Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Red Sox With No Cards: 2012

Oh boy.  2012.  After the disappointing end of the 2011 season, the team dismissed Terry Francona as manager and general manager Theo Epstein left the team.  Bobby Valentine was hired to replace Francona.  The team stayed mostly the same, with a few tweaks, but the only significant player they lost was closer Jonathan Papelbon.  Unfortunately, injuries and decline to a number of players resulted in the team finishing in last place.  Boston went through a lot of players in 2012 and a lot of those players never received a card.  And there were a lot of well-known players that season as well.

For the third year in a row, Scott Atchison failed to show up on any cardboard.  And 2012 was one of the best seasons in his career.  Atchison was a major part of the Red Sox bullpen, appearing in 42 games and throwing 51.1 innings.  He was 2-1 with a fantastic 1.58 ERA, striking out 36 and walking just nine.  He also had a career-low 0.994 WHIP.  Only Junichi Tazawa accumulated a higher WAR than Atchison among Red Sox relievers.  Atchison was granted free agency after the season and went on to play for the Mets and Indians.  Atchison does appear in minor league team sets.

After coming up through the minors with the Orioles, Beato made his Major League debut as a big, fire-balling right-hander with the Mets in 2011.  He was reasonably successful that season, but got off to a rough start with New York in 2012, accumulating a 10.38 ERA in seven games.  He was the player to be named later sent to the Red Sox a couple of days after Boston sent backup catcher Kelly Shoppach to the Mets.  He appeared in just four games the rest of the season with the Red Sox, throwing 7.2 innings and striking out seven while walking three with a 4.70 ERA and a 1-0 record.  Beato was back with the Red Sox in 2013, which will be covered in a future post.  Beato does appear on minor league cards.

Marlon Byrd was in his eleventh season in the Majors in 2012, starting the season with the Cubs after previously spending time with the Phillies, Nationals, and Rangers.  He was an All Star in 2010 with the Cubs.  After Boston suffered injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron, and Ryan Sweeney, Byrd was acquired in a trade for Michael Bowden and Hunter Cervenka.  Byrd appeared in just 34 games with the Red Sox, but his power numbers completely tanked.  He had just three extra base hits, two doubles and a home run, for the Red Sox.  His slash line was just .270/.286/.320 with seven RBIs and nine runs.  Byrd did appear in the game that I saw in Kansas City and had a couple of hits in that game.  After failing to impress in his short stint with the Red Sox, Byrd was released in June.  Soon afterwards, he was suspended for failing a drug test.  He resurrected his career over the next few seasons with three 20 home run seasons for the Mets, Phillies, and Reds/Giants.  Then, in 2016, he was suspended for a second time for failing a drug test.  He has yet to appear since.

No, this is not the Chris Carpenter who won the Cy Young Award with the Cardinals in 2005 and was a three-time All Star.  This Chris Carpenter is mostly famous for being part of a deal facilitated between the Red Sox and Cubs to compensate Boston for allowing general manager Theo Epstein out of his contract to join the Cubs front office.  The specific trade was Carpenter and Aaron Kurcz to Boston for Jair Bogaerts (Xander's brother).  Carpenter saw action in just eight games with Boston.  He was 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA, striking out two while walking ten in six innings.  Pretty rough.  It was his last Major League action.  As seen above, Carpenter does appear in a Red Sox minor league set.  

Aaron Cook was once a very good starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies.  He pitched in the 2007 World Series against the Red Sox and was an All Star in 2008 when he was 16-9 with a 3.96 ERA.  He was coming off of a couple of bad seasons in 2012 when he was signed to a low-risk, high-reward contract with the Red Sox.  It was considered a shrewd move by the Red Sox.  Unfortunately, it did not work out.  Cook started 18 games for the Red Sox and ended up with a record of 4-11 with a 5.65 ERA.  He struck out 20 and walked 21 in 94 innings.  After the season, Cook bounced around a bit, but never appeared in the Majors again.  He does appear in a Red Sox minor league set.

DeJesus is the son of the player the Cubs traded to the Phillies for Larry Bowa and Ryne Sandberg.  He was a highly-touted middle infield prospect that came up through the Dodgers system, getting some brief looks in the Majors with LA before being traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers.  DeJesus appeared in eight games, with eight plate appearances, striking out six times.  DeJesus played throughout the infield in his brief stint with the Red Sox.  After the season, he was part of the trade that brought Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt to the Red Sox for Mark Melancon and others.  He was later re-acquired by the Red Sox with Jemile Weeks for Kelly Johnson and Michael Almanzar in 2014, but he did not play in the Majors.  He had some extended time with the Cincinnati Reds in 2015 and 2016.

Germano was a one-game wonder with the Red Sox.  He had bounced around between the Majors and minors for years, appearing in 26 games as a starter for the Padres in 2007.  He also appeared in the Majors with the Reds and Indians prior to 2012.  He signed a minor league deal with Boston prior to 2012 and was doing well in the Pawtucket rotation, going 9-4 with a 2.40 ERA before being called up to Boston for a one-game stint.  He pitched 5.2 innings that one game, giving up five hits, two walks, and striking out seven without giving up a run.  A few days later, he was sold to the Cubs, for whom he was 2-10 with a 6.75 ERA.  He later pitched for the Blue Jays and Rangers briefly.  Germano does appear in minor league sets with the Red Sox organization.

For some reason, Mauro Gomez has never really been given a shot in the Major Leagues.  He hit 20 or more home runs several seasons in a row in the minors, yet his only experience in the Majors was with Boston in 2012.  He came up through the Rangers system and also played in the Braves organization prior to signing as a minor league free agent with Boston in 2012.  He hit .288/.371/.545 with 32 home runs and 112 RBIs for Pawtucket.  He appeared in 37 games for Boston, playing first, third, and DH and hit .275/.324/.422 with two home runs and 17 RBIs.  Not bad numbers, but for some reason he never got another chance.  The next season he was with the Blue Jays organization and has since moved on to Japan with Hanshin where he has continued to hit with power.   

Like Scott Atchison, Rich Hill was in his third season with the Red Sox in 2012.  He also never received a card in a Major League Red Sox uniform.  Hill had a very good season as well in 2012, going 1-0 in 25 games out of the bullpen.  He threw 19.2 innings with a 1.83 ERA and 21 strikeouts versus 11 walks.  After the season, he played for the Indians and Yankees before re-emerging with the Red Sox in 2015, where he resurrected his career.  Hill has appeared in minor league sets.

Lillibridge had been a pretty valuable utility player with the White Sox for a few years.  He actually had a pretty good season in 2011 with Chicago, hitting 13 home runs with a slash line of .258/.340/.505.  He started the 2012 season with the White Sox but was traded to Boston for the struggling Kevin Youkilis.  This was not a deal that worked out well for Boston as Lillibridge hit just .125/.125/.125 with just two hits in 16 plate appearances.  He played right, center, first, and DH for Boston.  Lillibridge was traded again after just a month, to the Indians for Jose De La Torre.  He improved his numbers somewhat and bounced around a bit after that.  

After signing as an amateur free agent with the Red Sox in 2008, Lin impressed throughout the minor league system.  He was an impressive defensive outfielder with some speed.  He was selected to the All Star Futures Game in 2008 and won the MVP of the game after hitting a two-run home run.  Somehow he did not even appear in Bowman Draft though.  Lin became the first Taiwanese player to play with the Red Sox after he was called up to Boston in 2012, as injuries decimated the outfield.  He made it into just nine games with Boston however and had a .250/.250/.250 slash line in 12 plate appearances.  After the season, he bounced around a little, but never appeared back in the Majors.  Lin has multiple minor league cards with the Red Sox.  

Andrew Miller is one of the most frustrating players to not have any cards with the Red Sox.  He was in his second season with the Red Sox in 2012, and the team had dropped all pretense of trying to make him a starting pitcher.  This would eventually lead to him being a dominating relief pitcher and he did have a very good season in 2012.  He appeared in 53 games, throwing 40.1 innings with a 3-2 record and a 3.35 ERA.  He struck out 51 and walked 20 mostly as a situational lefty.  Miller will be covered in two more of these posts.  Very frustrating.  If not for some minor league issues, he would not appear in my collection at all.

One of the biggest mistakes the Red Sox made going into the 2012 season was trading away both Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro, turning a deep shortstop position into a thin one.  Scutaro, who had become a fan favorite, was traded to the Rockies for Mortensen, who had a decent season in 2011.  He bounced around quite a bit between the Majors and minors for the Red Sox in 2012, but was generally decent.  He was 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA and 41 strikeouts versus 19 walks in 42 innings.  It would not have been a terrible deal, but Mortensen struggled in 2013 and Scutaro was an All Star for the Giants and a postseason hero.

Podsednik surprised everyone when he finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year race in 2003 as a 27-year old.  He led the league in stolen bases the next season, despite an overall decline in productivity, then shocked everyone again with an All Star season with the World Champion White Sox in 2005.  He had settled into a role player for a few years going into the 2011 season before struggling with injuries and not appearing in the Majors that year.  Boston picked him up in May to help alleviate their outfield problems.  He was decent in two stints with Boston.  Two, because he was actually traded to the Diamondbacks along with Matt Albers for Craig Breslow at the trading deadline, released by Arizona, and returned to Boston.  In 63 games, Podsednik hit .302/.322/.352 with one home run, 12 RBIs, and eight stolen bases.  It was his final appearance in the Majors.

Longtime Twins fan favorite Nick Punto signed on with the Red Sox in 2012 to be their utility infielder.  Punto was primarily known for his defense and versatility, both of which were on display in his very short stint with Boston.  He played all four infield positions, as well as DH for the Red Sox and made just two errors, one at third and one at second.  In 65 games with the Red Sox in 2012, Punto hit just .200/.301/.272 with one home run and five stolen bases.  He was never known for his hitting, with good reason.  Punto was part of the big trade with the Dodgers, being sent out west along with star teammates Beckett, Gonzalez, and Crawford at the August trading deadline.  He finished the season out with the Dodgers, hitting a little better.  He played a couple more seasons on the West Coast before hanging up his spikes.  

Despite only twice appearing in more than 20 Major League games, Quiroz managed to make appearances in ten seasons for six teams.  He was generally much better known for his defense, though he had a couple big seasons in the minors, especially with Toronto.  Quiroz played for the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rangers, Orioles, Red Sox, and Giants during his Major League career.  Boston purchased him from the Mariners in September and he appeared in just two games for the Red Sox, with two hitless plate appearances.  The next season, he played in 43 games with the Giants, but hit just .186.  

Repko was primarily a backup outfielder with the Dodgers and the Twins during his career.  He played in 129 games as a rookie for LA in 2005, but never appeared in more than 69 games in any season after that.  Repko signed as a free agent with the Red Sox shortly before Spring Training in 2012 and impressed in the Spring.  His strong showing led to him making the team as a backup outfielder shortly after Opening Day.  Unfortunately, he played in just five games with a slash line of .091/.091/.091 before going down with an injury and returning to the minors.  Repko never appeared in the Majors again.  

The Kevin Youkilis trade was bad.  We have seen Brent Lillibridge earlier in this post and the Red Sox also received highly-touted pitching prospect Zach Stewart, who bounced around several organizations because he was never able to harness his stuff.  The Red Sox were already his third Major League team, and fourth organization, at just 25 years old.  He would go on to pitch in several more organizations, but did not pitch in the Majors after his ill-fated stint in Boston.  He pitched in just two games for the Red Sox, both starts, but pitched just 5.2 innings.  He did not issue a walk, and struck out three, but he was hit hard to the tune of a 22.24 ERA and took the loss in both games.  After the season, Stewart was traded to the Pirates for a random minor leaguer.  

Lefty reliever Justin Thomas appeared in the Majors for four different teams over three seasons, but never appeared in more than 12 games in any year.  He also never had an ERA below 6.00, so there is a pretty good reason for his inability to stick in the Majors.  Thomas was picked up as a low-risk free agent after the 2011 season.  He started the season in the minors until being called up to Boston for seven mostly bad games.  He threw 4.2 innings of 7.71 ERA ball with four strikeouts and two walks.  In May, he was placed on waivers and taken by the Yankees, for whom he was even worse.  

Third base was a big problem for the Red Sox in 2012.  Youkilis struggled and was traded.  Will Middlebrooks impressed, but went down with a season-ending injury.  After that, the team went through a number of options.  In early August, the team traded for Valencia from the Twins.  Valencia had a lot of power, hitting 15 home runs for the Twins in 2011 after finishing third in the Rookie of the Year vote in 2010.  He struggled in 2012 before being sent to Boston, and then continued his struggles.  In 10 games, he hit just .143/.138/.250 with one home run.  He was sold to the Orioles after the season and had a decent season.  Valencia would find some success later on, primarily as a DH for Oakland.

Not even the manager was immune to not receiving cards in 2012.  Despite being a fairly big name among managers, Valentine never appeared on cardboard wearing a Red Sox uniform.  He only lasted one year though, and it was a pretty bad one.  Valentine was known for his time managing the Rangers and Mets and won a pennant with New York.  His year in Boston is best left out of the discussion though.  Boston was just 69-93 and he managed to alienate half the team, particularly popular veteran Youkilis.  It was a miserable season for Valentine and the Red Sox both.

Lots of players here to pick from for the player I would most want to see on a card.  And there are a lot of well-known players too.  There is the bullpen trifecta of Andrew Miller, Scott Atchison, and Rich Hill.  Atchison has been my pick before (2010), so I will eliminate him.  Scott Podsednik, Marlon Byrd, and Aaron Cook have all been All Stars with other teams.  There is also of course manager Bobby Valentine, but I do not want to pick a manager.  And Nick Punto was a legitimate Major Leaguer as well.  So, it likely comes down to Miller vs. Podsednik for the top spot.  As Miller still has two seasons to go, I think I am going to go with Podsednik here.  He played in 63 games, hit over .300 and helped stabilize the outfield during a time of a number of injuries.  Plus, he had two stints with Boston in one season.      

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