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Hot Stove Talk: Nomar Garciaparra

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After it was mentioned in the Plain Dealer that the Indians were interested in Nomar, I took a quick peek at his career stats. And I was struck at how good he was and also how quickly he's fallen out of the public spotlight. Just two years ago, he was arguably the face of the Boston Red Sox. Then he was dealt at the deadline, his former team won the World Series, and he suffered a serious injury the next season.

The biggest problem with Nomar isn't his bat, which is still pretty good. The problem is his health, and more specifically, his durability. That's probably why he'll be hard-pressed to get a long-term deal in an extremely thin free agent market. Another issue clouding his future is what position he'll be playing; I don't know if he can play shortstop full-time, and the only other position where he's played has been third base. Can he play the outfield? What about first base?

The problem is that Nomar's value decreases the farther right on the defensive spectrum he goes. This is why players like Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta are so valuable to the Indians (getting beyond financial apsects) - they play premium defensive positions, yet were among the best hitters in the league regardless of position.

Aaron Boone is penciled in at third base, and manager Eric Wedge has said that Peralta would not lose playing time to Garciaparra. So that means if the Indians sign him, he'd be learning a new position. Moving Garciaparra to first base seems the obvious fit, as the organization still isn't happy with Ryan Garko's defense, and would like to upgrade at first or right field. He could still play some third and short, but I'm leery about placing a guy coming off a serious groin injury in the outfield.