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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Alex Gonzalez Update 

There were rumors recently that Alex Gonzalez was seeking a 3-year contract. With the Red Sox reportedly very close to signing him, this, no doubt, was an alarming thought.

Thankfully, Sean McAdam of the Providence Journal reported today that the Sox are only interested in Gonzalez "to a degree."

McAdam feels that with Dustin Pedroia close to contributing at the major-league level, the Sox are unwilling to guarantee Gonzalez more than one year. Due to interest from another major-league team, Gonzalez has the possibility of signing elsewhere. He seems likely to make his decision by next week.

If Gonzalez is intent on getting more than a one-year guarantee from the Sox, Boston is expected to hold its ground and go into spring training with the idea that Alex Cora would open the season at short, with Pedroia ready to compete for playing time before midseason.

Boy, am I glad that Theo is back steering this ship. A multi-year deal for Gonzalez would have been reprehensible. A one-year pact is something I could live with, however.

Wrapping up the Crisp deal, Alex Gonzalez, and Arbitration 

The official press release for the Sox/Indians trade states, "The Boston Red Sox have acquired outfielder Coco Crisp, righthander David Riske and catcher Josh Bard from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for righthander Guillermo Mota, third baseman Andy Marte, catcher Kelly Shoppach, cash considerations, and a player to be named or further cash considerations."

Tom Withers of the Associated Press is reporting that the Red Sox agreed to give the Indians at least $1 million in cash considerations. Due to this large sum, Commissioner Bud Selig had to approve the deal before it could be announced.

Sean McAdam of the Providence Journal is reporting that the deal is structured in such a way that if Mota remains healthy for the entire season, the Indians will be given a lesser prospect. If he is sidelined, however, the prospect they select from the Sox will be slightly upgraded.

The details are still cloudy regarding who the list of PTBNL includes, and the stipulations on what would force to the Sox to surrender a player, rather than cash, however.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald are both reporting that with the completion of the Crisp trade, the Red Sox are expected to sign free-agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez.

The Sox had delayed finalizing the signing of Gonzalez, knowing they might need to pursue a trade for Devil Rays shortstop Julio Lugo if they failed to acquire Crisp.

Also, a February 14th arbitration hearing has been set for Josh Beckett. The sides are believed to be speaking about only a one-year deal. Beckett, who made $2.425 million last season, is seeking $4.9 million, while the Red Sox want to pay him $3.75 million.

Friday, January 27, 2006

...And the other shoe drops 

MLB.com is reporting that Arthur Rhodes has passed his physical with the Phillies and that the trade should be announced shortly.

Meanwhile, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is now reporting that the Indians/Red Sox deal is done. Arthur Rhodes' physical was the only thing delaying the three-team deal, but the Phillies were expected to make the the Michaels/Rhodes trade official at 8 pm.

The acquisition of Michaels allowed the Indians to send Crisp, switch-hitting catcher Josh Bard and right-hander David Riske to Boston for third base prospect Andy Marte, catcher Kelly Shoppach, right-hander Guillermo Mota, cash and a player to be named.

The player to be named would come from a list of prospects made available to the Indians.

So, finally, the Sox have filled their biggest hole. And it wasn't a one-year or two-year filler. Instead, they acquired an up-and-coming 26-year-old, with the chops to become a stud. It hurts to see Andy Marte go, but while Marte is predicted to be great, Crisp is already knocking on the door to greatness.

Riske is likely an upgrade to Mota, especially considering Mota wasn't 100% healthy. Last season, Riske saw a drop in both his BB totals and K totals. He was able to keep his ERA down because 42% of balls-in-play were groundballs -- up 5% from his previous career high.

If Riske can see a rebound in his K totals, while keeping the ball on the ground, he could be potentially dangerous in 2006.

Hopefully we get an official announcement from the team tonight regarding the trade, so that we can officially welcome Crisp to Boston. There's no doubt in my mind that Crisp is going to be an instant fan favorite. It's clear his fans and teammates in Cleveland were reluctant to see him go. Hopefully this is the beginning of a very long and successful tenure in Boston for Coco.

The first shoe has dropped... 

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer are both reporting that Jason Michaels will finally be swapped for Arthur Rhodes, pending physicals. Rhodes is in Philadelphia today, and if he passes the physical, the deal could be announced later today.

Now, Coco Crisp has to be traded because the Indians would have absolutely no use for Michaels if Crisp remains on the roster. Hoynes also reports that the Indians are still negotiating with Boston on the main part of the trade. Reportedly, the key players in the deal, Crisp, Marte, and Mota, remain the same, while some combination of Riske, Bard, Shoppach, and Delcarmen will be included as well.

It's also worth noting that Rotoworld.com is reporting that they have heard rumors that the proposed swap contains contigencies on Guillermo Mota's health. If Mota spends a certain amount of time on the DL in 2006, the Red Sox may be required to send another prospect to Cleveland. This wouldn't be a bad idea, assuming the prospect isn't from the top 10.

Again, I think it's safe to say that Crisp will be on his way to Boston within the next couple of days.

In other news, the Red Sox have signed lefthanded reliever Craig Breslow. The 25-year-old New Haven, Connecticut native held lefthanded batters to an .063 average (1 hit in 16 at-bats) as a rookie last season. Not a bad signing. He probably won't break camp with the team, but it will be nice to have a decent lefty as insurance in Pawtucket. I wouldn't be surprised if we see him in Boston at some point.

Crisp trade on life support? 

I'm not really sure what to believe right now. Is the Crisp deal gasping its final breaths, or are the Sox finally successful in their attempts to lock the media from internal matters? Since Mota's sketchy physical, the details have been scarce, but we can try to fit the bits and pieces together to figure out what's going on.

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting today that there is still no verdict on the Crisp trade, although players and agents were told that a decision would be reached Thursday. As of late Thursday night, negotiations were ongoing. Late Thursday, Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro, who has been mute on the matter since Monday, confirmed that negotiations were continuing.

This leads me to believe that some progress was made. Had it been apparent that a deal could not be consumated, both parties probably would have called it quits by Thursday evening.

Hoynes also reports that when the Indians raised a question about Mota's right shoulder during his physical Tuesday, they returned to the Red Sox and asked for more. They said they'd take Mota if right-hander Manny Delcarmen was included in the deal. Boston balked and offered two lower-level prospects instead, to which the Indians did not agree and the deal seemed doomed.

Is it possible that a 3-way deal with the Reds can still be achieved? Unfortunately, a source close to the negotiations said it was doubtful the Reds were in the mix with the Indians and Red Sox.

Meanwhile, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald is reporting that according to a baseball source, Mota did not fail the physical and the Indians discovered nothing in their examination of Mota’s right shoulder that the Red Sox had not already told them and that the Red Sox themselves did not already know.

I find this rather interesting, and it leads me to believe that the Indians may simply be bluffing, hoping for Boston to sweeten the pot, seemingly with Manny Delcarmen. I've got enough faith in Theo to believe that he won't be the first to blink.

As of 5:30am Friday morning (why am I awake!), the Globe hasn't published any Sox columns. Maybe the leaks have finally been plugged!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Red Sox sign Dustan Mohr 

According to the Denver Post, the Red Sox and Dustan Mohr have agreed to terms on a minor league deal. This is a decent signing, and Mohr could fit nicely as the 4th outfielder -- the only problem is that Adam Stern is currently the 3rd outfielder. Mohr probably lands above Willie Harris on the OF depth chart.

Last season, Mohr batted .274/.349/.558 against LHP; however, he played in Coors field, so the numbers are undoubtedly inflated.

He's known as a hustler with above average defensive skills. He can play all three outfield positions. From 2000-03, his UZR was +13. Baseball Prospectus rates him a little above average defensively.

What's most promising about him is that from 2003-05 he had an extra base hit every 8.02 at-bats against LHP. With numbers like that, he could very well become Nixon's platoon-mate, if he does indeed break camp with the Sox.

Source: Odds of Crisp going to Boston decreasing 

According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the chances of Coco Crisp landing in Boston could be shrinking by the hour.

While the Red Sox and Indians continued to talk to each other, as well as to the Reds, on Thursday, there were indications that the Indians were beginning to have second thoughts about dealing Crisp.

Stark reports that an official of one team that spoke with the Indians reported Thursday that he got the impression the odds of Cleveland trading Crisp had sunk below 50-50.

Nevertheless, the Indians and Red Sox were still attempting to rework the six-player trade that collapsed Tuesday over concerns about the health of reliever Guillermo Mota. Again, Stark reports that Mota didn't technically "fail" his physical, but his examination raised enough questions that the Indians have told Boston they will keep Mota only if the Red Sox upgrade the rest of the package.

In order to rectify the trade, the Indians want Manny Delcarmen, but the Red Sox are very reluctant to trade him. Because of this, Boston has turned its attention to Cincinnati to see if it can put together a deal for left fielder Austin Kearns. If acquired, the Red Sox then would turn around and deal Kearns to Cleveland for Crisp, with several other players (yet to be determined) also switching area codes.

From here on out, plan on very few details of the Crisp trade, or any trade for that matter. The reconstructed front office has vowed to plug all leaks to the media. The rest of the off-season won't be as much fun for us, but it's in the best interests of the team.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

3-way deal with Reds being discussed 

According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the Reds, headed by interim GM Bob Castellini, have jumped back into the mix and all teams are trying to revive a 3-way deal that would send Kearns to Cleveland, Crisp to Boston and Matt Clement to Cincinnati.

Stark reveals that the Indians have always preferred Kearns to Jason Michaels, and that the Phillies always preferred Rafael Betancourt to Arthur Rhodes, but Cleveland was unwilling to give him up.

This deal makes the most sense. The Reds receive the starter they desperately need, Cleveland fills the void in the outfield left by Crisp, and Boston obviously receives their new CF and leadoff hitter. I still feel that the Indians will need to receive more to do the deal, but it shouldn't be anything too significant.

Castellini seems very motivated to make a deal. In Wednesday's Dayton Daily News, he was quoted as saying, "We'll try to re-open some talks and maybe a different voice and a different approach will make a difference. We want to win in 2006 but we can be in the mix by 2007. We'll do what we can right now for '06 and we do have a good nucleus."

Peter Gammons, on WEEI, says that the Cincinnati trade is 3 weeks old, and isn't going to happen. As of right now, the Indians feel the Crisp trade won't happen, but he thinks it will, because the Sox are very motivated to make it happen. Sees the Sox adding a player to the deal to make it all work. He also says that Mota did not fail his physical, but it was bad enough that it scared Cleveland out of the deal.

Mota fails physical, Crisp deal in jeopardy 

All sources are confirming the story that Guillermo Mota failed his physical. However, Mota's agent, Adam Katz, denied the WIP radio report Tuesday night that said Mota had failed his physical with the Indians. Still, Katz acknowledged that the Indians raised issues with Mota's right shoulder, which could kill, or require revision to, the six-player deal that would bring Coco Crisp to Boston.

According to a baseball operative in Philadelphia, the Indians called with the news that Mota had flunked his physical and said, "The deal is dead." This was in reference to both the Michaels trade and the Crisp trade.

Could Mota's failed physical be a blessing in disguise? It's possible. This entire time I've felt the best option was trading for Jason Michaels. He's older, and doesn't have the pop that Crisp has, but he can take a walk and has rated better defensively according to Baseball Prospectus' defensive metric. It also wouldn't require Andy Marte to acquire him.

Still, according to the the AP, a Phillies official, speaking on condition of anonymity because no deal was ever announced, said the Phillies and Indians still could end up making a trade. This doesn't quite make sense to me. The Indians already have 5 outfielders on the their roster, and the addition of Michaels makes no sense unless Crisp is traded.

Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald is now reporting that Sox general manager Theo Epstein and the Indians’ front office last night were trying to restructure the deal and get the right ingredients to satisfy Cleveland. It is also believed that the Reds are interested in reviving the three-team talks that would produce a nine-player swap, in which Matt Clement would go to Cincinnati.

According to Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, the Reds, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians were in a three-way discussion, working on a proposal that would have brought pitcher Matt Clement to the Reds from the Red Sox. The Reds would have sent outfielder Austin Kearns to Cleveland and the Tribe would have sent outfielder Coco Crisp, catcher Josh Bard and pitcher David Riske to the Red Sox.

At the last moment, Boston front office people say, the Reds backed out, which may have led to the firing of Reds general manager Dan O'Brien.

What's interesting is that there is absolutely no mention of Andy Marte in that 3-way trade. Still, there is no way the Indians trade Crisp, Bard, and Riske to Austin Kearns. There has to be more players involved. Would two mid-level prospects (one each from Boston and Cincinnati) satisfy Cleveland?

Faith in the front office would undoubtedly be restored if they could acquire Crisp without sacrificing Marte. Who knows if this is realistic though.

Nothing is ever easy in Red Sox Nation, huh?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Theo officially returns 

Below is the official statement released by the Boston Red Sox regarding Theo Epstein and the new front office structure:

"The Boston Red Sox today announced that Theo Epstein has returned to the club with the title and responsibilities of Executive Vice President/General Manager. President/CEO Larry Lucchino made the announcement. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington, who shared the role of General Manager during much of the time Epstein was away from the club, will stay on in key leadership positions within the Baseball Operations Department. Hoyer has been named Assistant General Manager, and Cherington has been named Vice President/Player Personnel.

Bill Lajoie and Craig Shipley, who also played an integral role in directing the Baseball Operations Department during much of the offseason, will remain with the Red Sox, Lajoie as Special Advisor/Baseball Operations and Shipley as Vice President/International Scouting and Special Assistant to the General Manager."

CLICK TO READ THE REST OF THE STATEMENT

Report: Guillermo Mota fails physical 

WIP radio in Philadelphia is reporting that the Coco Crisp trade is being held up because Red Sox reliever Guillermo Mota failed his physical.

Awful, awful news. It's now possible that David Riske is now pulled off the table, and possibly replaced with Manny Delcarmen. Hopefully this entire thing just isn't a ploy to receive a pitcher superior to Mota.

Still, the Indians would be foolish to call off the deal, as they're receiving a blue-chip prospect in Andy Marte. If the Indians won't accept a Marte and Shoppach for Crisp and Bard trade, then it's officially time to walk away from the table, and push the Phillies for Jason Michaels.

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Update: The Philadelphia Inquirer is now confirming the report that Mota failed his physical today in Cleveland. This means the Sox will have to try to satisfy the Indians some other way.

It's believed the Sox will try to make that happen because Mota wasn't the key figure in that trade: Crisp and Marte are the key pieces.

So if the Sox can provide the Indians with another piece, most likely bullpen help, the Michaels-Rhodes deal could still happen.

Report: Theo to return as GM 

"Theo was clear in his press conference when he opted not to close the door to the future. But life is constant change and for the most part it is exceedingly unpredictable. He is not going to return as our surprise GM in this process."
-John Henry, 11.22.05

Well, the Boston Herald is currently reporting that Theo is indeed the "surprise GM." According to a baseball source who requested anonymity, the Red Sox are poised to announce Theo Epstein’s return as the general manager of the Red Sox, with roughly the same powers, authority and autonomy he had when he left on Oct. 31.

As for Cherington and Hoyer? They, along with Craig Shipley, are all expected to get new titles. Cherington might become a vice president, possibly of player personnel, while Hoyer could become an assistant GM, as well as Shipley.

While I'm happy Theo is back, I'm pretty damn shocked that he's coming back to fill the exact same position he left. Now I completely understand why the Red Sox refused to hold a press conference regarding this decision. It would have been a media madhouse and surely would not have been the right way to start the new Theo Epstein administration.

"Theo’s back. That’s all I care about. That’s all any of the players care about."
-Curt Schilling, 1.24.06

According to the report, Theo's authority hasn't changed, but he has now become convinced that the work environment has improved to the point where there is more listening, more cooperation and more of an ability to compromise when there are differences. Fair enough. I'd have to assume the issues were bigger than the report lets on, but as long as Theo feels the front office can be productive again, then that means good things for the Boston Red Sox.

I'll update further when the Red Sox officially release a statement regarding Theo.

Coco Crisp deal "imminent" 

Good news -- Jeff Horrigan of the Boston Herald is now reporting the same Coco Crisp deal as the Boston Globe. It breaks down as:

Boston sends: Andy Marte, Guillermo Mota, Kelly Shoppach
Boston receives: Coco Crisp, David Riske, Josh Bard

As I said earlier, this is a good deal, and will help the Sox in the immediate future. Had they held onto Marte, we'd be looking at the earliest substantial contributions coming in 2007, and that would be the best case scenerio.

Horrigan is reporting that the deal is "imminent," and the announcement could come after Mota undergoes his physical in Cleveland today.

If Foulke can return to form, that bullpen is flat out filthy. With the addition of Seanez, Tavarez, and Riske, Timlin won't be forced to pitch every other game. Due to this, he shouldn't see a large drop off in effectiveness from last season. It's also worth noting that Riske is very capable of pitching more than 1 inning per appearance. In 2005, he appeared in 58 games, but pitched a total of 73.2 innings, averaging nearly 1.1 innings per appearance.

The Globe article for Tuesday has not been released yet, but as soon as it is, I'll be sure to update their report.

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I would have assumed that Cleveland fans would be ecstatic over this deal, but apparently that isn't the case. On Monday, Indians.com reporter Anthony Castrovince filed his most recent mailbag, in which he answered fans' questions regarding the trade, and to my surprise, they weren't pleased at all.

All I have to say is economically, the Coco Crisp trade makes no sense to me. Crisp has a breakout season in '05, hitting .300 with 42 doubles, and we have the opportunity to lock him up longterm for next to nothing. This would seem the way to go, instead of looking elsewhere. I do think that Guillermo Mota is a nice addition and Andy Marte would be potentially good in '07, once Aaron Boone's contract is up. But sacrificing one of the main "core" players (and a fan favorite) for a Jeff DaVanon, an unestablished relief pitcher, and a "potential" superstar prospect, doesn't seem to be in proper timing.
-- Joe W., Athens, Ohio

I received my first e-mail about the reports of this trade at 4:28 a.m. Sunday and had roughly 50 more e-mails about it within a matter of hours. Not one of them was from a fan in support of this deal.

As of this writing (Sunday evening), nothing is official. The Indians haven't given any confirmation that the reports from the Boston newspapers are legit.

Personally, I'm a little skeptical about what the Indians would be getting back for Crisp. Trading a player as popular as he is will get the requisite groaning, of course, but this is a move that would seem to benefit the Indians' future much more than the present. Marte is a top third-base prospect who could probably take over the reins from Boone in 2007, but what does that do for the Tribe in '06? Not much.

I'll reserve further judgment until a deal is official (if that happens), but if my inbox is any indication, fans are rather peeved at the prospect of this move.


It's also worth noting that a Cleveland Indian fan called into WEEI's Dennis & Callahan two mornings ago and said, "After about 5 seconds of Coco Crisp, you guys will have completely forgotten about Johnny Damon. He gets on base, he runs everything out, and makes spectacular plays in the field."

In Boston, the fans notice that stuff. If you play like you livelihood is at stake, we'll be on your side. I've got a good feeling Coco won't have any problem with that. Now, don't we have a couple press conferences to get to?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Updating the Coco Crisp Saga 

Lots of things have been published regarding the Crisp trade, but it's impossible to figure out who has the correct scoop. I'll do my best to breakdown the three trade scenerios that have been reported.

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Today, Chris Snow reported that the Sox reached an agreement in principle with the Indians on a complex six-player deal centered upon 26-year-old Coco Crisp that also will bring to town a quality setup man in 28-year-old David Riske and young catcher Josh Bard. In return, the Indians would receive Andy Marte, Guillermo Mota, and Kelly Shoppach.

Now this is a deal I could live with. Earlier this off-season there were reports that David Riske was a candidate to be non-tendered by the Indians. If such a move was made, I wanted the Red Sox to go hard after him. He's 29 years old, and although his strikeout numbers dropped in 2005, his walk totals did as well, and he was able to maintain a very good ERA.

Also, as I've taken a closer look at Crisp, it's worth noting that his offensive numbers were most definitely suppressed by Jacobs Field. He posted a 119 OPS+ last season (Damon's career high is 117 in 2000 and 2004). He should definitely be able to post a batting average around .300 and an OBP approaching .350. His walk totals have gone up every season as well, and as a 26-year-old, the possibility for improvement in his strikezone awareness is definitely there.

Josh Bard was once an interesting prospect, but he is now a 28-year-old that has shown zilch at the major league level. While I would have liked to have seen Shoppach given a fair shot to win the backup catching duties for 2006, seeing him traded is no huge loss. He is going to be 26 years old and is blocked by Varitek for the next three seasons. With the Sox essentially using their backup catcher as Tim Wakefield's personal battery-mate, being able to handle the knuckleball was their primary concern. Due to this, it made the most sense for the Sox to get value for Shoppach while they could.

I'm still not so keen on trading Andy Marte, but I am warming to it. There have been some reports about a balky right elbow, and his major league debut coupled with his less-than-stellar performance in the Dominican Winter League, have forced some scouts and analysts to sour on him. Still, I feel he will have a very solid career. Remember, he is only 22 years old.

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Jeff Horrigan of the Boston Herald is reporting today that the Red Sox and Cleveland Indians reached an agreement that would send 26-year-old outfielder Crisp, and possibly a minor leaguer, to the Sox in exchange for top third base prospect Andy Marte and relief pitcher Guillermo Mota.

Furthermore, Horrigan reports that the Indians, in an expanded deal, are said to be asking about Red Sox pitching prospect Manny Delcarmen.

This is a deal I would not be pleased with. The addition of Riske makes the deal reasonable and without his inclusion, the trade is extremely questionable. If we are to believe the minor league is "low-level," as previous reports indicated, the trade doesn't seem any more attractive. And while I'm not as high on Delcarmen as some, his inclusion would border on ridiculous. However, if it's an upper-lever prospect (i.e. Garko, Cabrera), then the deal comes back into the realm of practicality.

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In our final permutation of the deal, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the Indians and Red Sox are considering a six-player trade that would send Crisp and two low-level minor league to Boston for Marte, Mota, and another minor league pitcher.

As I stated in an earlier update, this deal is impossible to analyze. Without knowing the identities of the minor leaguers, it would be fruitless to come to a conclusion on whether or not this deal is reasonable.

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It appears we won't know the truth until a deal is completed. Some reports have stated that player physicals, specifically Mota's, are the only thing holding up this trade, so something could shake loose in the next day or two.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Update: Sox reach deal for Crisp 

This report is via the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Source: Indians to trade Crisp

7:17 p.m.

Depending on how right-hander Guillermo Mota's physical goes, Coco Crisp could be Boston's new center fielder sometime this week.The Indians and Boston, according to a major league source, are considering a six-player trade that would send Crisp and two low-level minor leaguers to Boston for third base prospect Andy Marte, Mota and another a minor league pitcher. The Indians would then trade Mota to
Philadelphia for outfielder Jason Michaels.There's also a chance that the Indians could keep Mota, if he passes his physical, and send David Riske or Arthur Rhodes to the Phillies. If Mota doesn't pass the Indians and Phillies physical, the three-team deal could be scrubbed.

- Paul Hoynes

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So, now we find out that Mota may very well be flipped to Philadelphia for Jason Michaels! The Sox most definitely feel that Crisp is superior to Michaels, but is the difference between them really worth Andy Marte? The only sane answer here is that the front office is scared of Michaels due to his incident with a police officer last July.

I've emailed Hoynes to see if he has any idea who the minor leaguers are. Until then, we're just left to speculate. He claims the two minor leaguers coming from Cleveland are "low-level," which means we won't be seeing their big bopper, Ryan Garko, involved.

I'll comment further on this deal when the names of the prospects are released.

Report: Sox reach deal for Crisp 

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald is reporting that the Red Sox and Indians have agreed in principle on a deal that will bring outfielder Crisp to the Sox in a multi-player trade. The deal was agreed upon several days ago under the condition that Cleveland be able to acquire another outfielder to replace Crisp, presumably Jason Michaels from the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Red Sox will send a package including reliever Guillermo Mota and prospect Andy Marte to the Indians.

According to the report, the Phillies and Indians were hoping to complete the deal for Michaels as soon as last night. Cleveland was believed to be sending one of two relievers - left-hander Arthur Rhodes or right-hander Rafael Betancourt - to the Phillies in exchange for Michaels.
Ok, where the hell do I start?

I think Crisp is a great player, don't get me wrong, but is he worth one of the best prospects in baseball, a decent reliever, and possibly others? I guess I could swallow that trade, if I tried hard enough. What really burns is the fact that the Indians may acquire Jason Michaels for Arthur f'n Rhodes. The guy is 36 years old. We couldn't have topped that?

All things considered, Crisp vs Michaels is a toss-up. Their defense is center field is debatable, and while Michaels will be on base more often, Crisp will hit for a higher SLG%.

The difference lies in what it costs to acquire them. If this report is accurate, it's not even close. The baseball operations department choked. I understand they were under pressure, and Coco may be more of a household name than Michaels, but with Andy Marte, the Sox had something special.

I realize the front office will try to spin this entire thing into an 'Edgar Renteria for Coco Crisp' trade, but that completely undersells how great the preceding Renteria/Marte trade was.

I'm holding out hope that we're receiving someone along with Crisp. Yesterday, Chris Snow reported that the Sox and Indians were working a 6-player trade, although players were said to be moving in and out of the trade, depending on the current permutation. What do we need though? Another reliever? Betancourt or their relief prospect, Fernando Cabrera, would be nice. There's no way this trade is even close to worthwhile if we don't receive a solid player in addition to Crisp.

What haunts me most is what Peter Gammons proclaimed that, years from now, Red Sox fans would look back on this off-season and and remember it as the winter that we acquired Andy Marte. Typing that almost makes me feel ill.

Oh yeah, did I mention that Tony Mazz is also reporting that the Sox are on the verge of signing shortstop Alex Gonzalez? Just when I thought things couldn't really get any worse. We already have two shortstops on the roster that are better than A-Gon (does he even deserve a nickname?). Gonzalez has a career .291 OBP. Defensively, he'll have to be Ozzie Smith x100 to make up for his utter ineptness with the bat. If the Sox give him a multi-year deal, I will have completely lost faith in this organization.

If this trade goes down, the Cleveland Indians are officially one of the scariest teams in the league. Check out a projected starting lineup:

CF: Sizemore
LF: Michaels
DH: Hafner
C: Martinez
SS: Peralta
2B: Belliard
1B: Broussard
3B: Marte
RF: Blake

Only one of their starters, Casey Blake (32) is older than 30. That's a flat out viscious starting 9. I'm just glad they don't play in the American League East.

Hopefully, in the coming days, we'll get some more info on this trade, and we'll be better able to analyze it. I think the addition of Crisp will be a positive one. Crisp should also see his numbers improve, as Jacobs Field ranked dead last in runs, and 3rd from last in home runs in 2005.

I believe AZBlue of SoSH summed this entire thing up best -- "I hope that we will not be using the shift key and the top row of keys on our keyboards referring to the subsequent trade of Marte to the Indians."

Amen to that.

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