Thursday, February 9, 2017

Red Sox With No Cards: 2009

We are entering into some rough territory over the next few years.  There was a lot of turnover for the Red Sox as they struggled to contend.  A lot of these players played only a handful of games, but still, there are some reasonably well-known players here.

Once a top prospect with the White Sox, Anderson was never able to live up to the high expectations.  He was drafted 15th overall in the 2003 Draft and made his Major League debut with the White Sox just two years later.  He played his first full season in 2006 but hit a disappointing .225/.290/.359 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs.  He was injured in 2007 and then hit just .232/.272/.436 in 2008.  He started the 2009 season with the White Sox before being traded to the Red Sox for Mark Kotsay.  With the Red Sox he hit .294/.381/.647 in 21 plate appearances over 21 games.  He hit two home runs and drove in five runs while being used as a spare outfielder.  He was not re-signed after the season and attempted to resurrect his career as a pitcher for a number of teams, but he never made it back to the Major Leagues.

Cabrera was a 10th round pick by the Indians in the 1999 Draft out of Puerto Rico.  He pitched exclusively out of relief for his career and, after a couple of impressive showings late in the season in 2004 and 2005, he made it into 51 games in 2006.  He was 3-3 with a 5.19 ERA, but he struck out 71 in 60.2 innings.  He walked 32.  He continued to strike out more than a batter an inning for the rest of his career, but also walked too many and had high ERAs.  In 2009, Cabrera was in his first season with the Red Sox, but he spent most of the season in the minors.  He was 0-3 with a 1.71 ERA and 22 saves in Pawtucket and pitched in just six games for Boston.  He was 0-0 with an 8.44 ERA while striking out eight and walking four in 5.2 innings.  He pitched in one game for Boston the next year before moving on.  Cabrera does have minor league cards with the Red Sox.

Joey Gathright's biggest weapon was his speed.  The outfielder stole more than 20 bases three times in his career despite the fact that he was rarely a regular player for any team.  He did not hit much, did not get on base enough to make up for the fact that he did not hit, and he had next to no power.  But he was fast so he continued to get work.  Gathright came up with the Devil Rays and played there for a few seasons before being traded to the Royals in 2006.  He started the 2009 season with the Cubs before being traded to the Orioles.  Boston purchased him from the Orioles in August and utilized him as a late-inning pinch-runner and reserve outfielder.  He made it into 17 games for Boston with just 17 plate appearances.  He picked up five hits and a stolen base.  Gathright was used much the way Dave Roberts was in 2004 for the postseason.  He was on the roster and appeared in one game.  He stole a base and scored a run.  Gathright did not appear in the Majors again until he returned to Boston in 2011.  

The Venezuelan right-hander Gonzalez was very successful in the minor leagues and was a top pitching prospect for the Diamondbacks when he was called up to the Majors in 2006.  He was 3-7 with a 5.67 ERA for Arizona that season, starting 18 of his 22 games.  He struck out 66 and walked 34 in 106.1 innings his rookie season.  He never started another Major League game though and only pitched in more than 10 games once the rest of his career.  Gonzalez spent most of the 2009 season in Pawtucket.  He was 8-11 with a 5.12 ERA for the PawSox.  He made it into just two games for Boston and was 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in 3.2 innings.  He struck out one and walked two.  The next season he appeared in 18 games for the Tigers and had a reasonably impressive 3.81 ERA.  He played one more year for the Tigers.  He does have a card with Pawtucket.

The only player who can be said to be any type of star from this post is Adam LaRoche.  LaRoche came up with the Braves in 2004 and hit more than 20 home runs in a season eight times.  He also played with the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Nationals, and White Sox during his career.  LaRoche started the 2009 season with the Pirates and was hitting .247/.329/.441 with 12 home runs when he was traded to the Red Sox in late July.  Boston was having some injury issues and needed some insurance at first base and gave up minor leaguers Argenis Diaz and Hunter Strickland.  He played in just six games with Boston before being traded to the Braves for Casey Kotchman.  LaRoche did hit a home run and two doubles with the Red Sox and hit .263/.263/.526.  He went on to hit 12 home runs for the Braves over the next two months and had his best seasons yet to come.  In 2012 he won a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove while hitting 33 home runs.  LaRoche retired prior to the 2016 season with 255 career home runs.

Like Brian Anderson, Billy Traber was a former first-round draft choice.  He was the 16th overall pick by the Mets in 2000.  Traber was part of the return the Indians received when they sent Roberto Alomar to the Mets before the 2002 season.  Traber made his Major League debut in 2003 and was 6-9 with a 5.24 ERA in 33 games.  Unfortunately he was injured the entire 2004 season which stunted his development.  He bounced around after that, playing for the Nationals and Yankees before appearing in just one game with the Red Sox in 2009.  The southpaw came on in relief and pitched 3.2 innings, giving up five runs while walking and striking out one during a 13-7 loss to the Yankees.  It was Traber's last Major League appearance.  Traber does have a card with Pawtucket.

Velazquez is one of those super-aggravating players with no cards despite showing up in multiple years for the Red Sox.  Granted, he only played in nine games over the two seasons, but still.  I talked about him at length in the 2008 post here.  Velazquez played in six games in 2009, but only had three plate appearances.  He walked once and did not register a hit, giving him a strange-looking .000/.333/.000 slash line.  He appeared in four games at short and two at third.  He made one error, had three putouts and three assists.  Velazquez appeared with the Angels and Diamondbacks later on.

Chris Woodward was approaching the end of his 12-year career when he was selected off waivers from the Mariners in August of 2009.  Woodward was primarily a utility infielder throughout his career and had a decent season for the Blue Jays in 2002.  Woodward also played for the Mets and Braves during his career.  He started the 2009 season with the Mariners and played in 20 games before he was placed on waivers.  Boston picked him up to be a utility infielder and he played in 13 games, six at second, four at short, and three at third.  He only picked up one hit in 12 at-bats though and had another odd-looking slash line of .083/.313/.083.  He appeared in just a handful of games over the next two seasons with the Mariners and Blue Jays.

As mentioned, Adam LaRoche is the only player from this group approaching stardom.  I understand how he was skipped as his Red Sox career lasted only six games before he was on the move again. Joey Gathright probably had the biggest impact of the players here as he made it to the postseason roster.  Based on that, Gathright is probably the player I would have most wanted to see get a card.

1 comment:

  1. I have some images of these guys and plan on building some custom cards for my All-Time Sox Collection....and not just fronts....fronts and backs so stay tuned!