April 17, 2006

Red Sox Player Turnover

Although the season is already a few weeks old, you still should buy a copy of The 2006 Red Sox Annual, published by Maple Street Press in partnership with the Sons of Sam Horn. The book's webpage is here; a few of the articles:

Breaking Down The Red Sox's Approach To The Sacrifice Bunt by Pete Palmer

Building The 2006 Red Sox -- Misconceptions Of The Moneyball Approach by James Tetreault

A Look Into The Future -- Red Sox Minor League Report by Brandon Magee

The Enigmatic Candidacy of Jim Rice by Mark A. Brown
One small piece caught my eye. We've read countless stories about how the 2004 championship team was dismantled in near-record time, that the front office has done a huge disservice to fans by breaking up this special group of 25 guys.

Steve Mastroyin, in an introduction to his article "Examining The Reign Of Theo", looks at the five World Series champions from 2000-2004 and charts their roster retention. He lists the players remaining on Opening Day the year after winning the series (ODY1), the end of that season (EY1), Opening Day the following season (ODY2) and currently (Now).
           ODY1  EY1  ODY2  Now
2000 NYY 17 16 11 4
2001 ARZ 22 22 15 2
2002 ANA 21 19 15 9
2003 FLA 17 16 15 5
2004 BOS 16 15 10 10
One thing to remember is that the 2004 team had a number of big-name players at the end of their contracts and the departure of most of these players created a greater sense of loss. But Boston has not acted much differently than past World Series winners.

Also, the 2004 team was a mere three outs from being swept in the ALCS and if that had happened, few fans would have objected to "blowing up" the team having seen the much talked about (but now apparently forgotten) window of opportunity slammed shut.

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