Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cameron Willing to Accept Reduced Role

Last offseason, the Boston Red Sox signed outfielder Mike Cameron to a two year $15M contract to play center field.  The move was controversial and widely panned by most fans and media types because it forced the Red Sox to move the popular Jacoby Ellsbury from center to left field.  Cameron struggled to stay healthy after suffering from appendicitis and a torn abdominal muscle, both which required surgery.  Those injuries limited him to only playing 48 games while producing a .259/.328/.401 triple slash line.  Obviously, this didn't help the perception that the Red Sox had made a mistake in signing him to be one of their starting outfielders. 

When the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford to play left field, Cameron looked like the odd man out with Drew and Ellsbury taking the remaining two starting outfield jobs.  Cameron could've tried to force a trade, but now it looks like he's willing to accept a role as the team's fourth outfielder.
Mike Cameron had a pair of noteworthy phone conversations around the time the Red Sox signed free agent Carl Crawford to his landmark seven-year, $142 million deal.
The first was initiated by Red Sox GM Theo Epstein to inform Cameron of the acquisition shortly before the deal became public. Epstein wanted to be the first to let Cameron know of a deal that – at least on paper – was likely to consign the veteran to the role of a fourth outfielder for the 2011 Sox.
The second call was made by Cameron himself. That call was to Crawford, to welcome the Sox newcomer to Boston.
Say what you will about Cameron, but talk about a class act.  He could have whined, complained, kicked, and screamed in hopes of forcing the Red Sox to trade him to a team willing to give him 500-600 plate appearances next season.  Instead, he's accepted a reduced role in hopes of winning the championship ring that's eluded him throughout his (underrated) 16 year career.  Not many players would do that--especially ones with as much left in the tank as Cameron.

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