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"Crisp is no Damon" Duh!

Both the front office of the Red Sox and Indians went into high gear this weekend to put a positive spin on the 'Coco' Crisp trade to Boston.

"Coco Crisp is not Johnny Damon," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein in a separate conference call Saturday. "He's his own player. He brings his own strengths."

The trade included prospects, lower profile players, and relievers including the oft-injured Guillermo Mota. In a separate deal Cleveland picked up Jason Michaels from the Phillies who will most likely replace Crisp in Left. The team felt compelled to defend its decision to trade away a budding star outfielder.

"We're not looking to be judged along the way," said Shapiro, voted baseball's top executive in 2005 after Cleveland won 93 games -- a 13-game improvement. "We have certainly dealt with criticism, quite a bit of it, an extensive amount of it over the last three years, and we're making decisions that are in the best interest of the fans."

But much of the heat is on Red Sox management for being blindsided by the swift departure of Damon to the hallowed halls of Yankee Stadium. The trade for Crisp also meant the trading away of potential future third basemen Andy Marte. After losing the tough as nails Bill Meuller they hope to fill the hole at the hot corner with former Marlin Mike Lowell who is coming off a disappointing 2005. Coco seems to be the final deal in an off-season in which Boston's early thunder was stolen by the Yankees.

Epstein is pointing to Crisp's age (6 years younger than Damon) and similar stat line as selling points. Center field at Fenway can be a pretty hairy proposition, especially for a converter Left Fielder. Damon navigated the position well and the lack of sharp angles at Yankee Stadium should make his job out there a little easier. In time Crisp will make a solid replacement but no matter how many media statements to the contrary Epstein makes, Coco (his birth name is Covelli) can never replace the fire, energy and tough as nails attitude Johnny Damon brought to the team.

This Red Sox team may look strong on paper, but that 'Idiot' mentality that took them to the championship seems to have dissolved with the Damon debacle (or jackpot for us). Boston is left with a bunch of spare parts, and no chemistry. Their loss is most definitely the rest of the A.L. East's gain. On the surface it's a two team race between the Yanks and Toronto. Epstein, the once and future Red Sox G.M. can downplay the changes all he wants. The Crisp trade is Theo's last ditch effort to salvage a tumultouous off season. Yeah, Coco may be younger, and yeah his stats are quite similar to Damon's but I'd rather have the newly clean cut 'Idiot'. Any other notion turns soggy in milk.