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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Royals go Cuckoo for Coco Crisp

Earlier this week the Red Sox traded Coco Crisp to the Royals for RP Ramon Ramirez.  Kansas City, who had one of the best bullpens in all of baseball, has now traded two relievers this offseason.  Crisp was rumored to have been on the block all through last season but apparently was never traded because the Red Sox felt that they  needed safeguard in case Jacoby Ellsbury faltered and weren't being offered equal value for 2+ years of Crisp.  Now that he was finally moved let's see what each team is getting in the deal.

Boston
Ramirez is a right-handed relief pitcher who posted a 2.64 ERA in 71.1 IP last season.  Ramirez struck out 70 batters and walked 31.  Now these numbers look like Ramirez should be a closer candidate, but let's take a closer look to see if this still holds true.
Ramirez vs RHP .153/.244/.212 and vs LHP .300/.370/.375
This is an extreme split which shows us that last year's performance is not really sustainable unless used as  a ROOGY (righty one out guy).  His failure to neutralize lefties relegates him to a career as a middle reliever.

Kansas City
It turns out Coco Crisp is not the star many thought he would be while playing in Cleveland. What Crisp has developed into is someone who is likely to put up an OBP in the .340s with very good defense.  Two years ago he led the league in +/- whereas last year he was +3 (although he did battle leg injuries all season).  His true ability probably lies somewhere in between.   Either way he automatically becomes the best defensive player on the Royals and improves team OBP.  

Recap: Boston will maximize their team value if the acquisition of Ramirez does not push Justin Masterson to the rotation.  Leaving Masterson in the pen--who absolutely has the ability to pitch multiple innings-- will further enable the BoSox to use Ramirez correctly due to his extreme platoon split.  This trade also proves that Ellsbury is the man in center.  For a team like Boston these are good gambles to take.  A fourth outfielder is easy enough to find and solidifying their bullpen is something that could make the difference in an always tough AL East.

For Kansas City the need for everyday players was urgent.  Mark Teahen and Jose Guillen were not getting it done in the outfield corners.  Now one of them is on the trade block (I'm guessing for a relief pitcher) with DeJesus moving from center to take their spot.   Fans need to realize that Crisp is not a savior and will not make this team a contender by himself.  What he does do is improve the team in some of the smaller areas that needed definite improvement: defense, baserunning, and getting on base.
In each of his years as GM,  Dayton Moore has been able to build solid bullpens.  By making this trade he is admitting that he needs help in finding the every day guys.  
Realizing that dominant bullpens are luxuries contenders should enjoy, this is a trade the Royals needed to make.  
   
Verdict: Assuming Crisp's option for 2010 is picked up, I think the Royals win this trade.   

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