Monday, October 09, 2006
The other significant part of the trade with the Marlins was Mike Lowell. It lead to the Sox to dumping Edgar Renteria plus Benjamins (doesn’t ca$h make everything better) for a capable OUT-fielder – Coco Crisp. I’m on record and still hate the Renteria signing, so sending him off to Hot-lanta for Coco was a nice turn of events. Over the long-haul, it would have been better if Andy Marte stayed, but having Crisp through his prime years for an annual average of $9.75M (including the $8 million sent to the Braves) and plugging a huge hole in center is a nice consolation prize.
Since most think, as do I, that Coco’s struggles at the plate were due to his thumb injury, the issue is can he stay in center. At the time of acquisition, Theo Epstein said,
''As far as Crisp playing center field, we're excited. We have excellent scouting reports and objective data on his ability to be a plus center fielder across the board."
Many outside of Yawkey Way questioned Crisp’s ability to play centerfield. No one denied his weak arm and reports regarding his weird routes on fly balls surfaced as well. After watching Coco this past season, it seems like his very good speed can’t compensate for his lack of instinct and weird route taking to be a quality centerfielder as it did in left. The Red Sox defensive evaluation of Coco Crisp has to be questioned.
If Crisp should be in left (Crisp doesn’t have the arm to play right), but not only is that position currently occupied by Manny, his 300/345/450 bat doesn’t look nearly as nice in a corner spot. As a centerfielder, Crisp would be above average. The average centerfielder’s line was 275/334/437 in 2006. But as a leftfielder, Crisp would be providing average offensive production and not the value (bang for the Sox buck) as expected. The Sox process in evaluating glove work should be examined, since Crisp is only an asset as a centerfielder.