The Red Sox moved quickly to get Kevin Youkilis out of their lineup and out of their clubhouse this summer. With Youkilis hitting well once more, the decision looks like it might have been a mistake.
In July of 2004, the Red Sox traded Nomar Garciaparra, one of their longest-tenured and most popular players, to the Chicago Cubs. Garciaparra was still productive, but he’d just turned 30, and both his bat and his glove had slipped. Worse, he’d been wounded by Boston’s attempt to trade for Alex Rodriguez the previous winter and had reportedly become a distraction in the clubhouse. With Garciaparra a few months away from free agency, the Sox made the bold decision to ship him to Chicago for Orlando Cabrera, improving both their defense and their chemistry with a single swap.
We know how that trade turned out. The Red Sox won the World Series, and Garciaparra continued to decline, turning in a subpar season for the Cubs in ’05 and remaining only marginally effective until his retirement in 2010. According to a 2005 article in The Baltimore Sun, Garciaparra “was said to be stunned and depressed for the first week after his trade,” but “later came to appreciate the change of scenery, a fresh start, less pressure, different expectations.” The trade might have made him happier, but it didn’t help him recapture his youth. The Sox were smart to trade him when they did.
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Each team's got a list and is checking it twice, but not everybody gets everything they want this time of year.
As has been well-documented, the free-agent market has been extremely slow to develop; to date only 11 of the 171 players who filed for free agency have signed contracts. There is no word yet if Donald Fehr has asked Congress for a bailout.
AL players under the microscope at home and abroad, Opening Day bartering, and rumors and rumbles.
Opening Day is just two days and a half a world away. Set the alarms, because the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics open the season Tuesday and Wednesday morning (American time) with a two-game series at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.
A closer look at how each of the four LCS teams were put together kicks off with Boston's ballclub.
With the postseason underway, now is a good time to look at the final four participants and talk about where these players came from on a scouting and player development level. Sometimes we can learn quite a bit about how a team was built, and sometimes all we have are good stories. Since rosters are not due to MLB until the morning before a series' first game, we'll go off each team's divisional series roster, and start with the Red Sox.
The Yankees look for the Next Big Thing, the Padres wonder if they've already found it, and the Red Sox take the measure of Kevin Millar.
By most reports, the Next Big Thing actually turns out to be an old Big Thing: current Houston Astro and future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens. The theory is that Clemens, fed up with the fact that his 1.67 ERA hasn't earned him more than four wins, and that his ballclub is 21-34 and dead last in the NL Central, would demand a trade or else activate a super-secret handshake agreement that requires that the Astros trade the Rocket, not just to a contender, but to one which wears pinstripes and plays in the Bronx.