Quickly, now: Who played short for the Cardinals when they won the World Series last year? Unless I miss my guess, most of you will have to look it up.
The point is, with the rest of the Red Sox lineup, they may not need a shortstop with star power or a big bat.
In fact, in the last ten years the only team to win the World Series with an All-Star shortstop was the 2009 Yankees, with Derek Jeter.
Most of Red Sox Nation was surprised to hear that the Red Sox traded Marco Scutaro to the Rockies for an unknown pitcher, in effect leaving the infield position to the underwhelming platoon of Mike Aviles and Nick Punto. Punto is supposedly pretty good with the glove, and Mike Aviles is pretty good with a bat, but neither is the long-term answer to the black hole the Red Sox call shortstop.
Red of Survivinggrady.com posted a humorous piece called, Red Sox Shortstop: World’s Coolest Temp Job. I quote:
Ever since Nomar was sent packin’, the short stop position has been something of a revolving door, bringing us Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Julio “Blame Me, It’s Just Easier That Way” Lugo, Jed Lowrie, William “Uptight” Bangs, Tito Puente III, Little Alvie Singer, Portugal Esposito and, most recently, Marco Scutaro.
Oldtimefamilybaseball.com chipped in with, Red Sox Decide To Get Creative, Eliminate Shortstop Position in 2012.
Seriously, they have a point.
Edgar Renteria had one awful year—then was World Series MVP for the Giants. Alex Gonzales was in Boston twice and went elsewhere each time. Julio Lugo was an expensive disaster. And now Mario Scutaro, in what many consider to be a head-scratcher, is gone after a couple of pretty decent years.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe credits Bill Chuck of Billy-Ball.com for this great stat: Since 2004, the Red Sox have had 24 different shortstops.
Aviles, Pedroia, Vazquez 6
Assorted others: 14
Despite that turnover, the Red Sox have won two World Series and have made the playoffs numerous times. Alex Speier of WEEI reminds us that the 2007 Red Sox featured Julio Lugo at short, one of the worst everyday players in the majors that year. "Red Sox shortstops produced a dismal .633 OPS, ranked 29th among the 30 major league teams that year," reports Speier.
And what about the 2004 team? Orlando Cabrera started 58 games, only two more than Pokey Reese. Nomar started 37 games, and they had seven starts from Cesar Crespo, three from Ricky Gutierrez and one from Mark Bellhorn. "From its Frankenshortstop, the Sox ended up achieving decent production, with a .716 OPS that ranked 16th in the majors. That said, the defense was pitiful, pushing the team to make the deal for Cabrera," wrote Speier.
To put this all in historical context, however, it is important to remember that the Red Sox were grooming a shortstop to be Nomar's replacement. That was Hanley Ramirez, who went to Florida in the deal that brought Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett to Boston, and one could make a good argument that if the Sox had not parted with Ramirez thay would not have won the 2007 World Series.
So, where do the Bosox go from here? Assuming it's Punto and Aviles for 2012, what happens in 2013? Will it be Iglesias time, or will they seek another stopgap for a year or two until Iglesias is deemed "ready"?
This slideshow will take a look at the options within the Red Sox system, along with the key shortstops who will be free agents after this coming season. I have not attempted to develop potential trade scenarios in this piece, although it's interesting to note how many of these players have been traded for each other in the last several years.