Monday, January 30, 2006

The Coco Trade

Some have you (okay, one person) have asked me why I haven't written about the BoSox-Indians trade, and I have a few reasons:

1. I've been busy as all hell. Class, two jobs (one that schedules me whenever the fuck they feel like it), doctor visits and car troubles are part of the reason.

2. I kinda forgot about it. The deal was 'rumored' for so long, when it finally happened, it didn't really get my attention.

But now I'm addressing it.

I didn't like the trade to begin with, and I'm still not completely sold on it. I knew the Tribe was getting an outfielder who to play this season, but I still felt like they were creating a hole, when there were other areas to address (1B and a power hitting OF).

Plus, I wasn't sure if Crisp needed to be traded, some people think he could develop a power stroke, and if thats the case, the Indians blew their wad a year too soon. At the same time, the argument could be made that Crisp was at his peak, it was a weak OF market and the Indians would never see a better deal.

Also, I was kinda worried about Marte, if he really was the real deal. I mean, the kid has been traded twice in the past few months. First he was traded for Edgar Renteria and now hes gone again. I dunno what to think about that.

But my biggest protest about the deal was the perception that it creates. Event though this deal wasn't about money, it looks that way. The Indians trading for prospects again. Dolan afraid to pay for a player. Blah blah blah.

What the Indians need is for Michaels (the OF from the Phillies) to have a good year and not miss a beat. The team played great last year and still didn't draw. If it looks like that the Dolans won't spend money to keep this team together, why would some (fickle) fans think that they would ever put up for a winner (even though the highest Tribe payroll was under Dolan).

So what now? It finally happened, what do I think. Well, I am encourged by the Sports Guy's take on it:

One problem: They overpaid for him. Crisp was worth more to the Red Sox than he was for the Indians, the Indians knew it ... and they squeezed the Sox in the process. Cleveland's GM Mark Shapiro, (not the same Mark Shapiro who once greenlighted "ESPN Hollywood") even said as much, explaining that they knew Crisp has the most value as a centerfielder, but since they already had Grady Sizemore there, Crisp was stuck in left field (diminishing his intrinsic value as a player). But since the Sox desperately needed a centerfielder, and since the organization didn't want to look bad after the whole Theo-leaves-Theo-waffles-Theo-returns soap opera, they wanted to get this trade done so everyone back home would stop complaining, "It's almost February, we don't have a centerfielder or shortstop yet!" So they overpaid for a guy Cleveland didn't really need. Shapiro even said as much, telling reporters this weekend, "It was too much to turn down."

Here's the problem: To obtain Crisp, the Sox gave up a package including young third baseman Andy Marte, who's considered one of the best prospects in the league and someone with Scott Rolen's ceiling. Trading Marte straight-up for Crisp would have been slightly overpaying the Indians -- Crisp has a B-plus/A-minus celing, while Marte has an A/A-plus ceiling. But because the Indians were holding them hostage, the Sox had to sweeten the deal even beyond Marte (it turned out to be a 7-player trade). Everyone in Boston seems to be okay with this. In fact, I was okay with it ... until I read Shapiro's "it was too much to turn down" quote.

So if the Red Sox think the overpaid for Crisp, I'm all good. I also enjoyed this:

I just wonder if, at some point down the line, it's going to sink in that the Great Andy Marte belonged to the Red Sox for seven weeks ... and then they traded him away in a package for Coco Crisp that was so loaded, it resulted in the other GM saying, "It was too much to turn down."

Because that would suck.

Peter King also weighed in as well (in his Non-Football Thoughts of the Week, in another excellent MMQB):

b. Re: the Coco Crisp trade. A year ago, Crisp was Cleveland's fourth outfielder. He had a pretty good year. And now the Red Sox trade third baseman Andy Marte -- one of the top, say, 20 minor league prospects in baseball -- plus a reliever, Guillermo Mota, and $1 million, for Crisp. I think there's a reason Cleveland's Mark Shapiro is a great general manager.

But what really sold me on the deal was this analysis of trade by Let's Go Tribe.

So, if Michaels can pan out in the short term... I'm all about it. And here's hopin that Marte is as good as everyone thinks he is.

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