Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sitting Pretty

The roller coaster ride continues, with Jason Stark reporting that the Coco deal is rapidly losing steam. However this all plays out, one has to believe that Shapiro is playing this situation nearly perfectly.

Knowing that the Red Sox are desperate for a CF/Leadoff Hitter, he asked for their top prospect (and possibly the top prospect in baseball) along with players that would upgrade the bullpen and backup catcher positions. To cover himself, he was acquiring a replacement for Coco, whether it be in the form of Kearns or Michaels. Whether either of those players would improve or hurt the 2006 team is up for debate, but, be aware - the outfield won't have Todd Hollandsworth AND Kasey Blake in it. If anything goes down, we have plenty of time to REVIEW the trade, rather than engage in pure speculation.

Regardless, the Indians are in the best spot of the four teams alleged to be in on these deals:
The Red Sox still need a CF and a SS and have about 7 starters on their roster, meaning they'll make a move at some point before the start of the season.
The Reds' new owner finally got rid of the GM who felt that it was better to have 5 OF than 1 decent Starting Pitcher.
Kearns is the odd man out and WILL be dealt to get pitching.
The Phillies have 4 outfielders and a hole in the bullpen.

The Indians could have the answer to all of these questions, but guess what? The Indians' roster looks pretty good right now and Shapiro would have to be blown away to make a move. Not a bad position to be in.

One interesting thing about this Coco outcry that struck me is the amount of people that were saying, "this team won 93 games last year, let's allow them to mature." Isn't that what we've patiently been saying all offseason?

And as for the people who were incredulous about trading a "core" player on the team:
We're talking about Coco here - not Grady, or Jhonny, or Victor, or Travis, or C.C., or Cliff, or one of the young guns. We're talking about a LF who will hit about .290-.300 every year with 15-20HR and 65-75 RBI. This is what we're so unwilling to give up.
We're talking about Coco here. What we talking about? Coco? C'mon man.
(Sorry, I slipped into Allen Iverson mode, there)

Seriously, though, what we can deduce from the rumors (true or untrue) is which players the Indians are willing to move (Coco, Riske, Bard, Rhodes, Westbrook) and where they would like to improve in the organization (LF, RF, bullpen, 3B depth, backup C). Can anyone argue with that?

Due to a trip south of the Mason-Dixon Line (Raleigh) to catch some ACC action (UNC-Arizona in the afternoon, Duke-UVa in the evening), I'll be out until Sunday. If anything happens, I'll try to get to a computer to have some comment. I'll be with some Cincitucky Reds fans, so it will be interesting to hear some different perspectives.

What we talkin' 'bout here? Coco?


Cy Slapnicka said...

Paul Hoyes is reporting that Arthur Rhodes flew to Philly today for a physical. Looks like the Philly/Sox deal is back on in some form.

t-bone said...

Mr. Gammons says:

Jeff Weaver might be willing to do a one-year deal and go back into the free-agent market at the end of next season, with the Orioles and Indians on the trail.

t-bone said... Baseball

Friday, January 27, 2006
It's official: Crisp bound for Boston in multi-player deal

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Coco Crisp quickly became a fan favorite with Indians fans, winning them over with his catchy name, bubbly personality and solid skills.

The Red Sox Nation will be tougher to impress.

Crisp is bound for Boston after being traded Friday by the Cleveland Indians to the Red Sox, finally giving them a replacement for Johnny Damon in center field and at the leadoff spot in the batting order.

Crisp's departure has been rumored for more than a week, but the deal was first held up by medical questions Cleveland had about reliever Guillermo Mota, and then was delayed by a trade between the Indians and Philadelphia Phillies.

When it all shook out, eight players -- and maybe a ninth -- were moved by three teams and the Red Sox gave the Indians at least $1 million. Commissioner Bud Selig had to approve the deal before it could be announced.

Along with Crisp, Cleveland sent reliever David Riske and backup catcher Josh Bard to Boston for Mota, third base prospect Andy Marte, catcher Kelly Shoppach, a player to be named and cash.

Before that deal was finalized, the Indians sent reliever Arthur Rhodes to Philadelphia for outfielder Jason Michaels, the probable replacement for Crisp as Cleveland's starting left fielder.

Rhodes had to pass a physical with Philadelphia before the Indians could pull the trigger and trade the 26-year-old Crisp, who batted .300 with 16 homers, 69 RBI and 15 steals last season.

"He's an energy player, and he can impact the game on both sides of the ball," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said.

Crisp, acquired by the Indians in 2002 from St. Louis, posted career highs in runs (86), hits (178) and homers in 2005. The Red Sox are counting on him doing even more to fill the void left when Damon signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees.

"He's just entering his prime right now and he definitely has upside beyond what he has done thus far," Shapiro said. "He can become a better, more effective basestealer. The question and the unknown is always going to be how much more power he's got."

While the Red Sox targeted Crisp as their No. 1 option to replace Damon this winter, the Indians were equally high on the 22-year-old Marte, considered one of the top minor leaguers in baseball.

Mota's elbow injury almost derailed the Crisp deal.

Marte spent most of last season at Triple-A Richmond before Atlanta dealt him to the Red Sox for shortstop Edgar Renteria last month. He batted .275 with 20 homers and 74 RBI in 109 games last season.

Marte is expected to spend this season in Cleveland's minor leagues, but he finally gives the Indians a potential everyday player at what has been a problematic position for the club in recent years.

"In Andy we are acquiring a right-handed power hitter who is also a good defensive third baseman," Shapiro said. "It is difficult to acquire a player of Andy's caliber and skill set via trade or free agency and third base is a position of need in our organization."

In his only season with Cleveland, the 36-year-old Rhodes went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 47 games. He was a key contributor in the AL's best bullpen for four months in 2005, but missed the last two for family reasons.

Michaels, a right-handed hitter, batted .304 with four homers and 31 RBI in 105 games for the Phillies. The 29-year-old recently was put on six months' probation and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service following a fight with a Philadelphia police officer last year.

Phillies GM Pat Gillick said Michaels' legal troubles were not a factor.

"No, absolutely not," he said. "We just felt this situation fit in the direction we wanted to go. We wanted to solidify the back end of the bullpen and we think Rhodes helps us do that."

Shapiro thinks Michaels can have an immediate impact on Cleveland's lineup.

"Jason is a hard-nosed, tough player that complements our lineup extremely well," Shapiro said. "He has always been a tough out while recording a high on-base percentage and has the ability to play all three outfield positions well."

As long as he's healthy, Mota, 32, should help the Indians fill the void left by Bob Howry's departure. Howry was the team's setup man in '05, but signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs.

Mota never pitched for the Red Sox, who acquired him in the trade with Florida for Josh Beckett. The right-hander went 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA and two saves in 56 games for the Marlins, but missed more than a month with a sore elbow. He will make $3 million next season.

Because of their concerns over Mota's health, the Indians pushed and got the Red Sox to sweeten the deal. If Mota goes on the disabled list, Cleveland will be able to add a pitcher from Boston's minor league system.

Shoppach, 25, gives the Indians more options at backup catcher behind All-Star Victor Martinez. Shoppach batted .253 for Triple-A Pawtucket last season.

As Cleveland fought for a playoff spot last season, Indians manager Eric Wedge lost confidence in Riske, a right-hander who went 3-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 58 games. The 29-year-old struggled while trying to close early in 2004, but has been one of the league's steadiest middle relievers the past few seasons.

Despite being better defensively, Bard spent all of '05 backing up Martinez. He batted .193 with nine RBI in 34 games, but has become expendable with the emergence of minor leaguer Ryan Garko and Cleveland's signing of Einar Diaz this offseason.

Rhodes gives Philadelphia a dependable setup man for Tom Gordon, who is taking over for Billy Wagner as the club's closer. And with Rhodes, the Phillies can now move Ryan Madson to the starting rotation.

Madson, 25, was 6-5 with a 4.14 ERA in 78 games last season. He began the year as the setup man for Wagner, but gave up that role when the Phillies acquired Ugueth Urbina in June.

t-bone said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rockdawg said...

Thank goodness we got rid of Riske

Baltimoran said...

Tabler, i'm jealous of your acc trip, Raliegh is great, i just wish that tech player could of kicked reddick in the face instead of that other tool last week.

looks like a good trade for the future (coco belongs in center anyway), i don't think i would pull the westbrook for kearns deal even if we get weaver, he seems like a flake.

i need to buy some lebron tights for my monday hoops games

Cy Slapnicka said...

simmons checked in with some good sox perspective on the trade. the countdown has started where i will patiently wait for him to go nuts on how much they overpaid for coco.

i just pray that i am calling him A-Marte rather than K-Marte next August.

t-bone said...

wow, just read simmons myself. good stuff.