In psychology they call it 'ownership bias', the attachment one gets for what one possesses. In baseball, we call it the love affair for our hometown 'boys', whether they've earned it or scorned us.
Www.baseball-reference.com gives us a means of quantifying how much love 'our boys' have shown us, using something called similarity scores. We can compare our guys to statistically similar players throughout baseball history, and see how much we might value some of those 'strangers'.
First let's focus on the hitters we think are staying, Jason Varitek, Edgar Renteria, Kevin Youkilis, and probably Trot Nixon. We'll then look at 'the always leaving' Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Tony Graffanino, Bill Mueller, and Kevin Millar.
Varitek's top similarity scores by age are: Darren Fletcher, Mike MacFarlane, Sandy Alomar, Mike Lieberthal, and Darren Daulton. Not bad, but nobody headed to Cooperstown.
Renteria lines up with Allen Trammell, Dick Bartel, Jim Fregosi, Roberto Alomar, Derek Jeter, and Lou Boudreau. Boudreau is going to the Hall of Fame, and (deal with it) so is Jeter.
Youkilis doesn't have enough of a track record for comparisons yet.
Nixon's comps include Dante Bichette, Carl Everett, Jeffrey Hammonds, Reggie Sanders, and Ben Ogilvie. Again, pretty good players, but no superstars.
Manny Ramirez's matches for age include Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey, and Jim Thome. Lofty company indeed.Need I say more?
Damon's similars ring up Tim Raines, Cesar Cedeno, Willie Davis, Lou Brock, and Pete Rose, obviously a group of pretty gifted players. Damon's 3 year OPS numbers are .750, .857, .805, with an OBP of .366 this year. He was ninth in times on base and fourth in runs. His stolen base totals have fallen below 20 for the past two years, and his global defense is mediocre, with good range and a weak arm.
Graffanino rings up Nelson Liriano, Randy Velarde, Lee Lacy, Jim Leyritz, and Scott Hatteberg.
Bill Mueller's category by age shows us Joe Randa, Don Hoak, Jeff Cirillo, Don Buford, and Bip Roberts, all guys who had decent careers, but complementary players, not cornerstones.
Kevin Millar has surprisingly good company including Huff, Nixon, Mike Easler, Raul Ibanez, and Brad Fullmer. The problem with Millar is the OPS trend, .875, .820, .857, .754 which suggests that Millar may have just fallen off the edge of competence.
The reason the Right Sox aren't in the World Series isn't just the need for more pitching. The offense had plenty of weaknesses down the stretch, and the GM, be it Theo or a Neo, will have plenty of work to rebuild this team.