What fun! This offseason is tremendous, chock full of inspiring hometown discounts and flabbergasting overspends - somewhere Scott Boras is furiously abusing himself to the ESPN newsticker, and I for one, um, am pretty disturbed that I came up with that.
The Sox have made two fairly savvy trades in the past week, let's take a look!
First off, we traded uber-fratboy and Wakefield valet Doug Mirabelli to San Diego for 2B Mark Loretta. Mirabelli certainly had value, although if the Sox have any faith at all in Shoppach this was mitigated, but Loretta, if he reverts to anything resembling 2003-2004 form in Fenway, will be a monster addition at 2B. Obviously this could be said to be a short-term fix with Pedroia nipping away at the Bigs, but it works on every level. I think everyone agrees this trade benefits everyone involved.
On a more controversial note (at least to Braves fans) the multi-headed monster traded milquetoast SS Edgar Renteria to Atlanta for can't-miss (WARNING! WARNING!) prospect Andy Marte. Actually, according to both Schuerholz and Lajoie, Marte is already major-league ready, and will somehow be inserted into the Sox lineup in 2006. With Marte, Lowell and Youks all on the team, you can be sure that either one guy gets dumped in the remainder of the offseason, or is grumpy 'til July (and my money's on Youks, I'm sorry to say). There is some possibility that one of the trio moves to 1B, but I'm thinking they end up in a platoon there with Petagine (I hope) or a late-offseason pick-up like Snow. At any rate, there are worse problems to have than too many decent RH bats in the line-up.
As I alluded to earlier, the Braves fans are going apeshit over the fact that they've lost a top prospect (because they are SO short on them) and gained a - at least recently - mediocre shortstop. Sox fans are pretty excited about this trade for exactly the same reasons. The controversy created on the Sox side stems instead from the rather sudden realization that this leaves the team without a starting shortstop, in a free agent and trade market that (stipulating that Miggy Tejada is a whackjob) is without any good ones. Gammo talks about Alex Gonzalez, who as any fantasy league owner knows, is the white chalk outline of an homicide at the plate.
SOSH fiends are going back and forth about moving Pedroia to short. Cora seems to be fairly roundly derided. I would love to see Pedroia given a shot at SS (the assumptive model here is The Eckstein Anomoly), but I'd also be OK with Cora there. Most of the crap he's taking as in reference to his bat, which, and I hate to disagree with guys that are vastly more intelligent than I am and have access to better statistical data, does not seem much worse than Rent's was. Compare:
(I apologize that my HTML is such that I had to use the image copy, but there it is. I'm pressed for time, and couldn't format the table on the fly)
I look at these numbers and naturally their shocking unimpressiveness jumps right off the page, but still, people were quite willing to have Renteria back in 2006, with the vague notion that he would put up marginally better numbers, for $10 million dollars! Cora (whose "full" season numbers were in pitcher-friendly Chavez Ravine - I didn't take the time to park adjust - and in the 9-hole as opposed to Renteria's #2 in front of Ortiz) makes a fraction of that but the argument could be made that he will perform at the plate just as well as Edgar would have. Plus, look how many times the guy gets hit by pitches! Sox fans love that! For what Cora's making, if he puts up an OPS of .740, I'm laughing all the way to the bank. And if he puts up an OPS of .720 (which is more likely) I'm still thinking, we just saved a ton of money.
It would be nice to have a top-notch shortstop, or even a top-notch shortstop prospect quite frankly, but if we have to scrape by for a year with mediocrity at the position, at least we're not vastly overpaying for it. To my way of thinking, we're in that position without making a single phone call.