Friday, December 4, 2009

Filling the Void

That'll Put Lead In Your Pencil: Your source for all the infield news of the week. The Red Sox announced today that they have signed shortstop Marco Scutaro to a two year deal with an option for a third year. While Scutaro had a pretty good year last year, I don't think that this signing is a very good one. Scutaro's career numbers are much lower than those he put up last year, and who is to say that he won't revert to those numbers after a contract year anomaly? It has been interesting to see over the years how the Red Sox have tried to replace the man they traded away in order to win a championship.

For almost ten years Nomar Garciaparra, seen here looking very sodahead-ish, was the franchise player for the Red Sox. He and Mo Vaughn created one of the most fearsome middle of the order tandems in the late 1990s, and in the early 2000s Nomar and Manny Ramirez also made for a potent 3 and 4 in the order. With this hitting prowess though came little success in the playoffs, and the Sox 1918 World Series drought continued into the new millennium. Then a funny thing happened in 2004.

In 2004 the face of the franchise was traded to the Cubs in a three way deal which brought the Sox Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz in return. With these solid role players, the Sox were able to do the impossible and win the 2004 World Series much to the chagrin of Glenn Halsteads everywhere. Since the split in 2004, it has been interesting to notice how the Red Sox have never really found a shortstop, and Nomar has never really found success.

It is like some sort of twisted love saga. The two were happy together, but ultimately needed to go separate ways. Now the Red Sox have won two championships, the equivalent of them dating a hot girl for show, but they are not truly happy because they don't have a franchise shortstop. Meanwhile, Nomar is pulling a John Beckwith and reading don't kill yourself books after losing his soul mate.

Will the Sox ever find their franchise shortstop again? Who knows? They had a chance with Hanley Ramirez, but traded him for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Not a bad trade by any means, but maybe they just weren't ready to love a shortstop again. Since Nomar, the Sox have suffered through the likes of Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Alex Cora, Julio Lugo, JT Rivela look-alike Jed Lowrie and now Marco Scutaro. While Scutaro might be a better fit than the rest of that awful chorus line, he will by no means be the next Nomar. Meanwhile that guy in New York has been there the whole time.

The Red Sox have made a lot of mistakes at shortstop since shipping Nomar out of town in 2004. Here's hoping Marco Scutaro can have some success at a position seemingly cursed for the last 5 years. Scutaro has a lot riding against him though, and the expectations in Boston are much higher than they are in Toronto. My guess is that the Red Sox will be looking for another shortstop again soon.

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