I was wrong!
This is what I had to say about the Mike Cameron signing on December 15, 2009:
“Folks, Mike Cameron is not Willie Mays. He’s not Ken Griffey. And he probably isn’t Ellis Burks. That being said, he’s not Jay Payton either. Instead, Cameron is a relatively affordable guy who is a GREAT fielder and can rake left-handed pitching. And at just under $8M/yr, he represents good value, provides the RS with lots of flexibility, and should prosper at Fenway Park.”
It turns out Cameron didn’t hit anything, he couldn’t stay healthy, he gave the Red Sox no flexibility and his value ended up being in the red, not the black. Ultimately, his WAR over 1.5 seasons was -1.0, meaning a replacement player would have provided more production at roughly 6% of the cost.
The Sox simply had no choice but to Euthanize Cameron. His impotence at the plate had been diagnosed as chronic, he was beginning to look challenged in the field and he was taking up a roster spot at a time where the Red Sox need more options, not less.
The obvious replacement is Danial Nava who is nursing second degree burns from a blistering June. Granted, Nava didn’t blow anyone away after he made his historic debut last season, but he slashed 402/500/561 in June and even a 240/310/370 split would be a big improvement over Cameron. Another replacement could be Yamaico Navarro who might not be a regular outfielder but with Kevin Youkilis walking around on a bruised wheel, the Sox might opt for a little inf-of flexibility.
We can now close the book on Cameron and truthfully, Cam’s signing is one of the worst blemishes on Theo Epstein’s resume. Certainly on par with Julio Lugo and in the conversation with John lackey. And with that, I would like to apologize to Jay Payton for implying back in 2009 that Mike Cameron was not in your league. It turns I was wrong.