This is from Rob Neyer's latest at ESPN.com. Not surprising.If you're a Red Sox fan, you already know this, but if you're not, you might find this of interest: In the last week, Wily Mo Pena's "defense" has plainly cost the Red Sox nine bases. That's a lot. That's as many as you'll ever see. And even if the Boston Herald's Tony Massarotti weren't counting, we know the Red Sox would be. Because one of the things Bill James likes to count is defensive mistakes that do not get counted officially as errors.
I don't think I'm telling tales out of school. Bill has mentioned this in various interviews the last year or two. Anyway, now that the Red Sox are paying attention -- I mean really paying attention -- my guess is Pena's going to set some kind of team record for "clearly identifiable defensive mistakes" (although I think that's an old label that has been replaced by something more manageable). So many they'll realize his hitting doesn't (can't) balance his lousy fielding. At which point, the question for Theo Epstein becomes, "How do I convince some other team that Pena's really not as bad as we all know he is? Because there's not exactly an opening at DH."
Or maybe the Red Sox will simply limit his exposure. Let him start against left-handed pitchers, and yank him from the game as soon as the Sox are ahead by three runs or have a smaller lead in the late innings. But he simply won't be allowed to give away runs as regularly as he has been.
I'd be curious to see similar stats for Dunn defensively this season. Clearly Dunn's offense demands you overlook the defensive lapses a little more easily, but I'd love to know how many "clearly identifiable defensive mistakes" Dunn has made, and how many bases he has cost the Reds.