There were many new arrivals on the Boston sports scene for 2012, some making a bigger impact than others. From Cody Ross of the Red Sox to Brandon Lloyd of the Patriots, we’ve seen some acquisitions that have contributed greatly to their teams, while other new faces in town have not fared so well.
With 2012 winding down, we take a look back at the new players who arrived on the scene via trade or free agency and let you decide if the player was worth it or not over the past year.
Brandon Lloyd, Patriots wide receiver
He’s not lighting the league on fire, but wide receiver Brandon Lloyd is working out a whole lot better for the Patriots than Chad Ochocinco did.
Lloyd signed a three-year deal with the Patriots in March for $12 million with incentives.
The athletic receiver had thrived under coach Josh McDaniels, now the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, in Denver and St. Louis, and was projected as another viable option at receiver for QB Tom Brady. But Lloyd saw his targets fall after the first game of the season and it was rumored that Brady had been losing confidence in Lloyd.
But Brady and Lloyd have been connecting more late in the season. After a strong showing against the Texans in Game 13, Lloyd had his best game as a Patriot against the 49ers in Game 14, catching 10 passes for 190 yards.
The 31-year-old Lloyd now has four touchdowns among his 67 catches—on 113 targets—and 840 yards on the season. He’s made the bulk of his catches outside the numbers on the field and has not had many memorable runs after the catch this season, averaging 2.7 yards-after-catch this season.
Andrew Bailey, Red Sox reliever
Bailey came to town as a two-time All-Star who saved 75 games for Oakland the previous two seasons. The 28-year-old closer who would replace the venerable Jonathan Papelbon suffered a right thumb injury in spring training and missed the first 116 games of the season.
Bailey, who was paid $3.9 million last season, tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb when he collided with a runner while covering first base in a spring training game. He did not play his first game for the Sox until Aug. 14 and pitched only 6⅔ innings.
To add insult to injury, Bailey came to the Sox—along with outfielder Ryan Sweeney—via a trade with the Oakand A’s for outfielder Josh Reddick. Reddick had a career-year with the Athletics, banging out 32 homers and 85 RBIs in leading the A’s to the postseason.
Brandon Bass, Celtics forward
So long Big Baby, hello Brandon Bass.
The two former LSU stars changed uniforms when the Celtics acquired Bass from the Orlando Magic in December 2011 in exchange for Glen “Big Baby’’ Davis and Von Wafer. In his first regular season game with the Celtics, Bass, who earned $4.25 million last season, scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in a loss to the New York Knicks on Christmas Day.
The 6-foot-8 power forward played a major role in the Celtics’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and averaged career-bests with 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds logging 31.7 minutes a game in his first season with the Celtics. On May 21, Bass tallied a career playoff high 27 points to lead the Celtics to a 3-2 series lead over the Philadelphia 76ers.
In July, the 27-year-old Bass re-signed with the Celtics in a 3-year, $20 million deal. He is averaging 8.7 points per game this season.
Joe Corvo, Bruins defenseman
The 34-year-old defenseman played for the Kings, Senators, Hurricanes, and Capitals before joining the Bruins in exchange for Boston’s fourth round choice (Trevor Carrick) in 2012 NHL draft.
He finished the season with 4 goals and 21 assists in 75 games. He went scoreless in five postseason games. Corvo was an unrestricted free agent—$2.25 million salary cap figure—after the season ended and was signed by Carolina in July.
Aaron Cook, Red Sox starter
When the Red Sox’ rotation started breaking down in 2012, Cook was called to fill a starting role.
The 33-year-old sinkerballer joined the Red Sox as a free agent in January and started the season in the minors before he was called up to fill in for Josh Beckett in May. Cook injured his knee in his first start and wound up on the disabled list.
The soft-tossing righthander ended up going 4-11 with a 5.65 ERA, starting 18 games, the highlight being a complete-game two-hit shutout against the Mariners in Seattle.
The former Rockies All-Star, who earned $1.5 million plus incentives, became a free agent in October.
Aqib Talib, Patriots cornerback
When the Patriots needed help in the secondary, they made a bold move and turned to the controversial 26-year-old veteran cornerback Aquib Talib.
The Buccaneers sent the talented but volatile Talib and a 2013 seventh-round pick to New England in exchange for a 2013 fourth-round pick.
In addition to a host of off-field incidents, Talib had violated the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances and received a four-game suspension in October.
Talib has had an up-and-down start to his Patriots career. He has one interception and 13 tackles in five games, and has given up a few big plays. In 58 games with Tampa Bay, Talib recorded 53 pass breakups and 18 interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns.
Talib, selected as the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft, is in the final year of his rookie contract, and New England is paying him a pro-rated $762,794 for the final seven weeks of the regular season.
Greg Stiemsma, Celtics center
Stiemsma found a home in Boston last season after playing in the Turkish Basketball League, the Korean Basketball League, and for the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
The University of Maryland product was a training camp invite signed by the Celtics last December for the rookie minimum contract.
The 6-foot-11 Stiemsma, who is limited offensively, blocked six shots against the Hornets in his NBA debut. He played in 55 games for the Celtics last season, averaging 2.9 points and 1.5 blocks per game, briefly becoming a defensive sensation and a strong rotation player.
He averaged 13.9 minutes in 55 regular season games and 7.5 minutes in 19 postseason games. But Stiemsma struggled at times guarding the pick-and-roll and Ryan Hollins outplayed Stiemsma as a backup throughout the playoffs.
After the season, the Celtics were reluctant to offer Stiemsma the valuable biannual exception and the restricted free agent signed a four-year deal with the Timberwolves in August.
Marty Turco, Bruins goaltender
After Tuukka Rask suffered a groin injury last March, the Bruins signed former Chicago and Dallas goalie Marty Turco to a one-year contract to help give starting goalie Tim Thomas some much-needed rest.
The 10-year veteran hadn’t played NHL hockey in a year when the Bruins signed him, and Turco was routed in his first game with the B’s—a 6-1 loss to the Lightning in Tampa.
Turco finished the season 2-2-0, with 3.68 goals-against average in five games. In the 36-year-old goaltender’s final game, he saved 22 shots en route to a 5-3 loss to the Penguins. He was not eligible to play in the postseason because he signed after the trade deadline.
Mark Melancon, Red Sox reliever
The former Astros closer came to Boston via the trade route last offseason when the Red Sox shipped Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland to Houston in exchange for the 27-year-old Melancon.
Melancon, who saved 20 games for the Astros in 2011, was supposed to be part of the mix to help close out games in Andrew Bailey’s absence. But the former Yankee product struggled early and was shipped to the Triple A PawSox in April after one of the worst outings in major league history when he faced six batters, did not retire any, and gave up three home runs and walked two in an 18-3 loss to the Rangers. To that point, Melancon had surrendered homers to five of the 18 batters he had faced.
After an extended trip to Pawtucket, Melancon found his way back to Boston and went on to pitch in 41 games for the Red Sox, going 0-2 with a 6.20 ERA, striking out 41 and walking 12 in 45 innings of work.
Melancon earned $521,000 last season and is eligible for salary arbitration in 2014.
Vicente Padilla, Red Sox reliever
Padilla looked like the ultimate villain character in a B-movie, but for a while he was the ultimate savior to a beleagured Red Sox bullpen, working as the set-up man for fill-in closer Alfredo Aceves.
The 34-year-old master of many pitches appeared in 56 games for the Red Sox and finished 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA and one save. He had a stint on the disabled list in August due to bicep soreness.
The Nicaraguan hurler had a tendency to hit batters during his days with Philadelphia and Texas, but plunked only three with the Sox last season. He is one of the few pitchers in baseball to throw an eephus pitch, although he rarely threw it at Fenway.
During the season, Padilla accused the Yankees Mark Teixeira of mistreating his Latin teammates while they played together in Texas and also said Teixeira once threatened to hit him with a bat, a charge Teixeira denied. Padilla also said Teixeira would be “better off playing a women’s sport.”
Padilla, a 2002 All-Star with the Phillies, signed a minor-league free-agent deal with the Red Sox in the offseason, and earned $1,500,00 in Boston. He was granted free agency in October.
Chris Wilcox, Celtics forward
The 6-foot-10 forward/center from Raleigh, N.C. helped the University of Maryland win its first NCAA championship in 2002.
The energetic Wilcox spent time with the Clippers, Supersonics, Thunder, Knicks, and Pistons before joining the Celtics as a free agent last season for the $3 million midlevel exception. The hopes were that Wilcox could be an effective backup for Kevin Garnett and Wilcox had a solid first year in Boston. After being diagnosed with an aortic aneurism, he was waived by the Celtics in March 2012 but was later cleared to play and rejoined Boston in July in a $1.35 million deal.
The 30-year-old big man started four times and was among the first options off the bench in 28 games last season, averaging 5.4 points in 17.2 minutes per game, but struggled to be a force on the boards. This season, Wilcox is averaging 4.8 points and 13.4 minutes per game after missing the preseason with a back injury.
Steve Gregory, Patriots safety
The seventh-year safety out of Syracuse signed with New England as an unrestricted free agent March 16 after six years with the San Diego Chargers. His three-year contract is worth a maximum of $8.8 million.
After starting the first four games of the season at safety, the 29-year-old Gregory was felled by a hip injury in Week 4, which caused him to miss the next four games. In his first game back, Gregory registered a season-high nine tackles against the Bills (including four unassisted).
The 5-foot-11-inch, 200-pounder from Staten Island, N.Y., had his most memorable game against the Jets on Thanksgiving when he triggered a 35-point eruption in the second quarter by feasting on turnovers — scoring his first NFL touchdown on a 32-yard fumble return, forcing a fumble, recovering another, and intercepting a pass by Mark Sanchez. At the end of the game, on the national NBC broadcast, Gregory was awarded the traditional Thanksgiving award, along with teammates Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork.
Kelly Shoppach, Red Sox catcher
You can go home again… but not for long.
The Red Sox originally selected Shoppach in the second round of the 2001 MLB draft and he was called up to Boston for the first time in May 2005, but went hitless in 15 at-bats. After four years with the Indians and two with the Rays, Shoppach came back to Boston last season in a free agent deal worth $1,135,00.
The 32-year-old catcher appeared in 48 games for Bobby Valentine’s squad, primarily as the backup to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, before getting traded to the Mets in August for Pedro Beato, the player named later in the deal.
The New York Daily News reported that Shoppach, and not Adrian Gonzalez, was behind a text message sent to Red Sox owners in July complaining about Valentine. Shoppach clashed with Valentine regarding his lack of playing time earlier in the season and Valentine recently admitted that he and Shoppach never got along while the two were in Boston.
Shoppach batted .250 with five home runs and 17 RBIs before getting dealt.
Brian Rolston, Bruins right winger
It was the second time around in Boston for Rolston who played with the Bruins from 1999-2003 when he came to town as part of the Ray Bourque trade to Colorado.
Last February, the Islanders traded Rolston and Mike Mottau to the Bruins in exchange for Marc Cantin and Yannick Riendeau.
The 38-year-old right winger laced up for 21 games and scored 3 goals to go along with 12 assists.
It’s possible that the veteran could return to the Bruins, but it would be at a significant salary reduction ($5 million salary cap figure).
Keyon Dooling, Celtics guard
The 6-foot-3 reserve point guard was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft by the Orlando Magic and was traded to the Clippers on draft night. He played with the Clippers, Heat, Magic, Nets, Bucks, and Celtics.
Last December, the C’s traded the draft rights to Albert Miralles to the Milwaukee Bucks to acquire Dooling and a 2012 second-round draft pick with the hopes he could be a productive backup/mentor to Rajon Rondo. Dooling was a good locker room presence all season and brought solid defense to the floor.
Dooling played in 46 games last season, averaging 4 points and 1.1 assists in 14.4 minutes per game, proving to be a valuable commodity as the season progressed. He earned $2.2 million last season.
In September, the 32-year-old Dooling announced his retirement from the NBA after 12 seasons and now serves as a player development coordinator for the Celtics.
Pedro Ciriaco, Red Sox infielder
There was Pedro Ciriaco fever in Boston… for a few days in August anyway.
The 27-year-old infielder from San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox in January after two years with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ciriaco had a monster spring training for the Red Sox, but started the season in Pawtucket before getting called up to Boston on July 6.
He became known as a Yankee Killer during the season, batting .415/436/.566 in 14 games against the Bronx Bombers.
Ciriaco appeared in 76 games in total for the Red Sox, playing second base, shortstop, all three outfield positions, and later filling in for the injured Will Middlebrooks at third base. Ciriaco showed surprising pop in his bat and finished the season batting .293/.315/.390 with 19 extra-base hits and 19 RBIs.
Scott Podsednik, Red Sox outfielder
The 36-year-old outfielder was best known for his time with the White Sox, where he won a World Series title in 2005.
In May, the Red Sox purchased Podsednik’s contract from the Phillies in order to get some center field help after Jacoby Ellsbury went down with an injury. Podsednik was shipped to the Diamondbacks along with reliever Matt Albers at the trading deadline, but returned to Boston in August after getting released by Arizona.
An above average defensive outfielder, the speedy Podsednik appeared in 63 games for the Red Sox and batted .302 with a homer and 12 RBIs.
Benoit Pouliot, Bruins left winger
The 26-year-old left wing—formerly the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NHL draft—signed with the Bruins as a free agent before the start of the 2011-12 season.
The Bruins No. 3 left winger had 16 goals and 16 assists in 74 games and had a $1.1 million salary cap figure in 2011-12.
In June, the Bruins traded the rights to Pouliot to Tampa Bay for Michel Ouellet and Tampa Bay’s fifth round choice (Seth Griffith) in the 2012 NHL draft.
Cody Ross, Red Sox outfielder
Perhaps the headline should be “cheerful Cody Ross’’ as Larry Lucchino referred to him in the Red Sox CEO’s famous midseason letter to season ticket holders.
Ross, best known for his 2010 postseason heroics as a member of the San Francisco Giants, joined the Red Sox as a free agent last January on a one-year, $3 million deal. In May, Ross fractured his foot on a foul ball and did not return to the lineup until July 19.
Ross’s signature moment with the Red Sox in 2012 was a July three-run walkoff bomb over the Green Monster against the White Sox. Although his walkoff blast failed to ignite a winning streak, many fans called for the Red Sox to lock up Ross in a long-term deal.
The 31-year-old outfielder batted .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs and 81 RBIs, playing in 130 games. He is a free agent.
Michael Hoomanawanui, Patriots tight end
The 6-foot-4, 263-pound Hoomanawanui signed with the Patriots in September after being cut by the St. Louis Rams, where he played under current New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
The 24-year-old former Illinois receiver had 20 catches for 229 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games with the Rams over the last two seasons.
Hoomanawanui plays tight end, fullback—he has yet to get a carry—and also plays on special teams for the Patriots. He’s been asked mostly to block when on offense and played a season-high 43 snaps against the Texans in Week 14. He was on the receiving end of a 41-yard pass by Tom Brady to set up the Patriots’ second touchdown in the loss to the 49ers on Sunday, serving as the second tight end over Daniel Fells.
He is on the books for $540,000 this season.
Mickael Pietrus, Celtics guard
The 30-year-old Pietrus, a 6-foot-6 veteran swingman from Guadeloupe who entered the NBA as the 11th pick of the 2003 draft, lasted just one season with the Celtics.
The nine-year veteran who played with the Warriors, Magic, and Suns, signed a $1.3 million deal with Boston last December, two days after Phoenix waived him.
The energetic Pietrus battled knee problems through much of his career. In March, Pietrus hit his head on the floor in Philadelphia after being blocked on a layup. He was taken off the court by stretcher and was diagnosed with a Grade 3 concussion. He made a surprising return to the floor against the Atlanta Hawks on April 11, but his performance dipped after his return.
Pietrus, who has been a 35.7 percent 3-point shooter throughout his career, struggled offensively with his shooting and shot selection into the postseason. Pietrus scored in double-figures twice in 20 playoff games. Pietrus averaged 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds-per-game for the season.
When the Celtics couldn’t offer him anything beyond the veteran’s minimum, Pietrus signed with the Toronto Raptors in November.
Ryan Sweeney, Red Sox outfielder
The 6-foot-4 Sweeney didn’t hit a lot of home runs before coming to Boston, and the trend continued when he joined the Red Sox last season.
Before coming to Boston, the 27-year-old played four years with the Oakland A’s and two years with the Chicago White Sox.
Sweeney came to the Red Sox—along with closer Andrew Bailey—via a trade with the Oakand A’s for outfielder Josh Reddick, who hit 32 homers for the playoff-bound Athletics.
On Opening Day, it was Sweeney who rallied the Red Sox back, only to ultimately lose, 3-2, in Detroit. But there were few highlights beyond that. In 63 games, Sweeney hit .260 with 16 RBIs and no home runs, then was lost for the season when he broke a bone in his left hand punching a metal door at Fenway Park.
Sweeney made $1,750,00 last season and was granted free agency in November.
Greg Zanon, Bruins defenseman
The 32-year-old from Burnaby, British Columbia was traded to Boston by Minnesota for Steven Kampfer last February.
The defenseman played in 17 games for the Bruins and scored a goal and an assist. He also had one assist in 7 playoff games for Boston.
The free agent was signed by the Colorado Rockies in July.
Daniel Fells, Patriots tight end
After spending last year with the Broncos, Fells signed a three-year free agent deal with the Patriots in March and is making $1.3 million this season.
The 29-year-old tight end missed much of training camp with injuries.
The 6-foot-4-inch Fells has three catches for 77 yards in 11 games for the Patriots. He played a season-high 57 snaps against the Jets, and had a 24-yard reception that was part of a second-half touchdown drive.
Nick Punto, Red Sox infielder
The scrappy infielder signed a two-year contract with the Red Sox worth $3 million last winter to be the Red Sox’ backup shortstop and fill-in second baseman.
The switch-hitting Punto batted just .200 for the Red Sox in 65 games before getting shipped to Los Angeles in the blockbuster deal in August that also saw Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett sent to the Dodgers.
He’s best known for tweeting a photo of Gonzalez, Beckett, and himself aboard a plane headed to LA with the caption: “#dodgers doing it first class!’’
Punto appeared in 22 games with the Dodgers after the trade and batted .286.