I don't get it.
I mean, I get it from Boston's perspective - Crisp was a superfluous role player who's been on the market for years, and Epstein was able to deal him for a cheap, young righty whose only two full seasons in the bigs have been excellent. Even if you allow for some home run regression for Ramirez, you're still talking about a guy whose tRA* ranked 24th out of 218 qualified relievers last year. Which puts him ahead of Bobby Jenks and Brandon Morrow and essentially ties him with Joakim Soria and Jose Valverde. That's good. Ramon Ramirez is good. He throws in the mid-90s, he has a dynamite slider, and his changeup is good enough to keep lefties from going crazy. And he's under team control for another four years. His addition gives Boston both flexibility and the luxury of dependable middle relief, which was one of the only things Sox fans had left to complain about.
But for the Royals...okay, look, I like Crisp. He's a slightly below-average bat with an above-average glove in center field, a combination that makes him a 1.5-2 win player. Bringing him in makes it easier for Dayton Moore to trade Mark Teahen (or Jose Guillen if anyone's feeling particularly retarded) and slide David DeJesus into left, where he becomes an asset less because of his bat and more because of his defense. Or it makes it easier for him to trade David DeJesus and keep Teahen in a corner. Or whatever. It's flexibility, and for the time being it improves the outfield's range, which is always a positive. But then what? Crisp has a $5.75m salary in 2009 and an $8m option for 2010. He's a short-term addition that only makes sense if the Royals plan on winning, and I don't think they're set up to do that. They were a ~75 win true talent team a year ago, and as good as some of their young players look, that's an uphill battle they're fighting. They're not the best team in the Central. They're not particularly close. And they're going to need a lot more help if they plan to get there within the next two years.
I don't know. I guess they could surprise some people. And I guess they could always get a pick or two when Crisp goes away. But no matter how optimistic Dayton Moore may be, and no matter how easy it is to find decent relievers, I have trouble believing that this was the best thing they could have done with Ramirez. Why not explore the market to see if anyone's offering anything better? Why not trade DeJesus or Teahen first and see where that leaves you? Why not keep Ramirez and sign Juan Rivera or Endy Chavez or Mark Kotsay or someone for cheap? For all we know, Ramirez could have made an easy move to closing, freeing up Soria to start. But now we'll probably never know, because Dayton Moore is in a hurry to build whatever it is he's trying to build.
It's not an awful move for KC, and I suppose there's a little upside in there if you squint hard enough. I just don't understand it. Which can be a good thing for Billy Beane, but Moore hasn't exactly earned the benefit of the doubt.
Boston looks amazing.