I've always felt fielding percentage was a bit overrated in describing a players ability on the field.
It should be USED, mind you, but along with someone's RANGE.
Steve Garvey used to have very high percentages at first for the Dodgers all those years, but former 1st baseman Wes Parker (considered one of the best at that position ever) pointed out that one of the reasons Garvey's pct was high was that he rarely got to tough plays. Easier plays=higher average. Parker saw a LOT more Dodger games than I ever did, so I believe him.
Roberto Clemente had some rather poor fielding averages for an outfielder, but he certainly was among the best ever because of his incredible range and arm.
On the other hand, I believe it was Brian Downing for some reason, had a perfect fielding average in the outfield for one 100+ game season, but had all the range you'd expect an ex-catcher to have.
A bit off-my-own-topic...the Strat-o-matic replay games have gotten around the average/range difficulty by giving the range factor 1 to 5, and error factor zero and up, with the higher numbers being worse. In the example above, Clemente would be a 1-20, and Downing a 4-0.
***The train of love's deceiving...if she ain't gone she's leaving***
I've got to agree... I remember Jeff Blauser used to get a really bad rap for the amount of errors he'd commit in a single season. However, I saw him diving at balls and trying to make plays that alot of shortstops would simply let by or hang on to because the play is impossible.
Whereas, Ryne Sandberg is credited with great defense and a sparkling fielding percentage despite in his later years not trying on anything even remotely out of his range.
I'm using those guys as examples, but it rings true around the league. Defense is something you have to watch first hand and not numbers.
First, we are insane. Oh wait, its about the trade, I thought it was just the normal mental question asked about Red Sox fans. And, this is a good trade. Shea is 28 and arbitration eligible after this season.