Red Sox pluck utilityman from Giants

Of all the moves I expected today, this wasn't one:

    The Boston Red Sox on Friday acquired infielder Kevin Frandsen from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for a player to be named later or cash.

    The 27-year-old Frandsen, who has played second base, shortstop, third base and in the outfield, is expected to provide infield depth for the Red Sox.

    "I think it gives us some depth that you don't know you'll need, but it would be a hard way to find out," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who described Frandsen as a "utility infielder type."

Now, you might reasonably be asking yourself (or Brian Sabean) why a talent-rich team like the Red Sox would be interested in a player who's apparently unwanted by a (relatively) talent-poor team like the Giants.

The answer, I think, is that the Red Sox look at whole players rather than half-players.

Kevin Frandsen isn't considered by anyone an every-day player in the major leagues. There was a moment when he looked like the Giants' Second Baseman of the Future, but Frandsen ruptured a tendon and that moment was gone. There was another moment last spring, but Frandsen went 0 for 16 and that moment was gone, too.

Now he's been labeled a utility guy, and with cause.

But he's a utility guy who can hit. Not a lot. He's not Ben Zobrist or (the Rays hope) Sean Rodriguez. But a little. Frandsen turns 28 soon and he's got a lousy line in the majors. But he's got .317/.380/.452 line in the minors, and his Triple-A stats match those numbers almost exactly. He can play some shortstop, some second base, even a little outfield.

Frandsen was run out of San Francisco because he's not much of a fielder. He's been brought to Boston because, as utility players go, he's a pretty good hitter.

Who's right about Frandsen? I've got my opinion, which is heavily influenced by the standings these last five years. As we saw this morning, though, the Giants are engaged in a search for Emmanuel Burriss's (temporary) replacement ... and yet they just traded a perfectly adequate replacement to the Red Sox for three sacks of baseline chalk and four pouches of Big League Chew.

I must be missing something.