Peter Gammons On Coco Trade
Posted by Mike on November 19, 2008
Per Peter Gammons:
A.J. Burnett interests the Red Sox. He has great stuff. Stuff that plays in October on a franchise for whom October is part of the expectation.
But while the Red Sox have talked to Burnett’s agent Derek Braunecker, the price of a bidding war with the Yankees — and Burnett may well get a four-year, $60 million deal — may be too steep for a team that already has Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka in their primes.
So on Wednesday the Red Sox went in another direction, granting Coco Crisp his wish and trading him to Kansas City for Ramon Ramirez, a 27-year old power reliever who Boston feels can be a setup man and gives them the freedom to move Justin Masterson into the rotation if Terry Francona so chooses.
Ramirez had a 2.64 ERA for the Royals with a 70/31 strikeout/walk ratio in 71 2/3 innings in 2008. He also allowed only two home runs in those 71 2/3 innings, which according to the Elias Sports Bureau was the second lowest home run rate in the American League last season. Needless to say, teams are forever looking for high strikeout/low home run pitchers.
For his career, Ramirez has a 2.15 ERA in 105 innings outside of Coors Field (he pitched for the Rockies in 2006 and ’07). He throws 93-95 mph with what the Red Sox believe is a power split and held right-handed batters to a .153 batting average and .455 OPS.
Crisp had a .392 OBP after the All-Star break last season, and played very well in a season in which he and Jacoby Ellsbury exchanged the roles of starter and extra man because of injuries to J.D. Drew and Manny Ramirez. He is one of the better defensive center fielders in the game and his .751 OPS in ’08 and his stellar defensive play are upgrades for the Royals — whose center fielders had an OPS of .638 last season.
The Red Sox surveyed what was a surprisingly small market for Crisp — Cincinnati was the other club with the most interest — and decided that with Jeremy Affeldt starting out the 2008 free agent market by signing a two-year, $8 million deal with the Giants that it likely will be easier to find another outfielder than to secure a low cost power