Red Sox deal Renteria to Braves for Marte
DALLAS -- The Boston Red Sox gave up on Edgar Renteria just one year after lavishing a four-year, $40 million contract on him, trading the shortstop to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday for third base prospect Andy Marte.
The move left Boston without a shortstop, but Red Sox senior adviser Bill Lajoie denied a much-rumored deal that would wheel Marte to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Julio Lugo. Lajoie said he expected to see Marte play for the Red Sox this year, putting him in the outfield or first base if it's necessary to get his bat in the lineup.
"We want to keep that player. ... He's ready to have a good year," said Lajoie, one of four Boston executives at the winter meetings in the absence of a general manager. "He would be one of the five players you would want to start a ballclub with."
The Braves needed a shortstop after Rafael Furcal signed a three-year, $39 million free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"We had a significant gap to fill, and we believe we've done that," Braves GM John Schuerholz said. "As painful as it is to trade a player with Marte's caliber, it needed to be done. The Red Sox got a fine young player, and we're delighted to have Edgar Renteria with the Atlanta Braves."
Renteria made the last out for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series, when Boston won it all for the first time since 1918. Then, the Red Sox made him the centerpiece of their effort to repeat.
But he led the majors with 30 errors in '05, struggling at the plate in April and finishing with a .276 average, eight homers and 70 RBI. The Red Sox had been hoping for something more like the .330 average, 13 homers and 100 RBI he had when he won his second consecutive Gold Glove in 2003.
"We were aware of it [the dropoff], of course," Schuerholz said. "But we looked at his time in the National League and we believe that when he gets back to the National League in Atlanta he will return to the Renteria of old."
What went wrong for Renteria?
"There was an adjustment period that may have lasted longer than you had hoped," Lajoie said.
Marte, 22, batted .275 with 20 homers and 74 RBI in 109 games in Triple-A last season, and .140 with no homers and four RBI in 24 games with the Braves. He is rated as the top prospect in the Braves organization by Baseball America.
"This is a throwback type of third baseman," said Lajoie, a throwback type of GM. "This is the power corner that you hope will hit 25 homers when he does play in the majors."
Boston will pay $8 million of the $26 million Renteria is owed for the next three seasons. In addition, the Red Sox must pay the $3 million buyout if his $11 million option for 2009 is declined.
"Both were significant, in this day and age," Schuerholz said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.