Saturday, January 28, 2006

All Gets That Much More Right With The World

I’m not sure what makes me happier: that the Red Sox officially acquired Coco Crisp last night; that they made up for the Mota shoulder weakness in the trade without losing Manny Delcarmen; or that with a dog and pony show for the press last night, Lucchino and Theo made their reconciliation as real and as public as possible.

The trade details turned out to be basically the same as they’ve been for at least the past week: Crisp, Riske and Bard for Renteria (I mean Marte), Mota and Shoppach. Despite dealing from a position of weakness (you may recall that the Sox need a centerfielder – and everyone and their mother knows it), Theo & Co. avoided the desperation move, rumored since Mota “failed” his physical, of including top (already proven) relief prospect Manny Delcarmen to get the deal done. I would have settled for throwing in Matt Clement – Boston took it one step further and bought the Tribe off with cash and more cash or a player to be named later if they’re still unsatisfied. So, final score: the Sox trade one top third base prospect (giving this trade potential Jeff Bagwell/Larry Andersen status), one high but unproven catching prospect (a position they have locked up for the next few years at least) and a good reliever with a shoulder problem for a young, proven centerfielder, a mediocre but unproven catching prospect and a young, proven reliever. I think the Sox did all right.

The media circus: since the press about Theo’s unexpected return to GM refuses to die down, the Sox Front Office gets an idea: let’s invite the sports writers over to Larry’s house! Theo and Larry will talk about the new philosophy governing the club, explain how the organization’s been reorganized (to wit: Baseball Operations is moving up from the basement to be with everyone else in the company. The mental picture of the people who make all of the decisions about the makeup of the ball club emerging from the basement like the Neanderthals in 2001: A Space Odyssey clamoring around that space monolith is hilarious, by the way) and let the press know that in the future, the Boston Red Sox press policies will mirror those of the New England Patriots and Communist Russia – the only information that will get out is the stuff that the front office wants to get out. Oh and we’ll cap the whole thing off with a Theo and Larry hug. My favorite part of the whole deal (besides the clear decision to put the past in the past) is the statement of how Epstein and Lucchino intend to run player development and acquisition in the future:
“Epstein indicated that the team is now operating with a clear basis of beliefs centered upon balancing immediate and long-term goals, with an emphasis on player development, pitching, defense, and avoiding cumbersome contracts. Epstein said he wanted this balance clearly established, ''rather than reach that conclusion with every specific transaction.”
- The Boston Globe

In other words, let the Yankees and Mets have their arms race, their high priced contracts and their high potentials for both overwhelming success and complete meltdown. Boston really is going for VORP. Is it March yet?