Was Nomar Garciaparra the most fruitful Draft pick ever?
In 1994, the Red Sox selected Nomar Garciaparra with the No. 12 pick in the Draft. By 2016, they'd managed to turn him into Chris Sale . Does that make him the most fruitful draft pick ever? Follow along to find out how:
The Sox drafted Nomar in 1994, and he made his debut in 1996. While with Boston, he made the All-Star team five times and became nearly synonymous with the franchise (at least for Jimmy Fallon). Then came …
On July 31, the Red Sox traded Nomar away in a four-team deal. From the Boston Globe:
''It was with mixed emotions that we let Nomar go,'' [then-] general manager Theo Epstein said after hours of highly complex maneuvering culminated with Garciaparra's sudden departure. ''He's been one of the greatest Red Sox of all time.''
Along with Matt Murton, they sent him to the Cubs. The Cubs sent Francis Beltran, Alex Gonzalez and Brendan Harris to the Expos, and traded Minor Leaguer Justin Jones to the Twins. The Red Sox got Doug Mientkiewicz from the Twins and Orlando Cabrera from the Expos.
You may remember 2004 as the year Boston finally broke an 86-year-old curse and won the World Series. They got there thanks in no small part to Cabrera:
In January, Cabrera signed with the Angels. Under the old rules governing free agency, the Red Sox got two compensation Draft picks. With pick No. 23, they drafted Jacoby Ellsbury. He made his debut in 2007 … the year the Sox won yet another World Series. (The second compensation pick, No. 45, was Jed Lowrie. The Red Sox flipped him to the Astros for Mark Melancon, then sent Melancon to the Pirates for Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt.)
Ellsbury picked up a second ring with Boston in 2013, then signed with the Yankees that winter.
After losing Ellsbury to New York, the Sox got the No. 33 pick in the 2014 Draft as compensation. The team picked up RHP Michael Kopech, who became a top prospect in the organization.
During the Winter Meetings, the Red Sox announced a blockbuster trade -- Yoan Moncada, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Diaz and Kopech were going to the White Sox. In exchange, Boston got Chris Sale, just off an All-Star season where he'd led the American League in strikeouts.
If the Sox had never drafted Nomar, they never could have traded for Cabrera. That doesn't necessarily mean that they don't win the World Series in 2004, but it does mean they don't get the Draft pick that brings Ellsbury to Boston. Ellsbury was a big part of both the 2007 and 2013 championship teams, and the key that eventually brought Sale the strikeout machine to Fenway.
In the bleakest possible scenario, without Nomar, the Sox are out three World Series titles and seven seasons of Ellsbury, and certainly aren't in the Sale sweepstakes in 2016. But Nomar was drafted, and that single pick is still bringing returns to Boston. Does that make it the most fruitful draft pick ever?