Earlier today, the Boston Red Sox signed John Lackey to a big contract. The act was taken as a signal that Theo Epstein and crew had moved on from signing Jason Bay. Word later arrived that they were no longer chasing Matt Holliday. Naturally this lead to questions. Mostly, “Well, who the heck plays left field?” Tonight, Boston answered that question by signing Mike Cameron to a two-year deal, reportedly worth roughly $15.5M.
Dave actually covered the Cameron versus Bay angle here, surmising that Cameron, not Bay, was the better alternative to Holliday. Their games differ greatly, and this isn’t going to be a rehashing of that post, but no matter where Boston chooses to play Cameron, he’s going to upgrade their defense immensely. The most ridiculous aspect of this deal is the contract. Last season, Cameron made $10M, the season before he made over $6M, and in the three years prior over $7M. The Red Sox, a team with the ability to overpay, just got him for an annual average cost under $8M. Over the last few years his free agent value has averaged more than $14M. So yeah, I’d say the Sox are getting their money’s worth on paper.
UZR paints a fuzzy picture of Jacoby Ellsbury’s defensive talents. One that’s not entirely reliable. Most scouting reports suggest Ellsbury has above-average speed and range and the Fans Scouting Report seemed to support those notions. Nevertheless, Cameron has been and probably will be superior next season. Boston’s choice is now whether to shift the youngster to left or put the veteran out to learn the Monster. They must also decide whether they want Jeremy Hermida to platoon with Cameron, and face paying a hefty price for a few hundred plate appearances.
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