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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best and worst Red Sox Christmas-time transactions


Can Hanrahan light up Fenway? Time will tell.

Now that it appears the Red Sox have "wrapped up" their big Christmas week trade with the Pirates, it got me thinking about how the Sox have fared in past late-December moves. It's too early to say how this swap is going to shake out; if closer Joel Hanrahan pitches in Boston like he did during most of the past two seasons, he'll be a huge step in the rebuilding effort.

Here's a look back at the success of some other Christmas-time transactions by the Red Sox:

Dec. 28, 2011: Promising outfielder Josh Reddick and minor leaguers Miles Head and Raul Alcantara traded to Oakland for closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney.
Reddick probably doesn't feel this way anymore.

Result: Not looking good so far. Bailey was injured most of the season and ineffective upon his return. The Hanrahan trade makes it pretty clear Sox management believes Bailey won't bounce back strong, and Sweeney was allowed to go to free agency after a lackluster .260, 0-homer year with Boston. As for Reddick, he was one of the biggest MLB surprises of 2012, hitting 32 homers and earning a Gold Glove with the A's. HO-HO-HO Meter -- (1/2 HO)

Dec. 24, 2004: Catcher Jason Varitek re-signed as free agent. 

A direct result of Tek's re-tendering -- another title.

Result: Strong move for two reasons. Although Varitek turned 33 in April 2005, he remained a productive offensive and defensive performer for most of the four-year deal. More importantly, the captain stabilized an ever-evolving pitching staff and helped lead the Red Sox to another World Series title in 2007. (HO-HO-HO)



Dec. 21, 2001: Outfielder Johnny Damon signed as free agent.


What would Johnny do? Plenty for the Sox.

Result: Idiot's delight. Damon delivered in every way for the Red Sox over the four-year contract, as a speedy lead-off man with power, an excellent defensive outfielder (minus his throwing arm), as a tough, enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse, and as a clutch performer in the postseason. His grand slam in Game Seven of the 2004 ALCS is one of the biggest hits in team history. (HO-HO-HO-HO) 

December 19, 2000: Outfielder Manny Ramirez signed as free agent. 
Over 8 years, Sox fans enjoyed Manny happy moments.

Result: Best free-agent signing in team history. Even at eight years and $160 million, Manny was worth it -- teaming with David Ortiz to form a devastating one-two punch and averaging .313/.412/.594 with 36 homers and  114 RBI from 2001-2007 as a major cog on two World Series champions. (HO-HO-HO-HO)

Dec. 22, 1980: Postmark date stamped on a contract mailed to Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk, two days after a deadline expired -- making Fisk a free agent. 
After switching Sox and his number, Fisk kept hitting.

Result: Holy Cliff Clavin. Fisk signs with the White Sox and over next 13 more seasons hits 214 home runs. (No HOs)

Dec. 26, 1919: Outfielder/pitcher Babe Ruth sold to Yankees for $125,000 plus a $350,00 loan.
Harry Frazee ate crow on this move.

Result:  Owner Harry Frazee's folly. Frazee didn't like Ruth's wild ways, or his demands for a $20,000 contract. So he sent the Babe packing, then watched him hit 659 homers for New York through 1934. (No HOs)

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