The 10 Best Home-Grown Red Sox in the Majors Today
Beyond Hanley Ramirez and the mammoth 2005 deal that sent the slugging shortstop to Florida in exchange for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota, who are the best former Red Sox toeing the rubber and flashing their leather today?
You know some of these, but some may surprise you. Who else in your fantasy draft was once a Red Sox? Who should have called Fenway home, but Fenway shut the door?
Here are my top 10.
10. Anibal Sanchez & His No Hitter
Departure Date: November 24, 2005
Transaction: After just 2 years in the Red Sox minor league system, traded With Hanley Ramirez to the Florida Marlins for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota.
Like Clay Buchholz, this 25-year-old Venezuelan has yet to put together a dominant year as a regular starter, but Anibal Sanchez does own a 3.86 ERA in 282 MLB innings.
After being traded to Florida around Thanksgiving of 2005, Sanchez tossed his best Major League season in 2006. That year Sanchez dropped a 2.83 ERA over 114.1 innings.
On September 6, 2006 Sanchez even dealt a no-hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Josh Beckett went on to win the 2007 ALCS MVP award en route to a World Series in which Mike Lowell won his own postseason MVP award.
Look for Anibal Sanchez in the 2010 Florida rotation.
9. Kelly Shoppach
Departure Date: January 27, 2006
Transaction: Traded with Andy Marte and Guillermo Mota to the Cleveland Indians for Coco Crisp, David Riske, & Josh Bard.
As the Red Sox have longed for young catching depth in recent years, and Josh Bard proved incapable of filling that role, the acquisition of Coco Crisp at the expense of Kelly Shoppach has seemed unfortunate, to say the least.
That said, a career 2008 backing up Cleveland's then Victor Martinez has given Red Sox fans a skewed perception of Shoppach.
That year, Shoppach hit .261 with 21 homers in only 403 plate appearances. His sabermetric value shot through the roof to $16.1 million, and fans could only imagine how he would do if he caught a whole season, or at least hit a whole season.
Although he famously drove in the first run at the new Yankee Stadium, 2009 saw Shoppach's average sink to .214.
Traded again in December, look for Shoppach to back up Dioner Navarro for the 2010 Tampa Bay Rays.
8. David Murphy
Departure Date: July 31, 2007
Transaction: Traded to the Texas Rangers in the deal that brought Eric Gagne to Boston.
Bewildering was this trade. Gagne is currently trying out for the Los Angeles Dodgers after ignominiously departing Boston into steroid revelations and general uselessness.
Meanwhile, David Murphy is coming into his own in Texas.
A -59 UZR/150 for the 2006 Red Sox has transformed into a plus-side .991 fielding percentage.
A 2006 average of .227 became a .269 average with 17 dingers in 2009.
Remember when Gagne did his best to blow a seven-run lead against the Angels in the 2007 ALDS?
7. Pat Burrell
Departure Date: Never technically a Red Sox.
Transaction: Drafted June 1, 1995 & not signed.
Yeah, that's a guy you probably should have signed. No, Pat Burrell was never on the Red Sox, and he's not "home-grown" by the Sox organization.
After the Red Sox drafted Burrell out of high school, he decided on the University of Miami over Fenway Park. He went on to become a College World Series MVP.
Burrell won a World Series ring with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 and should be the 2010 Tampa Bay Rays' designated hitter.
6. Rafael Betancourt
Departure Date: October 15, 2001
Transaction: Granted free agency.
After an uneventful minor-league career in Boston, Rafael Betancourt was permanently released to free agency in 2001, and he signed with the Cleveland Indians in 2003.
On July 8, 2005, Betancourt was suspended for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Despite that bump in the road (and it's a big one), Betancourt has posted fantastic relief numbers since leaving the Red Sox organization.
In 435.1 innings with the Indians and his new team, the Colorado Rockies, Betancourt has posted a 3.16 ERA and recorded 438 strikeouts.
In 2007, a year in which he faced the Red Sox in the ALCS, Betancourt was dominant. That year he swung a career low 1.47 ERA while fanning 80 and attaining a career-high sabermetric value of $13 million.
Look for the 35-year-old Betancourt to do his dirty work as part of a formidable 2010 Rockies rotation.
5. Aaron Harang
Departure Date: Never technically a Red Sox.
Transaction: Drafted June 4, 1996 & not signed.
This one hurts a little more than the Burrell drafting. Aaron Harang chose college at San Diego State over the Red Sox offer.
Since turning down the Fenway faithful, Harang has posted a 4.24 ERA over eight Major League seasons and out-produced his salary by more than $70 million.
Think the Sox could have sweetened the signing bonus enough to make it worth his while?
Harang should front the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff in 2010.
4. Jeff Suppan, Or the One They Stole
Departure Date: November 18, 1997
Transaction: Selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks as the third pick in the expansion draft.
After the Arizona Diamondbacks jacked Jeff Suppan from the Red Sox Nation in 1997, Suppan was sent to the Kansas City Royals, where he started to figure it all out.
From 1999 to 2001, Suppan's ERA sunk to respectable levels between 4.37 and 4.94.
In the 2004 Red Sox Championship season, Jeff Suppan faced his old team in the World Series after going 16-9 with a career-low 4.16 ERA. He lost.
However, in 2006, Suppan finally got his ring at the conclusion of a season in which he achieved a new career-best 4.16 ERA and was awarded the NLCS MVP.
2010 welcomes Suppan back to the Milwaukee Brewers for a contract-year in the Brew Crew rotation.
3. Jamie Moyer
Departure Date: July 30, 1996
Transaction: Traded to the Seattle Mariners for Darren Bragg.
OK, so Jamie Moyer wasn't raised by the Red Sox, but why did this deal make sense?
Before the Red Sox got a hold of Moyer, he'd posted a 5.21 ERA the previous year with the Baltimore Orioles.
After they sent him to Seattle, Moyer became a year-in and year-out three-point-something ERA guy. Moyer had eight 200-plus-innings seasons after his rest stop in Boston.
In 2003 he became an All Star for the Seattle Mariners, and in 2008 he finally became a World Champion with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The 47-year-old Moyer isn't sure yet if he'll retire after his Phillies contract expires at the end of 2010.
Going 12-10 with a 4.94 ERA in 2009, is there much reason to retire?
2. Mark Teixeira: The One That Got Away, Twice
Departure Date: Never technically on the Red Sox.
Transaction: Drafted June 2, 1998 & not signed.
That's twice the Red Sox could have acquired Mark Teixeira, though he was definitely a bit less expensive in 1998.
Still, was there really no way the Red Sox' front office could convince Teixeira to forgo college at Georgia Tech?
In seven seasons Teixeira is a .290 hitter with 242 homeruns, two All-Star selections, three Gold Gloves, three Silver Slugger Awards and one World Championship.
If you live under a rock, you can watch Teixeira in pinstripes in 2010.
1. Hanley Ramirez, Nomar's Outcast Heir
Departure Date: November 24, 2005
Transaction: Traded with Anibal Sanchez to the Florida Marlins for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, & Guillermo Mota.
Nomar Garciaparra. Orlando Cabrera. Edgar Renteria. Alex Gonzalez. Julio Lugo. Jed Lowrie. Nick Green. Marco Scutaro. Jose Iglesias (about two years from now).
Where is Hanley Ramirez? In Florida. Had he been retained and not dealt to the Marlins, that list might look like this:
Nomar. Orlando. Hanley.
Of course, Red Sox fans conveniently forget that sacrificing Hanley Ramirez meant Josh Beckett could come to Boston and dominate in the 2007 postseason.
Mike Lowell could come to Boston and win the 2007 World Series MVP Award.
It is difficult to remember that when you consider that Ramirez is a .316 hitter with 103 dingers in four MLB seasons. His career OPS is .917 and he's produced $105.5 million in Value against a couple million in salary.
Iglesias better be good.