09.25.06

ProJo’s McAdam : Red Sox Won’t Have Nixon To Kick Around Anymore

Posted in Baseball at 5:14 pm by

In addition to predicting Mike Timlin will once again be serving ‘em up in a Boston uniform, the Providence Journal’s Sean McAdam reviews which Red Sox will be out of contract this winter, and has sad predictions for Trot Lovers and Nervous Eaters fans alike.

Trot Nixon: Nixon spent significant time on the disabled list for the third straight season and goes into the final days with just 31 extra-base hits (23 doubles, eight homers) in 360 at-bats.

Some of the fall-off can be attributed to Nixon’s biceps strain, which he played through for a time before succumbing to a DL stint. But at 32, Nixon will be looking for a multiyear deal and the Sox, noting his proclivity for breaking down coupled with the power drop-off, have to be scared about bringing him back.

If Nixon would accept a one-year deal, he might be able to continue playing for the only organization for which he’s ever played. But that’s highly doubtful.

Back or gone? Gone!

MARK LORETTA: Loretta has been the consummate professional and has delivered steady defense and a productive bat in the No. 2 spot. But the Sox have Dustin Pedroia waiting in the wings and will be able to save themselves $4 million or so by going with the rookie next year.

Back or gone? Gone!

ALEX GONZALEZ: For those who never got to see him much in the National League, Gonzalez has been a revelation in the field, the equal of any shortstop in the game defensively. Gonzalez has made just seven errors and if he’s not the Gold Glove winner in the American League, there should be an investigation.

But Gonzalez’s is hitting just .255 and has been notoriously streaky at the plate, going from under .220 for much of the first few months, up to as high as .291, then back down to his current number. If the Sox are intent on starting Pedroia at second, it’s highly doubtful they would go into the year with so little offense from their double-play combination. In the A.L., shortstop is often an offensive position and the Sox believe they need to upgrade here.

Back or gone? Gone!

Doug Mirabelli: With the benefit of hindsight, the trade for Mirabelli was one of the biggest missteps of the 2006 season. The Sox gave up a far better catcher (Josh Bard) and tossed in a quality reliver (Cla Meredith) in order to get Mirabelli back to handle Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball.

But Wakefield missed a good chunk of the season with a rib fracture and Mirabelli’s one obvious skill went unused for months. In the meantime, he’s on pace to be the first Red Sox hitter in more than 30 years to get 150 or more at-bats and finish under .200.

It won’t be easy to find someone to catch Wakefield’s signature pitch, but the Sox have little choice here.

Back or gone? Gone!

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