Sox reach deal for CF Crisp
By Tony Massarotti
Boston Herald Baseball Columnist and General Sports Columnist
Sunday, January 22, 2006 - Updated: 11:46 AM EST
With the return of Theo Epstein all but formalized, the Red Sox now appear on the verge of concluding a heretofore tumultuous offseason by acquiring both center fielder Coco Crisp and shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
And not a moment too soon.
According to baseball sources, the Red Sox and Cleveland Indians have agreed in principle on a deal that will bring outfielder Crisp to the Sox in a multi-player trade. The deal was agreed upon several days ago under the condition that Cleveland be able to acquire another outfielder to replace Crisp, presumably Jason Michaels from the Philadelphia Phillies.
There was some indication that the Phillies and Indians were hoping to complete the deal for Michaels as soon as last night. Cleveland was believed to be sending one of two relievers - left-hander Arthur Rhodes or right-hander Rafael Betancourt - to the Phillies in exchange for Michaels.
In the event of a breakdown in talks between the Phillies and Indians, Cleveland was believed to have serious interest in free agent outfielder Jeff DaVanon as a replacement for Crisp.
The Red Sox will send a package including reliever Guillermo Mota and prospect Andy Marte to the Indians. The inclusion of Mota in the deal explains why the Sox signed free agent reliever Julian Tavarez to a two-year contract despite having a bullpen that already included Keith Foulke, Mike Timlin, Mota, Rudy Seanez and, perhaps, Jonathan Papelbon.
Marte was acquired by the Sox earlier this offseason in the deal that sent Edgar Renteria to the Atlanta Braves. At the time, one Sox official described Marte as a “bargaining chip,” an asset the club now has to implement given the departure of center fielder Johnny Damon.
Beyond the acquisition of Crisp, the Sox also are about to sign free agent Gonzalez. The 28-year-old former Florida Marlins shortstop, is a free-swinging, career .264 hitter with little power, but he is regarded as a very good defensive player. He will likely bat ninth in a revamped Sox lineup that should feature much-improved infield defense. [continue]