Boston Red Sox Rumors: Jason Bartlett May Not Be a Good Gamble

Christopher BenvieCorrespondent IIFebruary 6, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 09:  Jason Bartlett #8 of the San Diego Padres walks back to the dugout after striking out during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on September 9, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Chris Pondy/Getty Images)
Chris Pondy/Getty Images

There is no secret to the fact that the San Diego Padres have been shopping shortstop Jason Bartlett since midway through November of 2011.

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal was first to report the Padres intentions to move Bartlett.

Since that time, there has been very little interest shown in acquiring Bartlett by well, pretty much every team in Major League Baseball.  There is solid reasoning behind that, however, the man is coming off of his worst season as a professional and carries a $5.5 million price tag for 2012 with a $5.5 million team option for 2013 or a $1.5 million buyout.

It is a steep price to pay for a player who's production has decreased dramatically since his 2009 All-Star season.

Enter the Boston Red Sox.  Of course they're interested, they've been kicking the tires on pretty much every reclamation project on the block this winter.  Okay, I guess Brandon Webb is still available...

The point is, the Red Sox organization has been pounded with stories of them trying to stay below the luxury tax for the 2012 season.  General manager Ben Cherington has been on record several times lately proclaiming that he has no specific instructions to stay under the luxury tax, but the moves he's made thus far has been counterintuitive to that line of thinking.

All of the players signed thus far under Cherington's watch have been minor blips on the radar of fans with minor salaries attached to them.  Then, in a move that left most fans scratching their heads, Cherington traded away shortstop Marco Scutaro, in what appeared to be a salary dump move, then went on to acquire right fielder Cody Ross.

Now, the hot, well, tepid rumor in town is the possibility of the Red Sox trading for Jason Bartlett.

Bartlett managed a batting line of .245/.308/.307/.615 in 2011.  His worst full season in his career.  If that isn't bad enough, he broke his own record by beating his previous worst career season, which came in 2010.  His batting line then was .254/.324/.350/.675.

In comparison, Marco Scutaro has been a consistent player, putting up better overall aggregate numbers since 2006, without much fluctuation at all.


Scutaro .275 .350 .389 .739
Bartlett .278 .341 .375 .716

 To be fair, Bartlett had played in more games than Scutaro in that time frame (marginally 778-773.)

Therefore, rolling the dice on bringing in Bartlett seems counterproductive to me.  Once again, the Red Sox would (likely) boost their salary upwards of $5 million heading into 2012, while essentially adding a player in Bartlett who appears to be on the decline to save $500,000 (depending on how Bartlett's contract is structured for its cap hit potential).

If the Red Sox decide to do more than just kick the tires on Bartlett, one could only hope they could acquire him for short, short compensation.  Otherwise, the outward appearance of such a move would be the team making a move for the sake of just making a move.  

As it is, the combined averages for Nick Punto and Mike Aviles (the presumed shortstop combination as of today) results in a .270/.325/.374/.699 player...or essentially a Jason Bartlett.