Joel Sherman wrote an insightful article today, pointing out how the Yankees stole a march from the Red Sox this off-season by acquiring Mark Teixeira from under their collective noses. This victory is made particularly sweet when you take into account the epic struggles of their once mighty superstar David Ortiz.
Clearly the Sox must have known something was up with Papi, despite not being all that old (33) and putting up good numbers last year following his return from injury. This season, however, has been an unmitigated disaster for the Papi, and it’s hard to find anyone these days who is confident of a return to form.
The Keeper the movie His numbers are stark, particularly in contrast to Teixeira. Papi thus far is hitting a dreadful .182 with 1 HR and 16 RBI in the meat of the Red Sox’ order. A .284 OBP and .287 slugging depict a not only a bench player but a guy who can no longer play major league baseball. We’re only a little more than a quarter of the way through the season, but fangraphs’ value ratings paint Papi as a guy who has produced 11.8 runs less than an average replacement level player so far this short season and Teixeira as producing +18.6 runs.
This averages out to a value of about 3 wins between Papi’s ineptitude and Tex’s proficiency. If this trend continues, the Tex/Papi swing could cost the Sox upwards of 10 games this season: a monstrous swing, indeed. Now, certainly the Sox can’t continue to put Papi out there all season if this persists. Surely they’ll go out and get someone like a Nick Johnson or at least someone to approximate average production for a DH, but keep in mind that Tex’s slow start is also a thing of the past and you can expect him to pick up his pace as well.
As many have pointed out, Tex’s defense has been a big part of the recent errorless record setting performance by the Yankees. The all-around, mistake-free rock that he gives you at first base seems to also have a bit of a catalytic effect on the team as a whole that can’t be measured by statistics. What seemed in the off-season like a move of luxury for the Red Sox has instead turned into a bit of a fiasco. It’s funny how things turn out and it sure is nice to see the Yanks end up on the front end of one of these deals for a change.
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