I can't really say I have many standout memories of Mike Cameron on the field (nor, it appears, can the Red Sox, or they wouldn't have DFA'd him today). In fact, my warmest memory of him is from the Red Sox commercial outtakes video from this year's Spring Training, as he gamely--but repeatedly--botched his lines, smiling through it all. In general, I remember him as a smiling yet stoic presence as he battled both injury and age in a Red Sox uniform.
I did have a moment of wondering -- particularly as I watched Darnell GIDP in his first at bat against the Phillies during tonight's Sox in 2 game replay on NESN -- why the Red Sox hung on to Darnell McDonald while releasing Cameron, especially given their standard batting numbers (McDonald:.122/.173/.204, .377 OPS; Cameron: .149/.212/.266, .477 OPS).
Now, I don't normally venture into the deeper stats, and hopefully I won't hurt myself, here, but it seems worth noting that when it comes to both runs above replacement and wins above replacement, Mike Cameron appears to have been more of a detriment to the team than McDonald so far (probably due to almost exactly twice the number of plate appearances). His runs above replacement is -10 (translation: not good), and his wins above replacement is -1.0 (also not good). Darnell, on the other hand, is at -3 RAR and -0.3 WAR. Given more opportunities, he might do just as much damage as Cameron, but that has yet to be seen. Cameron, in the meantime, has been given enough rope to hang himself.
Ultimately, I think the difference comes down to age. Cameron, a veteran of a broken face, hernia and hip flexor surgeries as well as 17 seasons in the majors, is 38 years old, and by all appearances, not due for a resurgence. Darnell has been a project, but is six years younger. Darnell is also cheaper at $470,000 to Cameron's $7.75 million, but that point is moot given the Sox are still on the hook for Cameron's salary.
In the end, though, I still think the move makes sense. Cameron isn't getting any younger, and the move might clear the way for Josh Reddick, who has impressed so far with the stick, to see more playing time.
Still, it seems like Mike Cameron is a good guy who has fought hard for every moment of his Major League career. This may be the end of the road for him, and wherever he goes from here, I wish him nothing but the best.