It's official: Crisp bound for Boston in multi-player deal

Updated: January 28, 2006, 12:42 AM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Coco Crisp quickly became a fan favorite with Indians fans, winning them over with his catchy name, bubbly personality and solid skills.

The Red Sox Nation will be tougher to impress.

Crisp is bound for Boston after being traded Friday by the Cleveland Indians to the Red Sox, finally giving them a replacement for Johnny Damon in center field and at the leadoff spot in the batting order.

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Cleveland Indians

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Crisp's departure has been rumored for more than a week, but the deal was first held up by medical questions Cleveland had about reliever Guillermo Mota, and then was delayed by a trade between the Indians and Philadelphia Phillies.

When it all shook out, eight players -- and maybe a ninth -- were moved by three teams and the Red Sox gave the Indians at least $1 million. Commissioner Bud Selig had to approve the deal before it could be announced.

Along with Crisp, Cleveland sent reliever David Riske and backup catcher Josh Bard to Boston for Mota, third base prospect Andy Marte, catcher Kelly Shoppach, a player to be named and cash.

Before that deal was finalized, the Indians sent reliever Arthur Rhodes to Philadelphia for outfielder Jason Michaels, the probable replacement for Crisp as Cleveland's starting left fielder.

Rhodes had to pass a physical with Philadelphia before the Indians could pull the trigger and trade the 26-year-old Crisp, who batted .300 with 16 homers, 69 RBI and 15 steals last season.

"He's an energy player, and he can impact the game on both sides of the ball," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said.

Crisp, acquired by the Indians in 2002 from St. Louis, posted career highs in runs (86), hits (178) and homers in 2005. The Red Sox are counting on him doing even more to fill the void left when Damon signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees.

"He's just entering his prime right now and he definitely has upside beyond what he has done thus far," Shapiro said. "He can become a better, more effective basestealer. The question and the unknown is always going to be how much more power he's got."

While the Red Sox targeted Crisp as their No. 1 option to replace Damon this winter, the Indians were equally high on the 22-year-old Marte, considered one of the top minor leaguers in baseball.

Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesMota's elbow injury almost derailed the Crisp deal.

Marte spent most of last season at Triple-A Richmond before Atlanta dealt him to the Red Sox for shortstop Edgar Renteria last month. He batted .275 with 20 homers and 74 RBI in 109 games last season.

Marte is expected to spend this season in Cleveland's minor leagues, but he finally gives the Indians a potential everyday player at what has been a problematic position for the club in recent years.

"In Andy we are acquiring a right-handed power hitter who is also a good defensive third baseman," Shapiro said. "It is difficult to acquire a player of Andy's caliber and skill set via trade or free agency and third base is a position of need in our organization."

In his only season with Cleveland, the 36-year-old Rhodes went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 47 games. He was a key contributor in the AL's best bullpen for four months in 2005, but missed the last two for family reasons.

Michaels, a right-handed hitter, batted .304 with four homers and 31 RBI in 105 games for the Phillies. The 29-year-old recently was put on six months' probation and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service following a fight with a Philadelphia police officer last year.

Phillies GM Pat Gillick said Michaels' legal troubles were not a factor.

"No, absolutely not," he said. "We just felt this situation fit in the direction we wanted to go. We wanted to solidify the back end of the bullpen and we think Rhodes helps us do that."

Shapiro thinks Michaels can have an immediate impact on Cleveland's lineup.

"Jason is a hard-nosed, tough player that complements our lineup extremely well," Shapiro said. "He has always been a tough out while recording a high on-base percentage and has the ability to play all three outfield positions well."

As long as he's healthy, Mota, 32, should help the Indians fill the void left by Bob Howry's departure. Howry was the team's setup man in '05, but signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs.

Mota never pitched for the Red Sox, who acquired him in the trade with Florida for Josh Beckett. The right-hander went 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA and two saves in 56 games for the Marlins, but missed more than a month with a sore elbow. He will make $3 million next season.

Because of their concerns over Mota's health, the Indians pushed and got the Red Sox to sweeten the deal. If Mota goes on the disabled list, Cleveland will be able to add a pitcher from Boston's minor league system.

Shoppach, 25, gives the Indians more options at backup catcher behind All-Star Victor Martinez. Shoppach batted .253 for Triple-A Pawtucket last season.

As Cleveland fought for a playoff spot last season, Indians manager Eric Wedge lost confidence in Riske, a right-hander who went 3-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 58 games. The 29-year-old struggled while trying to close early in 2004, but has been one of the league's steadiest middle relievers the past few seasons.

Despite being better defensively, Bard spent all of '05 backing up Martinez. He batted .193 with nine RBI in 34 games, but has become expendable with the emergence of minor leaguer Ryan Garko and Cleveland's signing of Einar Diaz this offseason.

Rhodes gives Philadelphia a dependable setup man for Tom Gordon, who is taking over for Billy Wagner as the club's closer. And with Rhodes, the Phillies can now move Ryan Madson to the starting rotation.

Madson, 25, was 6-5 with a 4.14 ERA in 78 games last season. He began the year as the setup man for Wagner, but gave up that role when the Phillies acquired Ugueth Urbina in June.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press