When we are all spouting off against Curt Schilling in my recent article about him, we veered off track for a little bit and got on the subject of Edgar Renteria. How good has Renteria been this season? Has he been a disappointment? How has he affected the team this season? Is he overpaid?
First, let's break down how Renteria has played this season. After going 2-for-4 in the third game against the Detroit Tigers, he has the following stats on the season:
Can we really complain about a .285 average? Of course we can. But why would we when we have regulars like Kevin Millar (.269) who can't bat his weight, and Mark Bellhorn (.216) who's floating around the Mendoza Line. As the season has progressed, Renteria has progressed as well. He is hitting .351 in August, which is right behind his production in May, where he hit .354. Ever since the All-Star break it has been the same deal. He is hitting .322 since the All-Star break with a .399 on-base percentage, which is up from .327 compared to the first half.
His defense has obviously been very poor this season with the second lowest fielding percentage for qualified shortstops at .953. His range factor (4.33) and zone rating (.821) are also towards the low-end of the pack. It seems to me that he wanted to make an impression on the fans early on but the errors just started to pile up and he couldn't get out of the rut. His career high in errors is 27 in .2000 with St. Louis so it looks like he may break that record. He is a gold glove shortstop, though, and can obviously play the position with the best of them.
We need to look at what he brings to the table that you can't see with statistics, though. He's a table setter, in my opinion. And that's what he should be in the two-hole. He lays down the bunts when we need him to, and he gets those clutch hits that we need him to get in front of David Ortiz. He's also been walking this year; something that is very valuable to the two-spot. Here's a breakdown of his OBP differential:
His differential this season is right up there with some of his best seasons, and it's a lot better than what he put up for the 2004 season. His differential after the All-Star break is even better at .077. So that means his differential is on the rise and he may even top his previous seasons.
Is Renteria overpaid? You could say so. But I personally think you have to give a player at least two seasons in a new park before you can judge if they are overpaid or not. He is earning 8 million dollars this season and is due 32 million dollars over the final three years of his contract. I think we need another year to see how he produces before we can say if he is overpaid or not. Is he overpaid if he hits .330 like he did a few seasons ago for St. Louis? I don't think so. Is he overpaid if he hits .260? I think so, but I also don't see him doing that poorly.
My conclusion is that Renteria has been good this season. Has he been great? No, and he hasn't been playing how we have hoped. But we have high expectations for everyone that throws on a Red Sox uniform, year in and year out. He may not be having a great season for himself, but compared to some others he is having a very good season.