Monday, February 20, 2006

Is defense the new offense? Thoughts on the 2006 Boston Red Sox

Most of the Red Sox are in spring training, so it's a good time to take a look at the team and how it's shaping up this season.

When Theo Epstein traded Nomar Garciaparra the last day of July 2004, he said that the Red Sox defense was flawed and that he needed to make the trade, which brought improved gloves at SS and 1B, in order to make sure the defense didn't become a "fatal flaw."

That worked out pretty well (though the Sox did make three errors in each of the first two World Series games that year), so maybe Theo had the same thing in mind in constructing 2006 Boston Red Sox, whose potent offense has been scaled back in exchange for better defense, particularly in the infield.

Edgar Renteria and his 30 errors are back in the National League, replaced by Alex Gonzalez and the cannon affixed to his right shoulder.

Going around the horn, the Sox traded once-a-week catcher Doug Mirabelli for fine second baseman Mark Loretta, though Loretta is coming off an injury.

And finally the 3 in the 6-4-3, pretty much anyone is better than Kevin Millar at first base, including the Kevin Youkillis/J.T. Snow platoon expected this year.

I wonder if defense has become what OPS was five years ago -- the quality that (some) GMs turn to in order to take advantage of market inequity and build a solid team without spending as much money.



Anonymous Kevin said...

Don't just toss away that "platoon" of Snow and Youk. To casually say that "anyone" is better than Millar is an understatement.

Don't forget - Snow has SIX Gold Gloves. That is a HUGE upgrade.

I think it is Snow that is the biggest defensive pick-up of the offseason.

February 20, 2006  

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