2004 Player Reviews: SS

Nomar Garciaparra left behind a Red Sox team seemingly glad to see him go, and we all know what happened after he left. A shame because in the good days, he was the best and most beloved shortstop in Red Sox history, but we all knew it was time for him to go. He hit .321/.367/.500 as a Red Sox in 156 AB with horrendous defense. He moved onto the Cubs, where he will remain for one more year, signing a 1-year, $8 million contract. In 165 AB, he hit .297/.364/.455, so while he had less power, he had a better batting eye. Figures. Isn’t it strange that the three best shortstops (A-Rod, Nomar, Tejada) have yet to get a ring? It’s almost like there’s a curse, like the Cubs have. I read something the other day that said the Cubs have always had a curse, the Red Sox never did. With a curse, you fall flat on your face in October. You don’t hang around for heartbreaking finishes like 1986 or 2003, you go down and out, you don’t show up ready to play. You know. Like the Cubs and White Sox, but I have yet to hear of the White Sox being cursed.
Orlando Cabrera injected a lot of life into the Red Sox. He became Master of the Handshakes and his infectious energy really jolted the clubhouse. He quickly became a fan favorite due to his attitude, his stature (read: little) and his smooth play in the field. He will be missed, but is going to a good team in Anaheim, and I look forward to watching more years of him than I would have if he had went to the Cardinals, because while I do watch some NL games, I don’t watch much. He should get a very good ovation when he returns to Fenway. He struggled in the first half of the year in Montreal. A lot of people felt it was because of the lack of fans watching the team. After a career year in 2003 hitting .297/.347/.460 with 17 HR, he started off going .246/.298/.336 for the Expos. When he was traded, however, he bounced back to 2003 form, hitting .294/.320/.465. While I think his power will be hurt slightly with the move to Anaheim, I fully expect him to put up 2003 numbers with smooth defense, as always. I have heard that Renteria handily beats Cabrera in defense, but that Cabrera is much more smooth and quick. The Angels non-tendered David Eckstein, and I expect him to end up donning the St. Louis Cardinal uniform whether its as a shortstop or second baseman. I was surprised at the move, I thought he could have become the Angels’ second baseman, but …
Thanks for everything while you were here, Nomar. And thanks for leading us to a title, Orlando.