Red Sox History: A fan's all-time Red Sox defensive team

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Shortstop - Orlando Cabrera

Vern Stephens, Nomar Garciaparra, and Rico Petrocelli were noted Red Sox shortstops but considered offense-first guys. Petrocelli was underrated in his defensive ability, but not one you could compare to a contemporary such as Luis Aparicio.

The only player I saw with Boston who was more intense than Pedroia was Rick Burleson, who won a GG in 1980. The "Rooster" was quick, had a great arm, and was nimble, but I will bypass him for a player who only played 58 games for the Red Sox.

Orlando Cabrera came to the Red Sox in a dramatic deadline trade in 2004, and his play was remarkable. Do the metrics lie? A case could be made that Pokey Reese was a more accomplished shortstop, but what I saw was a player who was smooth, flashy, ate up the ground balls, had a terrific arm, and did all the expected defensive work with panache.

If I had seen Johnny Pesky play, this might not have been my selection, and maybe in a few years, it will be Trevor Story. But in 2004, it was refreshing to watch Cabrera do the work that I had seen from a long list of great Latin American shortstops of the era.

Boston let Cabrera go to free agency and signed free agent Edgar Rentería, the 2002 and 2003 GG recipient in the National League. That was a one-year disaster.