The Red Sox have treated their shortstops like temps over the past 6 seasons. Let’s review who has played shortstop for the Red Sox since Nomar Garciaparra was traded in 2004 (the majority for each season since the trade): Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Julio Lugo again and Nick Green (AGon was also a major contributor toward the end of the 2009 season of course).
Now, for a "major market" team like Boston, it is only fair to compare their shortstop situation to that of other major market teams, no? So let’s look at who the other major market team have had a shortstop since 2004:
NYY: Derek Jeter, Jeter, Jeter, Jeter, Jeter, Jeter (1 player)
LAA: David Eckstein, Orlando Cabrera, Cabrera, Cabrera, Erik Aybar, Aybar (3 players)
NYM: Kaz Matsui, Joese Reyes, Reyes, Reyes, Reyes, Alex Cora (injury to Reyes)(3 players)
CHC: Ramon Martinez, Neifi Perez, Ronny Cedeno, Ryan Theriot, Theriot, Theriot (4 players)
LAD: Cesar Izturis, Izturis, Rafael Furcal, Furcal, Angel Berroa, Furcal (3 players)
STL: Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein, Eckstein, Eckstein, Cesar Izturis, Bredan Ryan (4 players)
PHI: Jimmy Rollins, Rollins, Rollins, Rollins, Rollins, Rollins (1 player) DET: Carlos Guillen, Guillen, Guillen, Guillen, Edgar Renteria, Adam Everett (3 players)
HOU: Adam Everett, Everett, Everett, Everett, Miguel Tejada, Tejeda (2 players)
This illustrates it is possible to have a franchise shortstop, but it also tells us it isn’t easy to have one player (or even just 2) lock down the position for a long period of time.
The Red Sox can’t look to Gonzalez anymore as he signed with Toronto, so they are left to either sign someone like Marco Scutaro or Adam Everett if they choose the free agency route. Boston does have a few high-ceiling prospects in the minors who could handle the position (Jose Iglesias being the best known) down the road, but for 2009, we are again headed for uncertainty. Jed Lowrie hasn’t stayed healthy and signing Scutaro would cost Boston a 1st round draft pick in 2010.
Oh well, they might just figure out the shortstop position at some point, but 2010 seems to be headed towards a patch-work of utility guys or overpaying a player that is as big a risk as anything on the open market having never played in Boston (Renteria and Lugo). We’ll known soon enough.