Some organizations just get it. By no means am I trying to disparage other organizations, but the Cleveland Indians just know how to do things the right way these days.
Case in point: the Coco Crisp deal (we won’t go into the terrific Arthur Rhodes for Jason Michaels trade in this forum). Don’t get me wrong, Coco Crisp is a nice little player and he had a breakout in 2005. And he’s young. Will he continue to evolve and be a good leadoff hitter for the Red Sox? Who knows. But after assuring they had Michaels’ bat in the Rhodes deal, the Indians were able to turn Crisp into one of the best prospects in baseball — and arguably the best third base prospect (one of the few positions where the Indians have no depth in their system) in Andy Marte, a pretty darned good catching prospect in Kelly Shoppach, who was stuck behind Jason Varitek AND a legitimate setup man in Guillermo Mota.
But that may not be all. It sounds like they got Shoppach included perhaps because of Mota’s injury possibilities. In addition, depending on the report, they’ll also get a PTBN (Player to be Named). It may be a player they get only if Mota ends up on the DL, but even so…getting three players who could contribute in 2006 (though Marte, it seems, will really contribute starting in 2007), addressing an organizational need at third, building out a bullpen that was an achilles heel in 2006 and getting a very solid catcher who could backup Victor Martinez this year and is more than ready to catch every day should something happen to Martinez (or if/when he’s ready to change positions) — can you think of another organization who would get all that, then be able to hedge their bets on Mota with a PTBN? At the very least, they’ve got some more chips for trades (especially Shoppach) if they compete in the AL Central as I fully expect them to.
So kudos to the Indians. I know folks in Cleveland didn’t want to see Coco go. He’s a fun player. But trust me on this one, they continue to set themselves up for success in the short-term and for years to come.