Monday, August 16, 2004

Alomar deal makes little sense for struggling Sox

The Sox had some more déjà vu all over again when they picked up Roberto Alomar. After getting on base at a .382 clip and slugging .473 with Arizona in 38 games and 110 at-bats, the thinking was that he would give the lineup someone that could get on base and spell the slumping Joe Crede at third base.

Well, Alomar has played seven games since coming back to the South side, and his line of .125/.120/.250 (a BA higher than his OBP for crissakes!!! Take a walk, maybe!!!) is looking pretty shabby.

For all of us armchair GMs out there, no degree of clairvoyance should have been necessary to see this kind of s*** would hit the fan.

Here are Alomar’s numbers the last three years

2001 .336 .415 .541
2002 .266 .331 .376
2003 .258 .333 .349

This is what you would call falling off the cliff. And lest you think I’ve forgotten about Alomar’s defense, let me point out that I am thinking about it –- and how it’s also gotten progressively worse.

Give Indians GM Mark Shapiro credit for knowing when to jump ship on the USS Robbie. After three incredible years in Cleveland, Shapiro shipped Alomar and his $8-million-a-year salary for Matt Lawton and Alex Escobar.

Granted, Escobar was released by the Tribe just last week after a foot injury ended his year, capping two and a half injury-marred seasons. But Escobar was still a top prospect at the time. Shapiro also loses points for deciding to overpay Lawton (four years, more than $25 million dollars), but Lawton is currently part of a good Cleveland offense that could power its way to a division title.

But back to Alomar.

After killing the Mets, as well as fantasy baseball teams numbering close to a million, with a putrid line in 2002, Alomar was again scuffling with a .262/.336/.357 line when Williams picked him up in June for a package of quasi-prospects that included former first-round pick Royce Ring.

Alomar didn’t hit any better in Chicago, hitting .262/.336/.357 in the last 67 games. Not only did he prove he was washed up on the Sox dime, but after the season demanded more money that the $3 million per year the Sox offered to pay.

Turns out that would have been good money. Instead Alomar went to Arizona for about a million bucks. Much to the benefit of the Sox, now not saddled with rich contract for a guy that’s finished.

In any event, the theory that Alomar just needed the cliched "change-of-scenery" was also proven false.

So why the rehash?

Beats me. Though I am no supporter of Kelly Dransfeldt, who currently toils for the Sox’ AAA team (.264 with 5 HR, 15 doubles and 14 walks in 250+ ABs there) it’s hard to imagine him being much worse than Alomar. And if you need a utility infielder, at least Dransfeldt plays shortstop… more credibly than Alomar is playing any position these days.

Alomar, a switch hitter, can bat lefty (Dransfeldt is strictly a righty), and the Sox could use more balance on the left side of the plate. But if you suck from both sides of the plate, what does it matter?

So I guess there is no rhyme or reason to this deal, other than the whole “shake-up-a-struggling team” mentality. I guess I just thought a shake-up would mean making a real improvement instead of just making a lot of noise.

If there is a bright side to this, it's that Chicago didn't have to give up much of real value. Because right now, Alomar is pretty worthless.

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