Saturday, June 15, 2013

Season in Review: 2002

2002 was a season of transition for the Red Sox.  The team had been sold by the Yawkey Trust to a group headed by John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Tom Werner.  Dan Duquette was almost immediately ousted as general manager and Mike Port was named interim GM.  There was hope from the beginning.  Grady Little had taken over as manager and Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, and Jason Varitek were all returning from injuries.  Boston finished in second place at 93-69, but missed out on the playoffs.

Nomar Garciaparra
Nomar returned from the wrist injury that sidelined him for almost all of 2001 and picked up right where he left off.  His average dipped to .310 but he hit 24 home runs and drove in 120 runs while scoring 101.  He came close to 200 hits and lead the league with 56 doubles as well.  It was a very impressive comeback season for the shortstop.

Pedro Martinez
Like Nomar, Pedro returned from a season-ending injury as well.  Martinez also made a strong comeback and finished in second place for the AL Cy Young Award with a record of 20-4 and leading the league in ERA (2.26), strikeouts (239), and WHIP (0.923).  He probably should have won it but this was still at a time when wins were considered most important.

Manny Ramirez
In his second year for the Red Sox, Manny had another terrific season, winning the AL batting title with a .349 mark and yet another Silver Slugger.  Ramirez also lead the team with 33 home runs and finished second to Nomar with 107 RBIs in just 120 games.  He also lead the league with a .450 on-base percentage.

Jason Varitek
Varitek is the last of the trio to return from injuries in 2002.  But his numbers were not nearly as impressive.  He struggled for most of the season and looked like a trade candidate after the season.  He hit .266/.332/.392 with 10 home runs and 61 RBIs.  Not bad numbers for a catcher but not as impressive as his previous seasons.

Derek Lowe
Lowe emerged as a somewhat surprising AL Cy Young candidate, finishing third in the vote when he won 21 games.  He pitched to a 2.58 ERA and struck out 127 in 219.2 innings.  The high point of his season was his no hitter against the Rays at Fenway Park, the first one since 1965 by a Red Sox pitcher.

Trot Nixon
Nixon built on a strong 2001 season with another good season.  He never really quite got the praise that he deserved as he hit .256/.338/.470 with 24 home runs and 94 RBIs, but was not named to the All Star game.  He was largely overshadowed by the other Red Sox outfielders.

Ugueth Urbina
In his first full season with the Red Sox, Urbina was named to the All Star team and picked up 40 saves while striking out 71 in 60 innings.  He was 1-6 with a 3.00 ERA but was let go after the season.

Shea Hillenbrand
The sophomore third-baseman had a good season in 2002 which would have been even better had he not slowed down a little bit in the second half.  Nevertheless he was elected to start the All Star game and looked like a rising star.  He hit .293/.330/.459 with 18 home runs and 83 RBIs.

Tim Wakefield
The knuckleballer had a good year in 2002 pitching in a variety of roles.  He started 15 games and finished 10 out of 45 total games.  He had a record of 11-5 with a 2.81 ERA and 134 strikeouts for one of his best seasons of his career.

Johnny Damon
Signed as a free agent from the Oakland Athletics, Damon gave the Red Sox a speed threat at the top of their lineup.  He was named to the All Star team in the first time fans were given the final vote.  Damon stole 31 bases and hit .286/.356/.443 with 14 home runs and 63 RBIs and lead the league with 11 triples.

Carlos Baerga
Baerga returned to the Major Leagues for the first time since 2000.  His role was limited and he only played in 73 games.  But it was his role in the clubhouse that made him a valuable player.  Baerga kept things loose and got along well with everyone.  He only hit .286/.316/.379 with two home runs, but he was nonetheless a valuable member of the team.

Rickey Henderson
It is not every day a future Hall of Famer comes to play for your favorite team.  Henderson had already secured his spot in Cooperstown by 2002 but he did not want to quit playing.  He still had a little bit left in the tank, hitting just .223 but he put up a .369 on base percentage, hit five home runs, and stole eight bases in just 72 games.

John Burkett
Burkett had a long career with the Giants, Marlins, Rangers, and Braves prior to joining the Red Sox rotation as a middle of the rotation starter.  He went 13-8 with a 4.53 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 173 innings.

Cliff Floyd
Floyd had an interesting year in 2002.  He started the season with the Marlins then was traded in early July to the Expos, then was traded later that month again to the Red Sox.  He hit well in his short time in Boston with a line of .316/.374/.561 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs.  After the season he was allowed to leave as a free agent, joining his fourth team in less than a year.

Alan Embree
The Red Sox needed some left-handed relief help and got a good one when they made a deal with the Padres for Embree.  Embree finished with a 1-2 record, 2.97 ERA, two saves, and 43 strikeouts in 33.1 innings.

Casey Fossum
Like Wakefield, the southpaw Fossum was a valuable member of the pitching staff due to his ability to pitch in a variety of roles.  Of his 43 games, Fossum started 12 and finished 13.  He had a 5-4 record with a 3.46 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 106.2 innings.

Tony Clark
The longtime Tiger had been placed on waivers after the 2001 season and was picked up by Boston.  It was a move that was largely praised but Clark failed to produce, hitting a horrendous .207/.265/.291 with just three home runs in 90 games, a far cry from his 20 home run days with the Tigers.

Darren Oliver
Carl Everett was traded to Texas and in exchange Boston got Oliver.  It was more of an addition by subtraction move, but it would have been nice if Oliver pitched well.  He did not, finishing with a 4-5 record and a 4.66 ERA and being released in July.

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