As the trade deadline approached last year, Manny Delcarmen was a hot commodity. In the first half of the season, Delcarmen had kept his ERA to a paltry 2.41, allowing only a .673 OPS against. With David Ortiz both struggling through the early months, rumors regarding a possible trade of the cost-controlled Delcarmen to a National League team looking for a closer in exchange for a bat were commonplace, with the Nationals’ Nick Johnson being the popular choice.
While it may seem like a less-than-obvious choice to deal an impressive reliever, there was a giant red flag when it came to MDC that should have made it much easier. Only 24 strikeouts to 16 walks in that first half. Zero home runs despite allowing a fair few fly balls. In short, he was a lucky pitcher. So it was no surprise when he came crashing to Earth in the second half, looking like the least effective pitcher in perhaps the entire league.
But the Red Sox didn’t take advantage of MDC’s high stock, and so it went to waste. And the only thing that the Red Sox can say about that is “lucky us.”
Imagine if they did trade for Nick Johnson. Then what? If they still pick up Victor Martinez, they’ve got even more guy for three positions than they ended up with last year, and someone probably has to go. With David Ortiz showing nothing…Who knows if he’s around to put up his big second half from last year before largely returning to form in 2010. The Sox may not be making the postseason at the end of the year, but having at least one last big go-around from Big Papi has been one of the highlights of the season.
And it’s not like the Red Sox have come up completely empty-handed. Chris Balcom-Miller is a prospect to watch, combining a high strikeout rate with a tiny walk rate while keeping the ball on the ground with the best of them. He may not light up the radar gun, but after missing their chance to sell high on Delcarmen, Balcom-Miller is a surprisingly good catch for selling low.
The Red Sox may not have played their hand quite right with Delcarmen, but somehow they didn’t really lose much.
Aside from all those games Delcarmen pitched in.