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Sunday, January 22, 2006


Red Sox Hub Trade Rumor Central

The HUB-BUB: Coco Crisp
Sox panic and give up longterm benefit/huge upside for a solid contributor
Sox drag their feet, and now have to give up their best new pair of superstar shoes:
This has been the recurring theme for this organization; There is a big difference between patience and miscalculation. Arroyo will never be anything more than a solid #3 starter at best. Crisp is a decent player, but will never be mistaken for anything more than Joe average. Reed and Marte both have All-Star upside.

Here are the two common rationalizations by fans for this deal and why they don't hold water:

He is rated highly by scouts, G.M.s, and credible baseball publications as one of the top 5 prospects in baseball, and was clearly the top prospect in both the Braves and Red Sox organizations-both loaded systems. The Sox gave up Renteria and $11 million to get him, so their cross checking systems must have rated him highly; It is highly unlikely that he has gone from top prospect to suspect from a few winter ball at bats. If so, then the Sox badly overrated him before making the Braves deal and you have to question their entire scouting and development team. He is healthy and playing winter ball-Cleveland isn't trading for damaged goods-especially with all the injury rumors out there. Cleveland obviously considered Marte the best offer, and Cleveland knows how to pick young talent; Marte still has HUGE upside. No player is a sure thing, but Marte is a calculated risk worth taking over filling a hole with an average CF.

Winning organizations never let it come to this. You simply do all that you can to avoid putting yourself in a desperate, vulnerable position that allows trading partners to hold you hostage. It can happen with bad luck and injuries, but in this case it was due to a lack of planning and foresight going back to 2004 in regards to the future in centerfield. The longer you wait, the more leverage the player and the market gets. The always spin/p.r. conscious Sox panicked and payed a King's ransom in return for a commoner. Is Crisp going to change your lineup? (He struggled at the top of the CLE lineup and hit ninth most of 2005; He often swings at the first pitch). What does he do really well?? If you have no choice but to try and cover up your mistakes, you do so with cash rather than mortgage your future. See: SF Giants/Steve Finley.

The Sox go from having a CF and 3B with major league minimum salaries and All-Star upside to an average major league CF making $3 million and a #3-4 starter making $3-4 million-both without All-Star upside. In the short term, as in 2006, the Sox are probably better than they would have been keeping Marte and grabbing Reed(although Reed is primed for a breakout in 2006). In the long run, the Sox blew a great chance to create budget and player stability for years to come-anchored by potential young stars at 3B and CF. You never don't trade huge upside for zero upside; It is simply not the way to build a dynasty.

Marte and talent for Sizemore-Yes! (Doesn't make sense for CLE unless you threw in a Lester +)

Marte for Reed-maybe: Both are young players with huge upside.

Your risk/benefit ratio tells you that you should keep Marte unless offered a player that fills both a hole (SS/CF) and has at least a big upside. That simply didn't happen here. This trade is a mistake, and could be a colossal blunder if Marte meets expectations.

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