Theo Epstein's Shortstop Shuffle

Tom RicardoContributor IJuly 1, 2009

TORONTO - APRIL 6:  Julio Lugo #23 of the Boston Red Sox bobbles a catch against the Toronto Blue Jays and is charged with an error during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre April 6, 2008 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

There have been three trademarks of the Epstein Era—winning, great drafts, and horrendous shortstops.  I am fairly certain Theo Epstein can actually walk on water (Bill James is currently working on sabermetric GMWoW% to show Epstein’s god like gift) much the way I am sure each and every Patriot fan swoons a little when Tom Brady walks in a room.  


That said the shortstop position has eluded Epstein much the way the Silver Arrows in Legend of Zelda eluded me as a child.  Just as I would spend hours wandering around the final dungeon muttering profanities, Epstein’s tenure(s) (Let us not forget the Ape Suit incident for on the third month he rose again) has been spent searching in vain for a SS.


For someone as successful a GM as Epstein, his failure in this one position is shocking. The sad thing each attempt Epstein makes to fill the position is seemingly worse than the last.


First we let Nomar mope his way out of town so he could fade away like Boston’s own Chuck Cunningham, then we bring in Cabrera who apparently was a clubhouse cancer, after that we watched Renteria struggle in Boston to be traded away and flourish elsewhere, leading to AGon blessing us with a terrific defense with no offense, finally leading us to Lugo.  


Julio Lugo, a name that will live in Red Sox infamy forever.  $36 million over four years for a walking target of hate, no, loathing that has inhabited the SS spot over the last three years.  It is gotten to the point where people use the word “Lugo” in place of profanities.  “LUGO!  This is all Lugo’d up.  I hate that Lugo sucking motherlugoer.  


Lugo my life…” was screamed all about New England as the Red Sox blow a 10—1 lead yesterday.  The day the allies liberate us from Lugo, I plan to have a party to end all parties.  I am already hanging on to three sick days to recover.


Right now we have AAAA Nick Green holding down the fort.  He is playing well enough but honestly his luck won’t last.  Earlier in the season it looked like Epstein had finally found his shortstop.  Unfortunately it seems Theo found Nick Johnson of shortstops in Jed Lowrie. 


As Lowrie recovers from what seems like his twelfth injury (honestly he got injured in a rehab stint, did this guy catch Matt Clement flu?) the Red Sox are continuing to use lightning in a bottle Nick Green and The One Not to Be Named. 


Going into the trade deadline with Ortiz returning to his old Lord of Destruction self, SS has become a focus of the Red Sox.  If Jed Lowrie ever is healthy, they can use him at 3B (his range is subpar for SS anyway) while Lowell continues to have old man hips.  Honestly anyone else notice that watching Lowell run to first is like watching a Life Alert infomercial at 3 AM.  I am just ready for the Colonel Saunders Surgeon General to pop up and say “ALL SENIOR CITIZENS AND MIKE LOWELL NEED LIFE ALERT.”


Going into the deadline, SS once again looks like a point of contention.  The Red Sox are even ready to pay Lugo to go away.  Though it seems like the Red Sox can win without a solid SS, this would be a major upgrade to a team that is in a division with four of the best five teams in baseball. 


Down the stretch this race is going to be cutthroat even when Toronto eventually bows out.  While the Red Sox look like the best team at the moment, they have half a season to go with the Yankees and Tampa Bay nipping at their heels. May now they can finally settle the shortstop shuffle.