Red Sox Officially End The Jason Bay Era, Sign Mike Cameron

The Boston Red Sox signing of John Lackey earlier today symbolized a coffin for the Jason Bay era in Boston. Tonight, the Red Sox put the final nail in that coffin and the final nail in the Jason Bay era in Boston.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Red Sox have signed OF Mike Cameron to a two-year, $15.5 million contract. Cameron will either play center field or left field for the Red Sox in 2010.

Cameron is the newest Red Sock

With the Cameron signing, the Red Sox have now signed my biggest bust of the offseason (Marco Scutaro), my best free agent pitcher (Lackey), and my best value signing (Cameron). And something tells me they aren’t done yet.

Let me talk about Bay here for a second. I like Bay. I thought he came to Boston in a very, very tough situation trying to replace Manny Ramirez and he handled himself better than I ever thought he would.

We will never know if he really wanted to stay in Boston. If he did, then he handled his position completely wrong. You can’t play hardball with a big market team who isn’t desperate to sign you. That just doesn’t work.

If Bay didn’t care about staying in Boston and just wants the most money possible (it sounds like that is the case) then he is doing the right thing. I don’t blame Bay for wanting the most money possible.

If some team wants to give him five years and $75 million then that’s fine. But as Theo Epstein has shown throughout his tenure in Boston, no one player is bigger than the organization–just ask Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, and Johnny Damon.

As for Cameron, this is a very good value signing by the Red Sox. Yes, I know Cameron doesn’t hit for average and yes I know Cameron doesn’t walk–which almost seems like a mandatory requirement for any Red Sox player–but there a lot of things that Cameron does very well.

Did you know that Cameron had a higher WAR than Bay did last year? That is fascinating. Cameron had a 4.3 WAR and Bay had a 3.5 WAR.

The reason for this? Defense.

Cameron is a superior defensive player. If there is a theme with the Red Sox this offseason, it’s that they are trying to improve their defense across the board.

Improving the defense is the reason they want to trade Mike Lowell, who is a statue at this point in his career and improving the defense is the reason for the Cameron signing.

Cameron will either play left or center in 2010. I would leave him in center and move Ellsbury to left because Cameron has the better arm.

Cameron will be 37 in January and shows no signs of slowing down defensively. I am confident he can cover the space between center and right center in Fenway.

On offense, Cameron is not a liability in the lineup. He will hit around .255 to .265 with 25+ home runs and an OPS around .780. For a guy who is going to probably bat seventh in the Red Sox order, that is not bad at all.

The Red Sox had a very busy today and I am confident in saying they are not done yet. There is still a third baseman or first baseman to be had this offseason.

What ever the Red Sox decide to do in the future, one thing was sure about today–they got better on the mound with Lackey and on defense with Cameron.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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3 Responses to “Red Sox Officially End The Jason Bay Era, Sign Mike Cameron”

  1. Justin L Says:

    I was just wondering if you had any more reasoning behind why you think Cameron is going to play center.. I’ll be the first to admit that I have not seen much of Cameron seeing as he hasn’t played on the east coast, but Ellsbury can really track down balls in centerfield, and I feel like that’s wasted in left.

    I know that Ellsbury was reported to be the worst CF’er in the majors last year in terms of getting reads on the ball off the bat according (I read sons of sam horn a lot).. but you have to take into account that center field at Fenway is probably top 3 hardest CF to play in the majors and he’s still young.

    I guess I just can’t see a 37 year old replacing Ellsbury in center b/c he’s got a somewhat stronger arm– maybe my lack of seeing Cameron is showing through and I don’t have a grasp on his defensive game?

  2. odie Says:

    Is $8mil a year really a bargain for a 37 year old who has hit 25 or so homers a year in the weaker pitching league? So now we have $10mil alotted to a platoon in left(Cameron and Hermida)..They shouldve paid Bay for 5mil a year extra…They best have another move in mind..and it better not be Beltre(if you hate Scutaro, I LOATHE Beltre).

    • Adam Bernacchio Says:

      I do think it is worth it for Cameron. The Red Sox defense was atrocious statistically last year and Bay was a huge part of that. Putting Cameron in center and Ellsbury improves the outfield D 10-fold.

      I just don’t the Red Sox wanted to shell out $15-$20MM a year on a player who is terrible defensively and strikes out 160 times a year.

      There’s definitely another move in mind and I think it will be for a first baseman. They will move Youk to third.

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