My plan last week was to write an article on Boston Red Sox shortstop attrition since the departure of Nomar Garciaparra, but as I began writing about Nomar nostalgia got the best of me and it turned into a Nomar love fest. Thus, this Saturday
morning piece will be what it was originally intended to be: an essay on the ever revolving door in Boston at shortstop. I have compared each shortstop or combination of to some form of American pop culture because, well, humor is better than torture. Oh, and not to pour salt in the wound, but Derek Jeter has played more than 1,200 games at short for the New York Yankees since Nomar was traded in 2004. Just sayin’.
All of us have been there. A brand new hit song comes out and we go out and buy the album only to find out that the rest of the CD is absolutely atrocious. We long for more, but we only have that one popular song. Orlando Cabrera was the Red Sox “One Hit Wonder”. He came to Boston and in 58 games helped lead the Red Sox to their first World Series since 1918, but then left, never be seen again in a Sox uniform.
I can remember talking to my cousin, Sam, about how the Sox number one priority that offseason should be to resign Cabrera. He was never a flashy player, but he had a good bat (.294, 6 HRs, 31 RBIs in Boston), good speed (18 SB/162 Games), and a good glove (2.9 UZR/150). Regrettably, the Sox went in a different direction: they signed Edgar Renteria for 4 years $40 million!!!!!!!
2005: Edgar Renteria – That book turned movie that doesn’t live up to expectations: The Count of Monte Cristo
“‘He’s pretty much Jeter, without that notoriety,’ Johnny Damon said. ‘He’s that solid of a player.”
WHHATTT?? DEREK JETER?? So, there’s that.
What an unmitigated disaster. The Red Sox thought they had found their franchise shortstop and instead found a dumpster that blamed his league leading 30 errors on the Fenway Park infield after asking to be traded: “Edgar Renteria last night acknowledged that he ‘wanted out of Boston,’ but not because of the Boston fans (he called them ‘more demanding’ than those in St. Louis but said he came to appreciate it) or his comfort level with the American League (he said it was increasing). Rather, he cited the Fenway infield, which he said contributed to his major league-leading 30 errors.”
Are you kidding me? It wasn’t that you couldn’t play with the pressure of a rabid, passionate fan base? Because last time I checked you made 14 errors on the road in comparison to 16 at Fenway. Hmmmm…
Some guys can’t play under the bright lights of Boston, Philadelphia, New York, or Chicago. Renteria was case number one.
After the Renteria trade to the Braves I guess the Red Sox thought they would try their luck with low budget, good defensive guys. Thus, they turned to a mighty combination of Gonzalez and Cora. Well these two were about as exciting as a wet paper bag and/or an offensive force as intimidating as Brave Sir Robin or Milton from Office Space: “Did you take my stapler?” Well, at least Milton burned down the office.
Lugo was essentially Renteria 2.0; except worse. Why in the world Theo Epstein decided to give a 31-year old guy with a declining WAR $36 million over 4 years is beyond me. Well, why did he give Renteria $40 million over 4 years? I have no clue. How the Sox won the World Series with Lugo at shortstop still baffles me to this day. To make this comparison complete, the Sox winning the World Series in 2007 with Lugo was like Medellin winning Trailer of the Year (I made that up), but then, a year later, everyone found out it was a 4 ½ hour movie and remembered that Vincent Chase was in it. To be continued…
…Then, on July 5, 2008, Lugo was placed on the 15 Day DL for a “strained right quad injury”. Also known as, “I am absolutely horrendous and have made 16 errors in three months. Not to mention, we, as a team, have only made 50. So, basically I account for 1/3 of the team’s errors.” WOW.
Alex Cora is still Milton Waddams, but now blind.
However, the biggest curse amongst all of this hoopla surrounding Lugo was the fact that rookie Jed Lowrie was promoted to replace Lugo and showed flashes of being the Sox shortstop of the future. Were we all too blind to see the chronic injuries? Yeah, about that…
…So, our boy Lowrie had a chance to compete with Vincent Chase, I mean Lugo, to land the starting gig in April, but then was placed on the 15-day DL, which turned into the 60-day DL, which turned into the rest of the season. Par the course for Jed Lowrie in a Red Sox uniform.
So, naturally the Red Sox were able to turn to a superstar to replace Lowrie. His name was Nick Green. Not familiar? You should be. He is quite possibly the worst shortstop in Red Sox history. Now, that may be a gross exaggeration, but really he was not good. And I really wanted him to be good since he hailed from Atlanta, Georgia: my hometown. No wonder Francona had a metal breakdown.
Marco Scutaro can be described in one word: solid. He was an all-around good baseball player: not great at anything, but never terrible either. In essence, he was a 2-3 WAR kind of guy. However, he was incredibly infuriating in a way that I can’t describe. Does anyone else feel that way? But shouldn’t we have been perfectly satisfied with Scu-Scu-Scutaro after the previous 5 ½ years of pure chaos? Probably, but we weren’t.
Shouldn’t we have been satisfied with Teddy (Leo) being certifiably insane in Shutter Island? Probably, but instead we wanted him to be this shrewd, prodigious US Marshal that solved the unsolvable case of the missing murderess.
Is there a more gut-wrenching ending to a movie than Saving Private Ryan? I mean I went through the list: Platoon, Gladiator, E.T., Godfather, Mystic River, you name it. I think Saving Private Ryan is the worst. How can you let Captain Miller die? Literally every time I watch that movie I think Upham is going to shoot that traitorous German who killed Private Mellish by way of the knife (one of the more brutal kill scenes in a movie, by the way). I convince myself Barry Pepper will get out of the belltower before the tank fires, that Medic Wade will survive the dead cow scene, that it will take more than a bullet in the back to kill Tom Sizemore (did you not see him in Black Hawk Down? Dude fought through like 29 bullet wounds), and that Private Caparzo won’t pick up that little French girl. Everyone dies! EXCEPT Upham! Really?
That is how I felt about Scutaro and Lowrie in 2011. I always thought Scutaro would stop infuriating me with his ever-solid play and I thought Lowrie would maintain his torrid start and not get injured. Well, neither held serve and I was disappointed once again.
2012: Mike Aviles – Every movie preview before the feature presentation
Life at shortstop for the Boston Red Sox moved on in 2012 in the form of Mike Aviles. Like a movie trailer he showed flashes of brilliance, but in the end he was not the answer. He was, perhaps, one of the few bright spots during the short-lived Bobby Valentine era. Yet, Aviles was not enough.
For now it is Stephen Drew and Red Sox Nation may have to endure another unsatisfying movie/preview before we get what we paid for…
2013: Stephen Drew — ???
Categories: Alex Cora Alex Gonzalez Boston Red Sox Derek Jeter Edgar Renteria Greg Maddux Jed Lowrie John Smoltz Johnny Damon Jose Iglesias Julio Lugo Marco Scutaro Mike Aviles Nick Green Nomar Garciaparra Orlando Cabrera Stephen Drew Steve Avery Tom Glavine Xander Bogaerts