December 20, 2005


A shortstop solution (David Lefort, 12/20/05,

Tony Graffanino surprisingly accepted the Red Sox’ arbitration offer on Monday, meaning he is essentially signed for 2006 (though the Sox could trade or release him during spring training). His return creates a logjam at second base, with the newly acquired Mark Loretta already penciled in as the starter.

Where does that leave Graffanino? One option is to make him a utilityman, though Alex Cora seems a better fit in that role. Another possibility the Sox should consider is to move either Loretta or Graffanino to shortstop, a position both have played at some point during their careers.

On the surface, moving someone across the infield to play such an important position doesn’t seem like a good idea; but consider the facts ...

# Defense: Graffanino and Loretta have made a combined 421 appearances at shortstop, with Loretta owning the lion’s share with 328. Graffanino made 13 errors in 339 chances (.962 fielding percentage, which is eight points better than Renteria’s 2005 percentage), and Loretta had 21 errors in 1,213 chances. Only two shortstops in major league baseball last season had a better fielding percentage than Loretta’s career .983 mark at short. Let that sink in for a minute.

What about zone rating and range factor? Both Graffanino and Loretta have similar numbers in those categories (at the shortstop position) as Gonzalez, who is considered one of the best defensive shortstops in the National League.

There's just no getting around that career .290 on-base percentage for Alex Gonzalez.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2005 2:17 PM

Except for his error in Game 2 vs ChiSox I thought Graffanino was a good addition last year. Still like to see the Sox get a top tier shortstop but the infield appears better than last year already.

Posted by: AWW at December 20, 2005 3:26 PM

Gonzalez would be easier to swallow if Manny actually hangs around and moderately behaves. All the Sox have to do is bat A-Gon in the No. 9 spot and pretend that, like the Brewers, they've moved to the National League.

Posted by: John at December 20, 2005 4:30 PM

I like the Loretta-Graffinino infield idea. They should be paying pitchers, not infielders, especially as the marquee infield names just aren't much better than the journeyman. They have Dustin Pedroia, who can play both second and short, coming along also.

Posted by: pj at December 20, 2005 5:17 PM

They'd be better off batting their pitchers & DHing for Gonzalez.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2005 5:17 PM