Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Questionable All Stars Pt. 2: Jose Offerman

The All Star selection process is such a subjective procedure that sometimes deserving players get left off. Then there are times when players who do not deserve to be All Stars are named to the team.

The Red Sox made a controversial decision prior to the 1999 season. They were not able to bring Mo Vaughn back and then-GM Dan Duquette decided to replace him with light-hitting Jose Offerman. Offerman was coming off a season for the Royals in which he hit .315/.403/.438, lead the league in triples, and stole 45 bases. It was certainly a good year for Offerman, although he was a defensive liability at second base.

Duquette signed Offerman to an insane four-year contract worth around seven million a year. He was lambasted in the press for the contract. Offerman started off the 1999 season scorching hot though, hitting .330/.405/.497 at the end of May. He slumped in June and July though and was at .273/.352/.402 at the All Star break. Based almost completely on his first two months of play, Offerman was named to the All Star team as a reserve second-baseman.

Offerman would go on to a season line of .294/.391/.435, certainly decent numbers. He was a good leadoff hitter, drawing 96 walks against 79 strikeouts. He also hit eight home runs and stole 18 bases. He was caught stealing 12 times and his defensive numbers were once again terrible though. Offerman was a good player in 1999, but it is hard to make the argument that he deserved to be an All Star. The fact that he played second base for a well-regarded team certainly helped him. It is also important to remember that Offerman was an All Star before, in 1995 with the Dodgers.

Offerman remained with Boston into the 2002 season, but he was never nearly as good at the plate as he was in 1999. His defensive numbers did improve, but that was mostly due to playing increasingly at first base. However, his bat was incredibly anemic for a first-baseman, so he became increasingly useless. He also mysteriously stopped stealing bases, stealing zero in 2000, five in 2001, and eight in 2002 before he was finally sent out of town.

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