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Spare parts

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  January 5, 2009 09:59 PM

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Nomar Garciaparra: I know, I know . . . no chance. But even though the final days of Nomar's run in Boston boiled over with bitterness, as the years pass, I find myself remembering mostly the good things about his Red Sox tenure. And you know there were plenty, from his rivalry with Jeter to his sincere bond with Ted Williams to the back-to-back batting titles to the shirtless SI cov . . . well, not that. But he was dynamic and beloved -- iconic, even -- and it would be cool and somewhat appropriate if he ended his career here. Sentiment is no reason to sign a player, of course -- an utter lack of emotion is one of the traits that makes Theo an effective GM -- but if by some small chance he's willing to come back here as a jack-of-all-trades, the fit might actually work. I'm all for it.

Jerry Hairston Jr.: He's an alumnus of the Mitchell Report, which might make one suspicious about his unexpectedly outstanding Age-32 season with the Reds last year (.326 average, 6 homers, 124 OPS+); the season before, after all, he hit .179 for the Rangers and looked cooked. His actual skill level falls somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, which makes him a slight upgrade on Alex Cora.

Mark Kotsay: The consummate pro, he won Tito's confidence quickly after coming over from the Braves, and with Coco Crisp now in Kansas City, he's the ideal fit as the fourth outfielder if he can't find his preferred starting gig elsewhere. I hope Theo's doing his best to sell Kotsay on returning, because he will get significant playing time.

Kevin Millar: You get the sense he'd pay to play here at this point, and the ol' Cowboy can still pop one out of the park every now and then, especially against the Yankees. Bailey's probably a better option at this point . . . but secretly, you know you'd enjoy a Millar reunion a little bit, wouldn't you?

Brad Wilkerson: At age 31, he looks washed up (.634 OPS last season), and it seems fitting that one of his baseball-reference player similarities is Ben Grieve. But he has been on the Sox' radar in the past, so Theo may see him as worthy at least a look-see. In a related note, the Rangers made out really well in that Soriano deal, didn't they? Sheesh.

Gregg Zaun: I've said all along that Jason Varitek will be back on the Red Sox' terms, and at this point it seems like only a matter of him conceding that a better offer isn't going to come along. But if it doesn't work out, the 38-year-old Zaun might be the best of an uninspiring lot of catching alternatives, if only to prevent him from tormenting the Sox. (By the way, did anyone notice that David Ross got two years and $3 million from the Braves? If that isn't an indictment on the state of catching, I don't know what is.)

* * *

As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:

Sweet jersey, though I'm pretty sure it says Chico's Bail Bonds on the back.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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