Thursday, May 19, 2016

One-Year Wonder Pt. 26: Chris Stynes

Every once in awhile, the Red Sox pick up a veteran player for a year, or just the stretch run that was a star at one point that I become fascinated with. It's a player that is basically only a role player at that point in their career, but may show flashes of their old brilliance. It's so unusual to see them as a member of the Red Sox, that I try to find as many of their cards as possible. This series will be about some of those players.
Coming off a very good season for the Reds in 2000 in which he hit .334/.386/.497 with 12 home runs, Stynes was acquired by Boston in exchange for Donnie Sadler and Michael Coleman, two former prospects who were largely disappointing.  It was hoped that Stynes was a rising young star and the trade was lauded.

Stynes was expected to step in and solidify the third base position.  That position had been a disaster in 2000 for Boston due to injuries and ineffectiveness by John Valentin, Wilton Veras, Ed Sprague, Lou Merloni, and Manny Alexander.  However, rookie Shea Hillenbrand had a terrific spring and carried his hot start into the season.  Stynes ended up in a platoon at second base with Jose Offerman and Mike Lansing, while also spelling Hillenbrand at third base, despite the fact that Stynes was a better player than all of them.  Stynes also appeared occasionally in the outfield.
Unfortunately Stynes had some injury issues, missing significant time early in the season.  In just 96 games, Stynes ended up hitting .280/.322/.410 with eight home runs.  Solid numbers, though disappointing after his breakthrough year with the Reds in 2000.  It was still better than Sadler or Coleman produced for the Reds, so in that respect the trade worked out better for Boston, though Coleman was part of a trade with the Yankees for Wily Mo Pena.

That was Stynes's only season in Boston.  After the season, Boston non-tendered Stynes in December and he left to join the Cubs.  He never did really return to his 2000 form, though he did play almost every day for the Rockies in 2003.

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