Boston Red Sox Opt Against Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, Sign Mike Cameron Instead

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IDecember 15, 2009

CHICAGO - JULY 03:  Mike Cameron #25 of the Milwaukee Brewers at bat against the Chicago Cubs during their MLB game on July 3, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox have their new left fielder and no, his name is not Holliday or Bay:

The Boston Red Sox have reached a tentative agreement on a two-year deal with free-agent outfielder Mike Cameron, a baseball source told ESPN.com on Monday.

The deal would be for $7 million to $8 million annually, according to The Associated Press.

Cameron will have to pass a physical exam for the deal to become official.

The addition of Cameron to play left field—coupled with Monday's $80 million-plus investment in free-agent starter John Lackey—would make all but official Jason Bay's departure from Boston.

Cameron, 36, is a .250 career hitter with 265 home runs in 15 seasons with the White Sox, Cincinnati, Seattle, San Diego, the Mets, and Milwaukee. He has a reputation as a positive clubhouse presence and is a three-time Gold Glove Award winner.

So lemme ask you this: Would you prefer Jason Bay for $70-$75 million and an additional $25-$30 million or Mike Cameron ($15.5 million) and John Lackey ($85 million)?

Given that equation, I'd take Lackey and Cameron, given how few impact starting pitchers there were on the free-agent market.

However, I bet there are Red Sox fans out there who do not agree with this move, simply because Mike Cameron is not as sexy a name as Jason Bay or Matt Holliday.

While Cameron is not nearly the offensive force of Bay and Holliday, he does hit for some power, get on base, play splendid defense, and provide good leadership in the clubhouse.

Mike Cameron is a good role player on a playoff-caliber team, but asking him to be anything more than that is a problem.

And that's exactly why I think Red Sox fans are taking issue with this deal.

Cameron is a solid role player at best and does not provide the impact bat that the Red Sox lineup needs right now.

But if the Red Sox are able to acquire a power hitting corner infielder (Adrian Gonzalez!), then I think Mike Cameron will be a welcome addition to the Red Sox, despite his limitations, age, and high strikeout rate because he brings to the Red Sox a dimension that they were sorely lacking with Jason Bay last season: solid outfield defense.

With that said, the Red Sox NEED to address their offensive needs and bring in a power hitter, because simply relying on David Ortiz to regain his stroke and JD Drew to stay healthy is not going to cut it.

The only way to make up for Jason Bay's offensive ability is to bring in talent who can help fill the void.

Hello, Adrian Gonzalez and Adrian Beltre.

My only question for Epstein is this: Why give two years to Mike Cameron, who is 36 years old?

Doesn't the second year make this deal extremely risky?


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.