Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One-Year Wonder Pt. 7: Carlos Baerga

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.
In the early to mid 1990's, Carlos Baerga looked like a future Hall of Famer. He had back to back 200 hit seasons, hitting well over .300 and averaging 20 home runs. He probably would have done the same in 1994 had the strike not interrupted the season. He had good power for a second baseman and appeared in three All Star games and won two Silver Sluggers. He was traded to the Mets in a trade for Jeff Kent. Baerga promptly declined. He later played for the Padres and returned to the Indians and then disappeared for a couple of years.

Baerga re-emerged in 2002 with the Red Sox, his first season in the Majors since 1999. He was extremely popular in the clubhouse and provided a spark as a backup infielder, designated hitter, and pinch hitter.

Baerga hit .286/.316/.379/.695 as a part-timer in 2002. He played in 73 games, hitting two home runs and driving in 19, and he stole six bases. He played most of his games at DH, but also played second and third.

Baerga resurrected his career with the Red Sox in 2002 as a solid clubhouse leader and decent bench bat. He went on to play for the Diamondbacks and Nationals before retiring for good after the 2005 season.

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