Brent Lillibridge: bad baseball player, or medical real-estate developer? Both?
It's been a while since we've had a sobering "this is how bad we got" season review. Enter Brent Lillibridge.
When the Red Sox traded Kevin Youkilis back in June, the general feeling was that they just didn't get enough back. Even if Youkilis was clearly on the outs thanks to Bobby Valentine's management style and the advent of Will Middlebrooks, the advantage to trading Youkilis instead of holding onto him as an impressive bench player came almost exclusively from removing a clubhouse problem.
Of course, in this situation that was just one clubhouse problem of a million. It was treating a symptom instead of the problem, and as a result we saw no great healing. The Red Sox were still a circus act, the on-field product remained mediocre, and all the team got out of it was a long-shot lottery ticket of an arm in Zach Stewart...and of course Brent Lillibridge.
Now, for the most part Red Sox fans seem to think Brent Lillibridge is a bad baseball player. If you thought that, however, you are wrong. Don't blame yourself; I thought the same thing for a good while. But, after careful study, I've determined that more than half of a random sampling of people off the street could hit .125/.125/.125 in the majors based on weak rollers to third that resulted in errant throws with a generous scorer making the call between error and hit. Thus, I have determined that there is, in fact, no evidence that Brent Lillibridge is a baseball player at all.
I theorize that he is in fact a medical real-estate developer. The Sox certainly had injuries enough to make them a prime target for infiltration. Maybe he's trying to sell the team their own hospital?
Still, that's neither here nor there. The point is that Brent Lillibridge was bad at baseball, and we should feel bad about the fact that he once started at first. No, seriously, that happened.
In the end, however, Lillibridge might actually end up being the better half of that deal for Youkilis. For one thing, it's hard to match Zach Stewart in terms of pure awfulness last year. Maybe we should thank the young man for losing us two more games (kept us from a close race for a top-10 draft spot! Woo!), but he put us through a couple of painful games. Meanwhile, Lillibridge got himself traded out to Cleveland in a right hurry, bringing back Jose De La Torre. It's likely most of you don't even know he exists, but right now he's coming off a very good year of relief pitching in Triple-A, and you can never have enough arms like that so long as they don't take up room on the 40-man roster.