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.
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.
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