player, but the 2007 championship makes it well worth it. Beckett AND Lowell? I think this is one trade where both sides easily benefited. Having said that, I really wish Hanley was on this team. The speed, the power… it would have been so nice to see him instead of Renteria or Lugo in that spot. In the Sox defense, Hanley was under-performing in the minors: 2003: A, 111 games, 8 homers, .270/.327/.403 2004: A-AA, 100 games, 6 homers, .314/.363/436 2005: AA, 122 games, 6 homers, .271/.335/.385 Despite being a highly-touted prospect, he was inconsistent and wasn’t showing the power or plate discipline that he was supposed to have. Obviously he developed it very quickly when he started 2006 in the majors, but he was struggling in the Sox’ system. I still hold out hope that Loria will have a firesale and he’ll come back to Boston. Rob – where are you in CT? Seems like there are a few of us Nutmegers here. I wonder how long Nomar though would have stuck at SS. A-Rod would have reached his expiration date in the last few years. I’m still shocked Jeter has held on to the position. But I think that has more to do with his iconic status, the Yankees lack of an alternative, and their horrible roster management elsewhere than with his play. If the Yankees ever wanted to replace Jeter, the options are just as limiting. They’ve been trying to draft the position and all have been utter flops. I suspect we’ll see a glove-only SS like Pena for a few seasons before they buy into an older Hanley. There just aren’t very many two-way SS’s these days. blocked from the sox by the yankees Is this true? I thought it was a problem between the Union and the Sox and that if the latter had accepted the contract as is, the trade could have been completed. I don’t know. Those are very good numbers for a shortstop, especially at his age (19 to 21 years old). And he never played AAA ball! Jumped right to the majors. Maybe the Sox weren’t prepared to promote him that aggressively, but his numbers suggested he was very close. I can’t knock a 21 year old SS for not hitting enough homers in AA. What really made the trade was Lowell. From 2006-08 Hanley was worth 18.1 wins. Beckett was worth 13.7 wins. Lowell was worth 11.9 wins. Of course, the money makes it more complicated given the extensions to all. The Sox wanted to restructure ARod’s contract (to backload it, I believe), but the Union wouldn’t allow it. If I recall correctly the Sox were going to wait until the next season because of payroll issues (I could be wrong, does anyone remember better than I?), but of course the Yanks swept in and grabbed him. It was a great coup, though looking back I’m glad it didn’t happen. So yeah, the phrase “blocked from the Sox by the Yankees” is sort of true, but not completely. Personally I don’t really care about how shitty the SS position has been since Nomar left. If anything, the lack of a fine regular there has proven that no one position player is going to cause a team to fail, no matter how hard they try (I’m looking at you, Julio!). But the fact remains that Theo has not done a great job with this position, even as he remains a pretty fantastic GM. I was more responding to the irony of the headline (certainly not Theo’s fault!) in the context of the last few years, and Theo’s famous inability to fill that position with a high-level player. It has not, inarguably, caused the Sox to fail. My understanding is that the Red Sox wanted to shorten A-Rod’s deal and the union saw that as tantamount to a pay cut. Of course, as the market turned out, A-Rod would have made significantly more money because the deal would have expired at the height of the market. There’s some question over whether the union would have been willing to negotiate something more amenable to both it and the Red Sox, but Larry Lucchino opened his big mouth and pretty much torpedoed that idea. Also, don’t forget that the series of deals on the table would have cost the Sox Jon Lester, as well as Nomar and Manny, which means no Orlando Cabrera, no Dave Roberts, no Doug Mientkewicz and, more currently, no Jason Bay. It’s like regretting Duquette’s decision to lowball Roger Clemens in 1996 after what was clearly a terrific year. Sure, it sucks that Clemens couldn’t have had those great Cy Young seasons in Boston, but the chances are pretty good that the trade for Pedro Martinez never happens if Clemens is still the ace coming off the amazing 1997 season he had. In all, I think things have worked out pretty well. Yeah, but that .720 OPS at AA wasn’t too impressive, especially considering he would have to (at least they assumed so) spend time in AAA before being productive at the major league level. Obviously he was only 21 at the time, so he had a lot of time to improve, but the Sox assumed he was at least a year or so away. Looking back, they were very wrong. But they still got valuable return for him, enough so that it was worth it in my opinion. I still wish we could have our cake and eat it too though. So SF, are you saying that the headline “Sox Diligent in Shortstop Search” is implying that the Sox are failing because of it? I’m not sure what you’re saying. I am not sure why anyone would regret anything about the Ramirez/Beckett trade. I really don’t. Ath – I was being a bit cheeky with this post, frankly. I imagine the Sox have been “diligent” in the past, and look who is manning the position now! It’s amazing to me that the Sox could have still won in 2007 if they had re-signed Cabrera and Damon. The question is, to me, whether they would have come closer in 2005 and 2006. The question is, to me, whether they would have come closer in 2005 and 2006. Who cares!? ;-) As for A-Rod, he had agreed to defer money and reduce his base salary in return for an opt-out clause earlier than what his contract stipulated. The PU rejected this as a “reduction” in the value of his contract. In retrospect they may have been wrong, such has Boras’ wielding of the early opt-out proven to be a valuable tool for elite players. Yeah, but that .720 OPS at AA wasn’t too impressive, especially considering he would have to (at least they assumed so) spend time in AAA before being productive at the major league level. Oh, but it was! How many 20 to 21 year old shortstops put up that at AA? Ahh, gotcha SF. Yeah, I’m sure Theo is always kicking the tires on all possible improvements. I’d love to be a fly on the wall and learn about the trade possibilities that are never made public. Regarding Orlando Cabrera: supposedly there’s a personal issue there between him and Varitek that got in the way of him staying in Boston after 2004, which I won’t elaborate on because it’s complete hearsay and probably untrue. Orlando Cabrera: age 22, .927 OPS in AA Edgar Renteria: age 18, .717 OPS JJ Hardy: age 20, .796 Derek Jeter: age 20, .962 Nomar Garciaparra: age 21, .722 Jimmy Rollins: age 20, .740 Marco Scutaro: age 22, .859 Miguel Tejada: age 21, .802 Jose Reyes: age 19, .757 Troy Tulowitzki: age 21, .843 So to answer your question: pretty much all of them ;-) I won’t elaborate on because it’s complete hearsay and probably untrue. That’s what the internet is for! Please elaborate! Pretty please? Shoot me an email at Atheose(at)gmail(dot)com if you want the juicy details! All full seasons? If we’re counting partial seasons, then we also have to consider Hanley’s .872 OPS in AA at age 20. Actually OCab’s numbers were from only 35 games, but everyone else is over 75 games (the majority of a minor-league season) Correction, Jeter’s season was also only 35 games. I didn’t think Jeter played long in AA? Okay, cross-posted. To be fair, Scutaro wasn’t a SS then. Othwerwise, I’d say Hanley was in very good company at that age and level! My understanding is that the Red Sox wanted to shorten A-Rod’s deal and the union saw that as tantamount to a pay cut. Of course, as the market turned out, A-Rod would have made significantly more money because the deal would have expired at the height of the market. There’s some question over whether the union would have been willing to negotiate something more amenable to both it and the Red Sox, but Larry Lucchino opened his big mouth and pretty much torpedoed that idea. Also, don’t forget that the series of deals on the table would have cost the Sox Jon Lester, as well as Nomar and Manny, which means no Orlando Cabrera, no Dave Roberts, no Doug Mientkewicz and, more currently, no Jason Bay. It’s like regretting Duquette’s decision to lowball Roger Clemens in 1996 after what was clearly a terrific year. Sure, it sucks that Clemens couldn’t have had those great Cy Young seasons in Boston, but the chances are pretty good that the trade for Pedro Martinez never happens if Clemens is still the ace coming off the amazing 1997 season he had. In all, I think things have worked out pretty well. Also, those are just the first 10 players that came into my head. Let me list some of the more average/mediocre ones I can think of: Adam Everett: age 22, .741 Nick Punto: age 22, .689 Maicer Izturis: age 22, .722 Elvis Andrus: age 19, .717 Alex Gonzalez: age 20, .739 Brendan Harris: age 21, .801 Rich Aurillia: age 22, .693 Carlos Guillen: age 21, .699 So even among average-to-mediocre players, Hanley was rated around the middle of the pack when the Sox dealt him. Of course this is ignoring defense, but you get the idea. Was that repeat-post intentional, Paul? If not, that’s some crazy typepad lag! Good stuff, thanks! Now about that Cabrera rumor…post it! post it! I’m happy to email you, but then I’ll just post it. :) Is it as simple as a Nuke and Crash affair? Adam Everett, former Sox’ prospect, traded for Carlosaurus Everett! If only we had never traded Adam! Really coming down here. It’s not looking good for tonight. Pretty much, except it didn’t end with one mentoring the other like a father figure. Supposedly OCab slept with Varitek’s wife, and when the Sox were thinking of resigning him in the off-season Varitek voiced his disapproval. You could relate this to the divorce talks that began in 2006 and finally culminated last year, but I’m not sure they’re related. If the mods want to take this down, by all means do so. This is admittedly a completely unfounded rumour, so I understand if you want no part of it on the site. Storm moved fast through NYC this morning, we’re cloudy and dry here in Brooklyn. I would have been more cryptic. Something like “oCab put his balls in Tek’s glove”, or something like that. The game is in Boston, right? Weather.com shows that the heavy stuff is supposed to end around 6:00pm. The fact that I couldn’t come up with some funny innuendo only shows how mindlessly boring this work day is. Yes, it is in Boston. I was more alluding to the speed with which the front went through, Ath. Fantastic! Fantastic twice! Keeping fingers crossed. Storm moving through quicker than expected? *Jobaesque fist pump* Sorry for the double post. The Internet at work is being super slow and I didn’t know if it had gone through. Because, yes, I thought my point was that good. :-P I live in Andover, Rob. I used to live in Middletown. I grew up in Easton. As for Jeter… the Yanks have lucked out that he’s continued to be so good for so long. They have absolutely no replacement for him. Fortunately, not only has his bat held up, but his D remains acceptable. If you buy into UZR, it’s average. Average D + his bat = really, really good. Very cool. I grew in Rocky Hill and used to go drinking in Middletown. There’s also a good head shop there. Agreed on Jeter. I don’t buy UZR (the fielding bible has him below average), but it doesn’t matter if he keeps hitting. Leave a ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.