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Boston Trades Cameron to Florida

July 6, 2011

One of the key goals to the 2009 offseason for Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein was to find some suitable outfield depth to add to the team’s roster before the upcoming season. One of the available options on the free agent market was a then-36 year old former three-time Gold Glove winning center fielder who had just come off of a 2009 season in which he batted .250/.342/.452 with 24 HRs and 70 RBI in 544 at bats. Enter Mike Cameron. Here’s a two-year, $15.5 Million contract.

Fast forward 18 months.

Late Tuesday afternoon we learned that Cameron, who had been designated for assignment last week, has been traded to the Florida Marlins for a player to be named later. The Marlins will only be on the hook for roughly $600K of the $3.6 Million he is owed over the remainder of the season.  He could see a fair share of playing time in center field for the Marlins as they’ve received minimal production from the position during the 2011 season. Opening Day starter Chris Coghlan struggled offensively – batting a career low .230/.296/.664 with more caught stealing (6) than home runs (5) in 269 at bats – before injuring his right knee in mid June. Scott Cousins has received the bulk of the at bats since Coghlan’s injury and has actually been worse at the plate – .135/.224/.212 in 52 at bats.

Cameron hasn’t exactly been a superior offensive threat in 2011. In 105 plate appearances over 33 games he’s managed just a .149/.212/.266 line with 3 HRs while seeing time across the outfield. He is, however, a switch hitter who still possesses an acceptable range in the outfield while providing a positive veteran presence in the clubhouse – traits needed by a young and inconsistent Marlins team.

Poor offensive production and limited opportunities plagued Cameron from the start of his career with the Red Sox. Over 81 games he totaled a mere 256 at bats with a .219/.285/.352 line with 7 HRs and 24 RBI. The once stellar defense he displayed early on his career was starting to be limited by age and inconsistent use. Ultimately he will be remembered in Boston as being an overpaid acquisition that just simply didn’t work out. However, the real issue is the fact that Cameron just never profiled as the “extra outfielder” type and could not adjust to being used so sparingly when he was healthy.

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