I'm going to begin with several news stories around the Royals blogosphere. Obviously, the Royals today acquired center fielder Covelli "Coco" Crisp for relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this trade, but the cynic in me can't help but rear its ugly (or pretty?) head early. Below is what I wrote over on kcroyalsbaseball, the Yahoo! Royals Message Board.
Moore stated in the press conference earlier today that Ramirez and Nunez would be impossible to replace. That's probably mostly posturing on his part - defending his players - but it's true that it will be extraordinarily difficult to replace their 2.64 and 2.98 ERA's, respectively. That said, I have confidence that Moore can find competent back-end relief pitchers on the relative cheap. Obviously, a little luck has to be involved. Robinson Tejeda now becomes our prime right-handed setup man. The roles of Carlos Rosa and Ron Mahay just increased, and John Bale now looks like a candidate to return to the 'pen.
Anyway, B.P. ranked Crisp as a +29 defender in center field in 2007, and compared his outfield defense to that of Andruw Jones in his prime. Crisp's CF defense was actually negative last year (meaning he cost the team runs), but I'll chalk that up to the nagging injuries that plagued him for the better part of the year. I think Crisp will provide plus defense in CF. At a park like Kauffman, defense (more specifically, range) obviously takes a higher precedence.
That said, I'm not keen on Crisp's career numbers. .280/.331/.409 is still pretty uninspiring, even for a center fielder. His +51 BA/OBP split is uninspiring. Given that we owe him $5.95MM this year, we lost a capable 8th inning reliever, shifted DeJesus to a power-premium position, while giving players like Butler, DeJesus, and Teahen more incentive to be traded (and possibly lowered values, overall), I can't really deem this a win on the Royals part.
Obviously, Dayton isn't done this offseason. More trades, and likely signings, will take place. I'd be hard pressed to say our team wouldn't actually be better off if we simply signed Burrell (4/$64 would be in the ballpark) and called it a day with regard to offensive building. Obviously, we could still sign Burrell.
I wouldn't exactly call Crisp an OBP guy. Moore and Hillman are on record multiple times as stating that OBP is rather important. Crisp is most definitely not a top of the order hitter. He provides some tools - power, speed, some doubles power - to maybe warrant everyday duty - but at $5.95MM, and with our circumstances? Like I said, I can't really deem this a victory on Moore's part.
Crisp would probably make more sense to the Royals as a bottom of the order hitter than a leadoff man, as Moore himself stated Crisp might be in 2009 (although, admittedly, that may have been the zillionth case of a G.M. defending his player). Regardless, I think the move might be beneficial if we could trade Mark Teahen for something of real value to this ballclub. I like Baseball Think Factory's take on the trade.
Anyway, I recently appeared as a guest on 610 Sports' baseball analyst's program Baseball This Week. The podcast for that particular program can be found at Light Hitting Infielder, which is a website created by Royals Corner member meinfarr and contains all things Greg Schaum, from a blog to prospect discussion to a biography to podcasts from the show. My podcast is here. Don't miss the program every Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. on 610 KCSP, Kansas City. This week, RN member FanofJoseAgain! will be the guest.