Friday, November 21, 2008

So long, farewell...

I was so busy the last two days that I was completely unaware that the Red Sox traded Coco Crisp until this morning. Crisp will end up as one of those ex-Sox players that I'm not sure how I feel about. I remember being excited when the Red Sox first acquired him. He was a good defensive outfielder who was lightning fast on the basepaths - something Red Sox teams have always lacked (Johnny Damon not withstanding). He seemed destined to live up to the hype too during the first few weeks of Spring Training in 2006. But then he broke his finger stealing a base and the wheels seemed to come off. Crisp struggled as a lead-off hitter and instead of being the table-setter at the front of a potent Red Sox lineup, he spent most of his time with the Sox at the bottom of the order. Defensively however, Coco was one of the most dynamic players ever to play for the Red Sox. The highlight-reel, diving catches that he made on a regular basis are some of the best I have ever seen. And so I have mixed feelings about Crisp as a Red Sox player. I don't harbor any ill feelings towards Coco and wish him well in Kansas City.

In exchange for Crisp, the Red Sox get a relief pitcher, Ramon Ramirez, that I freely admit I know very little about. has the following scouting report on Ramirez:

"Throws 92-95 [mph] with a heavy, late-life fastball . . . Gets away with mistakes over the middle of the plate because his fastball has so much late life . . . second-best arm in that bullpen [to Joakim Soria] . . . 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 . . . Hitters can't pick up his arm slot on the backside . . . Needs to tweak his off-speed pitches . . . Can throw his slider too hard . . . Very athletic. Fields his position well . . . Has an above-average 1.22 [second] release point [from the breaking of his hands to catchers mitt] on his slide step, 1.3 from the windup . . . Works fast."

One of the Red Sox weaknesses last season was their bullpen - Okajima wasn't as good in his sophomore year, Delcarmen struggled to be consistent and Timlin was done (God I hated seeing him come into games last year). Sure Papelbon was as dominant as ever, but getting to him was difficult. Good end-of-game pitchers are hard to come by, so if Ramirez performs as advertised, then I applaud the Red Sox for this move. I've seen a lot of speculation that this is the first domino in a bigger game Theo Epstein is playing. I'm not sure I buy it. Epstein has had a history of stocking up on pitching during the off-season. I think his 2006 blunder with Bronson Arroyo taught him a valuable lesson - there's no such thing as too much pitching.

Enough talk though, what will be will be. Lets get to the fun stuff - cards! First up if the former Sox doing one of the things that made him exciting to watch - motor around the bases.

Next up is a Green Monster special. Since Topps didn't produce an image of their 2009 base set design featuring a Red Sox player, I came up with one for them. Introducing the newest member of the Red Sox, Ramon Ramirez (may he have as much success for the Sox as the last guy with that last name):

Original photo by G.Newman Lowrance/Getty Images
Original card design by Topps Company Inc.


Dave said...

Very nice work!

That '09 Topps design is growing on me.

Scott C. said...

Thanks for the complimemt. I use Photoshop at work all the time, but not in a real creative manner. It was fun to be able to stretch some of those photo editing skills again. I'm thinking that 'shopped cards may end up as a semi-regular feature on Green Monster.
Scott C.