The Red Sox signing Edgar Renteria was a classic case of bringing someone to the team who simply didn’t have the mental makeup to survive playing in Boston. Hot on the heels of their historic win in the 2004 World Series, the Red Sox were in desperate need of a shortstop.
Having traded Nomar Garciaparra at the trade deadline in July and not re-signing Orlando Cabrera, they had a vacancy at what is arguably the most important defensive position in the infield. For whatever reason, the Red Sox decided to sign the free-agent shortstop who had hit into the final out of the World Series against them months before.
Edgar Renteria had been a very good shortstop for the Florida (now Miami) Marlins and won a World Series with them in 1997 in his second season. After one more year in Florida, he spent six seasons as the St. Louis Cardinals’ shortstop before Boston signed him to a four-year, $40 million contract (with an option for a fifth year).
From the very beginning, it was a disaster. Renteria only batted .228 in April to start the season and was booed by Red Sox fans at Fenway Park which visibly shook him. He led the major leagues with 30 errors in the field and only hit .276 with 8 home runs and 70 RBI for the season. In the 2005 ALDS, he hit .231 with no homers or RBI.
It was clear partway through the season to Red Sox fans, the media, and the Red Sox themselves that Renteria was a terrible fit for Boston and was a total bust. The team cut their losses by trading him after the season to the Atlanta Braves for a prospect.
Edgar Renteria’s performance on the field was massively disappointing but worse than that he just didn’t have the mental fortitude to handle playing in Boston. It also wouldn’t be the first time the Red Sox whiffed on a free agent and kept paying him to play elsewhere.