It's been made official. Well as official as the internet can be. Jacoby Ellsbury will be sliding over to left field and Mike Cameron will be the new center fielder. That's according to multiple reports, and if there's been multiple, it must be true.
Time for my "baseball fan vs baseball stat guy" debate that I tend to always bring up. A stat guy is going to tell you Cameron is the better fielder with the better arm and the better UZR fielding rating. All this is true as far as I can tell from multiple clicks to various sites with "graph" and "stat" in their titles'. It's what people in the biz (or so I'm told) call "research". The way I see it, you're taking a guy, Ellsbury, that is fast as sh*t and can cover tons of ground and moving him to a part of the field with no ground to cover (in Fenway at least). I don't buy into the UZR rating that says Ells is a poor fielder. Point blank, no matter what kind of break or how bad he supposedly is at reading the ball off the bat, the dude can cover some serious ground and get to balls that the 37 year old Cameron will not be able to get to. Also, with that huge Green wall out in left, it helps to have someone with a strong arm so when those slackers rounding first think they have an easy double you get the LF throwing a strike to 2B to cut him down. So the poorly formed conclusion I'm coming to here is that I value Jacoby's speed over Cameron's overall ability. Like most things baseball, the majority of the Red Sox upper management and I see this issue in different ways, hence the moving of Jacoby. I miss the days that stats were just kind of scoffed at and we all just went by gut feelings, "vibes" and if those couldn't settle the issue then contests of who could eat the most tacos.