Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bye Bye Co Co!! Kansas City Here You Come!

Click here for Ramierez Stats

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff November 19, 2008 10:23 AM

The Red Sox have traded center fielder Coco Crisp to the Royals for righthanded relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez, a major league baseball source confirmed to the Globe's Nick Cafardo this morning. The Red Sox formally announced the deal at noon, and general manager Theo Epstein has a conference call scheduled for 1 p.m.

Ramirez is an interesting acquisition for the Red Sox -- his arrival would suggest that the ball club is at least considering using Justin Masterson as a starter. Reports say the 27-year-old throws in the low 90s, with an outstanding curveball and a changeup that acts like a splitter. A scout who saw Ramirez pitch six times in person this season offered this analysis to Cafardo:
"Likes to challenge hitters . . . Definitely a setup man with potential to be a closer down the road . . . Plus fastball, plus slider, has a splitter or something that resembles a splitter . . . Average command . . . Deceptive delivery makes it hard for righthanded hitters to pick up his fastball."
Ramirez is coming off a very good 2008 season, having posted a 2.64 ERA in 71.2 innings this year while striking out 70. He allowed just two home runs, and held righthanders to a .153 average in 137 at-bats, the lowest in the AL and third in majors among pitchers with at least 50 games. Only the Cubs’ Carlos Marmol (.103) and Philadelphia’s Brad Lidge (.105) ranked higher. In his career, Ramirez has held righties to a .198 clip with an OPS of .586. He was particularly effective in September, allowing just one earned run and four hits in 9.2 innings (0.93 ERA).

Ramirez, who originally signed with the Rangers at age 15 in 1996, debuted in the majors in 2006 with the Colorado Rockies after he was acquired from the Yankees for pitcher Shaun Chacon. He posted a 3.46 ERA in 67.2 innings over 61 appearances as a Rockies rookie, and did not allow a run in his first 15.1 innings.

He struggled with an elbow injury in '07, going 2-2 with an 8.31 ERA in 22 games and was not on the Rockies' World Series roster against the Red Sox.

Crisp, 29, batted .283 -- .315 in the second half -- with seven homers, 41 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 361 at-bats last season, his third in Boston. An excellent fielder, started 98 games in center field while sharing the job with rookie Jacoby Ellsbury.

Trading Crisp clears a chunk of payroll for the Red Sox -- he will earn $5.7 million in 2009, with a club option for 2010 for $8 million or a $500,000 buyout.

The deal was first reported this morning on Kansas City sports radio station WHB 810 by Brian McRae, a former Royals outfielder who is a part owner of the station.

During an on-air interview with WHB 810 earlier this morning, Royals senior adviser Mike Arbuckle would not confirm that the deal was complete, but said he liked Crisp as a player.

"I would say Coco is a good player and we're always interested in getting good players," said Arbuckle, who recently joined the Royals after working in the front office of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

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