After days of rumor and speculation, the Red Sox finally completed a deal Friday night with the Cleveland Indians that delivers the speedy and talented Coco Crisp to Boston. Crisp will assume the role of starting center fielder and likely leadoff hitter for the 2006 Red Sox.
The much-anticipated trade sends top third base prospect Andy Marte, reliever Guillermo Mota, catching prospect Kelly Shoppach and cash considerations to Cleveland, along with a player to be named later or future cash considerations. In addition to Crisp, the Red Sox also acquired reliever David Riske and catcher Josh Bard.
Initial details surfaced last weekend, but the Indians had to juggle a deal with the Phillies simultaneously to make Friday's deal with Boston work. When Arthur Rhodes passed his physical Friday, the Indians completed a deal to acquire outfielder Jason Michaels, thus clearing the way for Cleveland to send Crisp to Boston.
Crisp, the key figure in the deal for the Red Sox, is a 26-year-old switch-hitter who played primarily left field for the Indians after the emergence of Grady Sizemore in center last season. Crisp batted .300 with 16 homers, 69 RBIs and 15 steals in 2005, all career-highs. In addition to patrolling center, he will enter Spring Training as a leading candidate to fill Damon's role as the club's new regular leadoff hitter.
Originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh round in 1999, the Los Angeles native closed the season by batting .331 (40-for-121) with six homers, 16 RBIs and 18 runs over his final 29 games.
Since breaking into the big leagues with the Indians at the age of 22 in 2002, Crisp has upped his batting average, home runs, doubles and runs scored in every season. Acquired from the Cardinals in August 2002, Crisp has hit .287 with 90 doubles, 14 triples, 35 home runs, 176 RBIs, 235 runs and 54 stolen bases in 415 career Major League games with the Indians. The right-handed thrower has appeared in 216 games (203 starts) in left field and 188 games (181 starts) in center field in his big league career.
While the Red Sox had to part with prospects Marte and Shoppach, along with Mota (obtained in the Josh Beckett Thanksgiving trade) to acquire Crisp, the team also received highly regarded and dependable David Riske to add to their already deep bullpen. Riske, 29, was 3-4 in 2005 but posted an impressive 3.10 ERA in 72 2/3 innings.
Riske has appeared in at least 58 games and logged more than 70 innings in each of the last three seasons, going 12-9 with 14 saves and a 3.04 ERA in 198 games over that span. Drafted by the Indians in the 56th round in 1996, Riske is 17-12 with 16 saves and a 3.55 ERA in 287 career big league games, all in relief. He has averaged more than one strikeout per inning in his career, fanning 318 in 317 1/3 innings. The right-hander has limited opposing batters to a .227 career average, including a .205 clip by lefties.
He worked on back-to-back days 10 times last season, going 2-0 with one save and a 1.42 ERA (2 ER/12 2/3 IP) when pitching without a day of rest.
Riske figures to compete for a setup role in the middle of a bullpen that already features Mike Timlin, Keith Foulke, Julian Tavarez, Lenny DiNardo and possibly Jonathan Papelbon.
In giving up Shoppach, the team acquired Bard, a promising catcher who turns 28 on March 30. In 156 career games, Bard has 13 homers with 61 RBIs over parts of four seasons with the Tribe. Bard will join John Flaherty and Ken Huckaby as Spring Training candidates to back up Jason Varitek.
The switch-hitter hit .193 with a homer and nine RBIs in 34 games last season for Cleveland. Acquired from the Colorado Rockies in June 2001, the Texas Tech product has appeared in 149 games (133 starts) at catcher since breaking into the big leagues in 2002.
Mota, 32, who was acquired from the Marlins last November 25, is 22-24 with seven saves and a 3.61 ERA in 386 Major League relief appearances with the Expos (1999-2001), Dodgers (2002-04) and Marlins (2004-05).
Acquired from the Atlanta Braves for shortstop Edgar Renteria and cash considerations last December 8, the 22-year-old Marte hit 20 homers and drove in 74 runs in 109 games for Triple-A Richmond in 2005. He is a career .274 hitter with 131 doubles, 82 homers and 328 RBIs in 512 Minor League games since signing as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic on Sept. 12, 2000.
Shoppach, 25, spent the bulk of last season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was named an International League All-Star for the second consecutive season after establishing career bests with 26 homers and 75 RBIs. Boston's second-round pick in the 2001 draft made his Major League debut in 2005, appearing in nine games during a pair of stints with the Red Sox. He is a career .259 hitter with 106 doubles, 70 home runs, 265 RBIs and 221 runs scored in 423 Minor League games.
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.