Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Least Favorite Red Sox

To view my list of favorite players, go here.

Carl Everett-Probably the most unlikable Red Sox player in my lifetime.  The man was crazier than Charlie Sheen and liked to fight more than Billy Martin.  Bad combination.

Manny Ramirez-A real pain in the butt during his seven and a half seasons with the Sox, who paid him $20 million a season to be one of the most one-dimensional baseball players in recent memory (in fairness, he was reaaaaaaallllly good at that one dimension).  Loafed around on defense, never hesitated to ask for a day off, faked/exaggerated injuries, constantly showboated, listened to music while playing left field, and seemed to be incapable of running at anything more than half speed.  By the summer of 2008, when he was sparring with Kevin Youkilis and pushing down aging traveling secretaries like they were dominoes, his time in Boston had been up for some time.  I don't think you could have paid him any amount of money to hustle every now and then.  He was just one of those guys who had no respect for the game,

Edgar Renteria-I remember in a September game against the Yankees, there was a play at the plate and he received a cutoff throw from Ramirez.  He promptly hurled it directly into the infield dirt in front of him.  The two-time Gold Glove winner committed 30 errors that season, and the following winter was shipped out of town for Andy Marte, who never played a game for the Sox because they included him in a package deal with Cleveland that brought Coco Crisp, Johnny Damon's successor in center field, to town.

David Wells-Big, fat, mean, and a former Yankee.  To quote Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."

J.D. Drew-More valuable than a lot of people give him credit for, but as a passive personality on a team full of emotional grinders (Youk, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon) he stuck out like a Yankee fan in Fenway's bleachers.  Outside of his 2007 ALCS grand slam, he never seemed to come up with the big hit and struggled with runners in scoring position.  I've never seen someone take so many called third strikes and walk back to the bench without so much as a frown.  Unfortunately, Ryan Sweeney isn't half the player Drew is and will have us crying for J.D.'s return by June.

Julio Lugo-A skeleton as useful as a bag of balls in the batter's box, where he hit all of .251/.319/.346 for the Olde Towne Team (good for a measly 71 OPS+) while making just under ten million bucks a year.  Those numbers would have been a little more tolerable if he was playing like Ozzie Smith in the field, but his -1.6 dWAR in Beantown indicate that he wasn't anything close to the Wizard at short.  For reasons I don't fully understand, the Indians just gave the 36 year old a minor league deal.

Daisuke Matsuzaka-If only his success in the World Baseball Classic could translate to the Show.  He's an overhyped and overpaid player who has given Boston two effective seasons as a starting pitcher at the cost of $103 million.  He's in the final year of his contract, and at this point not even a Justin Verlander kind of season can salvage this sunk cost who's never healthy and ineffective during the rare stints when he is.  He seems determined to make Red Sox Nation (the ones he hasn't already put to sleep with his plodding pace) pull their hair out every time he steps on the mound.  Lacks command and nibbles too much, a combination that typically results in a fifth or sixth inning departure.  The antithesis of an innings-eater, Dice-K is a bona fide bullpen killer.  Texas hopes to avoid a repeat with Yu Darvish.

John Lackey-I'm always pulling for him because he's been through a lot lately, but he really needs to stop calling out his fielders and acting like he's the only pitcher on the planet who gave up a bloop single.  His name is mud in Boston, and after a lost 2012 he needs a pair of strong seasons to save face.  But for now, he has been a colossal disappointment who hasn't earned a cent of his $82 million contract and won't pitch again until he's 34.


  1. As much as you may have hated Manny, he was the best player on 2 red sox title teams. Without him, no rings. Can you really hate him that much?

  2. You could certainly argue that Ortiz, Damon, and Schilling were more valuable to the '04 team, and Manny definitely wasn't the best player on the '07 team because he had one of the worst seasons of his career.

  3. Those guys were all good in 04, but you really can't argue that. Manny were certainly the best player on the team, and the best player on the team for several years. His 07 #'s were down a bit, but still very good. Both of his playoff #'s in 04 and 07 were stellar. And he usually hit behind Ortiz, allowing Ortiz to get better pitches, much the same with Mantle hitting behind Maris. My point being is that I find somewhat pointless to hate on Manny much, regardless of what you think about his work ethic, attitude, or how he left the red sox, because without him being a vital piece to the team, if not 'the' vital piece, the red sox draught would be nearing 100 years.

    You can wonder what might have been, kind of like with Shaq. If Shaq was as motivated as Kobe is, that would surely be a sight to be seen. But, he wasn't. But, I doubt many, if any, lakers' fans really hate shaq. And lest we forget, Shaq was one of the laziest players ever to play. He was just lucky to have all-world athleticism. And shaq left all of his teams on bad terms, except maybe cavs/celtics, when his career was basically washed up. I guess I never really thought about this comparison before, but shaq and manny have quite similar paths in their careers.

    It's one thing if you're a rangers' fans, and you give everything to A-roid, and then he whines his way out of town, kind of pissing on you as he leaves, never even giving you a .500 record, and certainly not 2 championships. But, if he actually delivered 2 titles, that would be much different.

  4. Ramirez ranked fourth among Red Sox hitters in bWAR, trailing Damon, Ortiz, and 'Tek while barely edging out Mark Bellhorn. ManRam accumulated the most offensive WAR, but his terrible defense dragged him down. As for pitchers, Schilling and Martinez were both more valuable according to bWAR, and Keith Foulke was right on his heels.
    Obviously bWAR is not the end-all-be-all statistic, because Ramirez was infinitely more valuable than Bellhorn and Foulke that season, but it does prove that he wasn't far and away the Most Valuable Player of that team, which explainss why he finished third in the MVP race and Big Papi finished fourth. He did enjoy monster postseasons but so did Schilling and Ortiz.

    Good point about Shaq and Manny, your comparison makes sense. The A-Rod comment isn't really fair. though, because he played like an MVP every year he was there. It's not his fault Texas grossly overpaid him and couldn't afford good pitching. You would want to leave too if you were pissing away your prime years on last place teams, especially since Rodriguez needed a title to cement his legacy as one of the greatest baseball players ever.

  5. How does WAR prove Manny wasn't the MVP of the team that year? I guess I could ask the reverse of that as well. You can't prove anything or not prove anything from that stat. You said yourself, he was much more valuable than bellhorn or foulke, yet according to WAR, he's not. So, what does that tell you about WAR? What it tells me is that it's a volatile advanced stat. I think I remember Dawson had a 2.7 in his MVP year, which I think is average at best. This stat needs a lot of improvement, if you ask me, otherwise, it's not to be taken as proof. There's no way to know what it's telling you is accurate or not. I'm not saying to completely disregard it, but even in a sport like baseball with everything station to station instead of a sport like basketball with constant movement, the advanced stats can't prove a thing, and are far from perfect. Agree to disagree about Manny then.

    What I'm saying about A-roid is that the rangers gave him everything he wanted, and then he wussed out and shafted them in the end, as well as mentioning years later than he only took roids while in texas. He knew what he was getting himself into when he went to texas. Texas didn't really improve when he came there, so yea, you could make a strong case that it was his fault that they didn't win. Fair? Probably not, but the facts are that texas won 71 in 2000, then 71, 73, 72 when he was there. I don't blame him if he's somewhere and his team is good, then sucks while in his prime, and then wants to play for a winner, that's different. But if he wants his money, and he decides to do it in texas, where he knows texas has never had that good of pitching, and the team is struggling, then whines about it only after 3 years of a 10 year contract, then yea, I blame him completely.

    If he was in Kobe's situation where suddenly your team goes from contenders to scrubs and you're in the prime of your career in the middle of a contract, then that's different. But, if Kobe wants to make his money somewhere, but that team is going to not be that good, then he really doesn't have much room to complain it. This is what the new CBA is trying to do. Players still have freedom to play pretty much wherever they want to play, but at a cost, potentially. They will earn less money most likely if they sign with another team. I know baseball's different, but it's the same general principle.

    This is why I say it's a huge difference between manny and a-roid. While they both left on bad terms, manny delivered. If I were a red sox fan, how angry or how much hate could I really have towards him? He might be a knucklehead, but he got the job done, and my team isn't nearing a 100 year WS drought.

  6. The thing about WAR is that it severely penalizes one-dimensional players like Ramirez, who lose a lot of value because they don't field or run, whereas it gives a big boost to the all-around players who contribute in every area of the game. Look at Willie Mays bWAR totals, for instance: they're off the charts. Then guys like Juan Gonzalez, Manny Ramirez, etc. who have huge offensive stats but end up with middling WAR figures.

    Was Manny the MVP of those '04 Red Sox? Yeah, he probably was, but the point I'm trying to make is that it's closer than you think. I'm not denying his greatness, because obviously he's one of the best righthanded hitters of all time, but his myriad personal issues made him extremely unlikable.

  7. Well, that's fine. But, this kind of reinforces my point about WAR. I'm not saying it shouldn't be used, but so should everything else, and just like many advanced stats in basketball or baseball, it places higher emphasis on certain parts of the game. It can be very volatile, even in baseball, and is still very subjective, whatever the creator of the stat thinks is the best way to compare players. Offense is by far the most important part of baseball for hitters, at least. Sure, Mays was obviously a lot better than Gonzalez or Manny, arguably the best player ever, but you just don't find players like Gonzalez/Manny very often. They were each extremely productive for many years. Both were rbi machines.

    But, you would probably want a player like Josh Hamilton instead of Gonzalez or Manny, because Hamilton is one of the very few 5-tool players and can do it all. With that being said, Hamilton has only done it all for 2-3 seasons max, and has yet to even sniff the careers of Gonzalez or Manny.

    I just can't understand the hatred that many red sox fans have for Manny or many packers' fans have for Favre, to name another example. Both players did so much for their respective teams and delivered at least one title. You can dream: what if. There could've been possibly more titles, sure, but they got the job done. A-roid, on the other hand, that is a plain 'no.' And the year after A-roid, basically just exchanging soriano for him, the rangers got considerably better. What does that say?

  8. WAR is not the best statistic, but it's a very helpful tool. Obviously it needs to be used in combination with other stats, but by itself I think it gives a pretty good indication of a player's overall value. I like to use it as a measuring stick.

    Hamilton's a great player, but I think I might rather have Manny or Juan Gone because those guys were reliable, incredibly productive hitters for many years. They weren't pictures of health but you could count on them to give you 140 or so games of top notch production. Hamilton is such a health risk and comes with so much off-the-field baggage that I don't think he's worth the investment. when he's healthy he has to be considered one of the premier players in the game, but unfortunately he always seems to miss substantial time. It's too bad, because he truly is a special player.

    The Rangers made such a dramatic improvement because the group of talented young players that came up during the A-Rod years started to mature. Francisco Cordero developed into a top closer with 49 saves. Their offense was much more balanced, too, as Michael Young, Hank Blalock, Kevin Mench, and Mark Teixeira all made great strides as hitters. Most importantly, the rotation received a huge boost from Kenny Rogers, who went 18-9 in 2004 and gave Texas a true ace that they had lacked for several years. If you believe in such things, there was a lot less pressure on the team. Nobody expected anything out of them and they no longer had to play under the microscope and added attention that a player of Rodriguez's magnitude always creates. But you can't deny A-Rod did everything humanly possible on the field to help Texas win ballgames.

  9. That's my whole pt. about Hamilton. He probably has no chance to catch the careers of Juan or Manny since he had a late start to his career and seems to be more injury prone. But, when healthy, he does it all. He's only played 1 full season and 2 other near-full seasons. In those 3 years, he's won 1 MVP and should've won another, that's pretty amazing.

    But, I'm not quite sure about the off-the-field baggage. That claim doesn't much weight. He was a druggie before the reds/rangers, and while he has occasional relapse of drinking, that stuff really hasn't been an issue. And he seems to be a great guy. The rangers have made 2 WS in a year, and you'd be kidding yourself if you didn't think Hamilton played a huge role in making both of them. He's definitely been worth the investment.

    A-roid was great for the rangers. I don't deny it. But, I don't believe in coincidences either. I'm sure there's other factors involved, but the fact is, is that the rangers played immediately better once A-roid left. A-roid has proven throughout his career that he's a me-first player and not a leader. If you want to talk about baggage, look no further than right at A-roid. He didn't improve the rangers while he was there. And then pissed on the rangers org. as he left after 3 years. He didn't deliver and he treated the org. poorly, so he deserves all the hatred that rangers' fans give to him. If he delivered a title, then it would be different. They gave him everything he wanted, and then just decides, nah, don't want it anymore, see you guys later.