The Sports Daily > Firebrand AL
Regretting the Hillenbrand Trade? No.

I finished my copy of Sports Weekly today (two days after it arrived in the mail, impeccable timing, Evan!) and was appalled at a Bob Nightengale column. Here is his argument.

Certainly, the Red Sox, who have their eyes open for a corner infielder, could use Hillenbrand. They traded him two years ago for Diamondbacks closer Byung-Hyun Kim. While Kim became a $10 million bust, Hillenbrand quietly hit .310 with 15 homers and 80 RBI for a dreadful Diamondbacks team.
You don’t think the Red Sox would like to reverse that trade? Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar is hitting .255 with four homers and 26 RBI. Third baseman Bill Mueller is hitting .280, but he has only two homers and 17 RBI. Meanwhile, Hillenbrand, playing third base for the injured Corey Koskie, has a career-high .360 on-base percentage with six homers and 27 RBI while committing just two errors.

After incredously reading and re-reading the article, I couldn’t wait to get back to sent an e-mail to Bob which I just did.
Mr. Nightengale,
I subscribe to Sports Weekly and just got around to reading it. I was appalled to see you say the following:
“Certainly, the Red Sox, who have their eyes open for a corner infielder, could use Hillenbrand. They traded him two years ago for Diamondbacks closer Byung-Hyun Kim. While Kim became a $10 million bust, Hillenbrand quietly hit .310 with 15 homers and 80 RBI for a dreadful Diamondbacks team.You don’t think the Red Sox would like to reverse that trade?”
No, the Red Sox would not like to reverse that trade. Kim was not a $10 million bust until he signed the contract after 2003. Kim came over to a team that had no closer and needed a closer. Kim stabilized the bullpen and led us to a postseason appearance.
The absence of Hillenbrand led to two things. 1) More playing time for David Ortiz, hitter extraordinare and 2) More playing time for the eventual Batting Champion Bill Mueller.
How exactly was that a terrible trade?
Could we use Hillenbrand THIS year? Yes, but not last year as well. Last year I’d rather take the Kim we got of 2004 plus Mueller and Ortiz instead of a four-man rotation of Ortiz, Millar, Mueller, and Hillenbrand, an egotistical walking disaster to happen. Having Hillenbrand this year would be nice (notwithstanding he will never return to the Red Sox, certainly not after the innumerable shots he took at the Red Sox after he left, including [but certainly not held to] the specific mention of Theo Epstein as a faggot) but having Hillenbrand over Kim in 2003, or even 2004? No thanks.
Thanks for your time.

[UPDATE] Thanks to Bob for a quick reply!
Hey Evan,
Thanks for the note. Great points. I do remember though that Hillenbrand was traded to allow more playing time for Jeremy Giambi, too, because Ortiz was on the trading block.
Oh well, no matter what, the Red Sox still got a World Series championship out of it.

I say this as Johnny Damon starts the game off being called on an obvious ball (but Maddux has had that called a strike for 15 years) and has now just dispatched the Sox 1-2-3. The Red Sox, patient teams, are going to have to be a little more aggressive against Maddux.

As many of you know, members of the Red Sox were recently “made better” by the Fab 5 from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The episode aired Tuesday night on Bravo. The occasion was to benefit the Port Charlotte, Florida Little League — the kids got a new field to replace their old one destroyed last year by
a hurricane.
Up for auction are the game shirts worn by the Fab 5 as they threw out the first pitch at Fenway last Sunday. The shirts are signed by Jason Varitek, Doug Mirabelli, Johnny Damon, Tim Wakefield, Kevin Millar as well as the Fab 5 themselves. A fantastic and unique item for any true fan of the Sox or the show.
You can find the MLB sponsored auction at http://redsox.auction.mlb.com/
This auction is your chance to own a fun piece of Red Sox history and the proceeds go to the Port Charlotte Little League. Help yourself to some Fab memorabilia and help the boys and girls of Port Charlotte.
Thanks for reading,
Seth @ Scout Productions
We play the Cubs today. It’s gotten a lot of press, the Cubs and Red Sox series. Would have been more press if the Red Sox had not won the World Series and certainly insurmountably more if both teams had made it to the 2003 World Series. (How’s THAT for a World Series!?) Either way, this should be an enjoyable series as Arroyo will take on his idol, Greg Madux, in 20 minutes. I have a bet with another Cubs blogger on who wins the series. Let’s hope we do, or else I have to display his logo with a link in it, on my site for a week straight. That would be terrible, so let’s go, Bronson! And Wade Miller (v. Carlos Zambrano) and Tim Wakefield (v. Glendon Rusch) too, for that matter.


  1. Well, Game 1 was a quick affair. A 2:20 (ET) start time, and the game was all but over before 3:00. As for the rest of the series, well, I guess I'll be looking at a Cubs logo. In Game 2, Miller could pitch well, but frankly he scared me in his last start, and Zambrano of course is just filthy. And considering the way the balls were flying out of Wrigley today and the way Wakefield has been knocked around lately, we aren't looking very good for Game 3, either.
    So Theo is a genius, we know this for a fact, but when does he design a Red Sox team that can hit outside of Fenway?


  2. This wasn't the first blowout this year, and this isn't the last. It happens, we'll deal.
    And Theo should NOT build a team for outside Fenway. The idea is to maximize your wins. You have ~3 outside divisional games at different ballparks, and ~9 from intradivisional … but 81 at home. Building around your home stadium gives you the best shot at winning. That's why so many people this year are effective at home. Every year more and more and more teams realize the benefits of building around the park they are in. The new stadiums also help because then teams can build the stadium around the team they will have when the stadium opens.
    Byron, View from the Bleachers.
    Round2 … commence!
    Sam, you knwo why we have all that trouble with rookie pitchers – they don't know well enough to try to throw balls and get us to chase it for fear of us launching it a long way. Combine that with soft stuff which we are terrible at and you have Maddux. Zambrano is the complete opposite … I think a lot of his fastballs tomorrow will get sharply hit right back in his face.


  3. Yes, I know why the Sox struggle with rookies, and that's why I think exactly the opposite about our chances today. Zambrano, with his devastating stuff, isn't going to nibble. Hell no, he's going to come right after our hitters. That always gives us fits.
    Thankfully, though, Ortiz hits everybody everywhere. Where would we be without him?