Beltre’s Gold Glove a Painful Reminder for Red Sox


When the Gold Glove awards were presented on Tuesday night, it was bittersweet to see Adrian Beltre take home the hardware for the third base position.  Not only did Beltre beat out Red Sox third baseman, Kevin Youkilis, but it reminded all Red Sox fans on what Theo Epstein and his posse let walk out of Beantown. 

Sure everyone is happy to see Beltre win the award and perhaps shove a little dirt in the faces of the Red Sox brass for letting the now three-time gold glove winner walk out of town and sign with the Texas Rangers.  But it’s the painful thought of “what could’ve been” that is so gut wrenching.

Now, I understand the reason why Beltre was not resigned, to make room for Adrian Gonzalez.  In order to free up first base Youkilis was moved to third and hence Beltre became the odd man out.  But let’s look at the numbers for a minute and just compare what exactly the Red Sox gave up in Beltre. 

Both Youk and Beltre missed some time this past season therefore their games played were almost identical, 120 vs 124.  Beltre hit .296, Youkilis hit .258 – point for Beltre.  Adrian hit 32 home runs, Youkilis hit 17 – point for Beltre.  Beltre drove in 105 RBI, Youkilis had 80 RBI – point for Beltre.  Do you see a trend happening here?

Youkilis had an OBP of .373, Beltre an OBP of .331. – point for Youkilis.  Beltre had a slugging percentage of .561, Youkilis was .459 – another point for Beltre.  How about OPS?  Beltre’s was .892 to that of .833 for Youk.  It’s pretty clear who had the better season, but you might say it was only one year, so not a fair sample pool.  Fair enough.

When you compare last season when Beltre was in Boston, it was he who had the superior year.  Granted he did play in 52 more games than Youkilis, but aside from his OBP, Beltre’s numbers were very comparable to Youk’s.

Both players are 32-years of age, just another fact that is similar.  These two are so close it’s not even funny.

Where the seperation starts to happen is when we started to hear about how Youkilis was behaving in the clubhouse.  It came out after this season that Youk was one of the main culprits for alienating players, namely Jacoby Ellsbury.  To me this is 100% unacceptable.  It’s this type of behavior that drives a wedge into a team and ultimately destroys any leadership you may have had.  Is Youk the only one responsible for what’s being characterized as a dysfunctional clubhouse?  Absolutetly not.  But if he’s even remotely responsible for isolating other players then he needs to be removed from the situation.  In other words, he’s gotta go.

We can’t go back in time, we all know that (I know I could use a few do-overs in my time, but that’s a story for another day).  But looking back, when you have Youkilis who is an all-star first baseman and would have brought a pretty hefty return in a trade, why not send him packing and keep Beltre?  Looking ahead it appears that Beltre is set up for a longer, more successful career than Youkilis.  Youk has an ailing body to go along with a disturbing attitude.  Beltre isn’t exactly a blooming rosebud either, but if I have to pick one, I’m going with Beltre.  And we haven’t even touched on the defensive side of the ball!  After this season of watching Youk miss balls because of his injuries, the scales now tip in Beltre’s favor by a fair amount.

Seeing the former Red Sox collect his Gold Glove trophy the other night reassured one thing; Theo Epstein and his crew let the wrong man get away.  Oh well, we have Ben Cherington now and hopefully he won’t make the same mistakes.

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