No, Nomar Garciaparra is not coming back, so get it out of your head before the thought is allowed to fester for too long.
In trading one-and-done Edgar Renteria to the Braves this morning for uber-prospect Andy Marte, the Red Sox were kind enough to solve Atlanta's problematic need for a shortstop. Imagine the egg on their face when they realized they now had to add the very same duty to their increasingly long laundry list of offseason chores.
Forget Nomar. John Henry would as soon welcome back Dan Duquette into his old office before that were to happen. Or have you forgotten how Garciaparra embarrassed himself and his uniform in his final days here, refusing to play on that classic July evening in the Bronx?
Dustin Pedroia? The minor league second baseman could return to the position he held at Arizona State, but the Red Sox brass seem divided on just how ready he is to take the next step to the big leagues. Craig Shipley told the Globe's Gordon Edes and Chris Snow yesterday that if you talk to five different people in the organization about Pedroia, you would get five different views as to his progress. Shipley also confirmed that if Pedroia hadn't broken his wrist last July, he might have already made the leap to the big club.
But to toss the kid out there on Opening Day and label him the everyday shortstop of the future? That's a lot to assume. Look how Renteria handled pressure in this city, never mind a 22-year-old pup.
Julio Lugo remains a slight possibility, but why? His 24 errors last season aren't exactly a huge upgrade from Renteria's biggest downfall, and he would cost the Sox Marte, by all accounts one of baseball's shining future stars. Hanley Ramirez might have been a good fit here. Too bad Mike Lowell can't make the pivot.
So instead, how do these names grab you: Alex Gonzalez, Royce Clayton, and Pokey Reese. And the incumbent Alex Cora.
Please, folks. Sit down and try to control your excitement.
There's no denying this was a financial move, the team concluding that based on the production Renteria churned out last season, he was not worth $10 million a season, dollars that can now be committed elsewhere. It certainly doesn't make the Red Sox better looking toward '06, unless the 22-year-old Marte is ready to assume his position at third, or first (depending upon whether Lowell can be flipped elsewhere), and burst onto the scene in the same manner Braves teammate Jeff Francoeur did last summer.
Again, a lot to ask.
The "Pokey would've had it" bumper stickers at least will come back in vogue. Beyond that ... well, you think of something more exciting.
And that does not include Nomar Garciaparra. Period.