The Red Sox have acquired shortstop Alex Gonzalez and roughly $1.1 million from the Reds for minor leaguer Kris Negron.
Shortstop has been a trouble spot for the BoSox all year. On the year, the club has a -21.9 UZR, good (the better term would be bad) enough for 26th in the bigs. They’re 29th with a .679 defensive efficiency rating, and most of this can be traced to the shortstop spot as well as third base.
Gonzalez posted the best defensive season of his career with the Red Sox before becoming merely “good” with Cincinnati — but good is all it will take for the Red Sox’s defense to improve leaps and bounds.
With the bat, Gonzalez is hitting a poor .210/.258/.296 in 270 plate appearances. Since the All-Star Break, he’s checking in at .197/.261/.270. Boston certainly didn’t acquire him for his bat. With a .283 xBABIP, he’s been decidedly unlucky on the year. Couple that with his .725 OPS at Fenway Park in 2006 (.671 on the road) and I figure the Sox are betting that his numbers increase to Nick Green territory, which will be good enough.
The Sox’s shortstop position is dire enough that Gonzalez could see his $6 million option picked up for next year. Jed Lowrie has essentially had a lost season while the free agent market for shortstops in the offseason is tepid at best. Marco Scutaro heads up the dignitaries at that position, and the Sox certainly would love to bring him in but can they run the risk of being out-bid? All it will take is an irrational three-year deal from Cincinnati.
Negron is a 23-year old stuck in A-ball and figures to project as nothing but an average backup infielder.
Gonzalez figures to boot Chris Woodward from the roster and pair up with Green to at least provide steady defense for the remainder of the year. Gonzalez certainly won’t be worth a win — a half-win at best, assuming he doesn’t go all Albert Pujols on us — but any upgrade is worth it.