Coco Crisp wonders why he can’t join the rest of the team on the DL

August 26th, 2006 → 12:15 am @ // 16 Comments

Last week, someone who spends a lot of time around baseball told me he thought Coco Crisp was the worst centerfielder in the A.L. I thought that seemed excessive, although admittedly I hadn’t seen Crisp much in Cleveland (and the wild variations in defensive valuations — is Trot Nixon the best right fielder in the league? Or one of the worst? — leave a bit to be desired).

So I can’t speak with any authority on where Coco ranks among other centerfielders. I can say his instincts have been atrocious, and rarely as much as they were tonight. In the bottom of the fifth, with Schilling dealing and Yuniesky Betancourt on first, Willie Bloomquist hit what should have been a bloop single into center field…except Coco decided he was going to be a hero and bellyflopped about ten feet short of the ball, allowing Betancourt to score and giftwrapping a triple for Bloomquist. The last time a person made that kind of decision — needlessly diving for a ball when the benefit of a catch would be far outweighed by the danger of letting the ball get by you — Adam Stern ended up with a highlight reel, along with a stern lecture. (I’ll be here all week, folks.) “We’re playing no doubles there,” Francona said after Stern’s game-ending, April 18 grab. “We want it to take two hits to have the guy score from first. If he doesn’t make that catch — if the ball slides by him — he scores on hit. I think he learned a lesson, and thankfully it didn’t cost us a ballgame.” By the 20th, Stern was back at Pawtucket. He hasn’t been back since.

Who knows what Crisp was thinking. Maybe he’s running scared, and hoping he can find some way — any way — to win back his confidence, and Sox fans. Maybe he was thinking back to June, when he made what was immediately called a highlight reel grab for the ages. (That’s obviously hyperbolic, although it might have been the catch of the year. At least for a couple of days, until Gary Matthews Jr. literally climbed the outfield wall to steal a homer from Mike Lamb.)

Maybe he really is the worst centerfielder in the league. Or maybe he’s not cut out to play in Boston. It happens. This could be one of those times.

I think it’s weak when writers slam baseball execs for making moves those same writers supported at the time, and I supported the Crisp signing. He was young, he came cheap, and his offensive numbers were good and trending upwards (and were significantly better away from Cleveland than they were at home). Right now, it looks like this was a move that didn’t pan out. And if the season ends up as it began — with Crisp looking as if we wants to be anywhere but on the field at Fenway — I can’t imagine Coco will be patrolling center for the Sox next year.


Post Categories: Coco Crisp

16 Comments → “Coco Crisp wonders why he can’t join the rest of the team on the DL”


  1. Mannybeingmanny

    11 years ago

    Did you catch the Mariners broadcasters disregarding the defense of the Red Sox in the aftermath of the Crisp error? One broadcaster made reference to the fact that the reason that the Red Sox made so few errors was because of their limited range. They got to so few balls that they made fewer errors on them. He then went down the list of our players and listed our entire outfield (Crisp, Kapler and Manny despite Pena playing for Manny) and listed them as subpar and rated our infield as adequate – despite forgetting that Lowell even played for us. Might that have something to do with the Sox threatening to break the alltime record for errors in a season…one that is held by the Mariners? Coincidence?

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  2. rln2433

    11 years ago

    Kevin Kennedy of FSN West made an interesting comment about Beckett last night. He said that Beckett’s mechanics looked much better and that he was keeping his back leg from bending too soon which helps keep the ball down.

    Why couldn’t the Sox have figured that out?

    Also, I noticed that early on Mirabelli was relying a lot on Beckett’s fastball instead of introducing the curve so as to keep the Angels off of it.

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  3. geigerm

    11 years ago

    I agree with a lot of what you said about Coco, but count me among the fans who hope he’s in Boston next year. Cutting bait on a guy this talented just isn’t a good idea–this isn’t Renteria, part two. I think he can learn to be a better center fielder, his offense will improve (unless, of course, he gets hurt again), and he’ll meet expectations in ’07. Of course, I once believed Kevin Morton was going to be the next great Sox pitcher, so you probably ought to take what I’m saying with a grain of salt.

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  4. rln2433

    11 years ago

    Besides the lack of leadership and cohesiveness on this team, they basically suck in the hitting department. The Friday night game in Seattle features Crisp at lead off who cannot walk or get on base and insists on swinging for the fences, Loretta who uppercut swings, cannot drive the ball and is pathetically slow, Wily Mo Pena who looks completely confused at the plate, Mike Lowell who with his performance since the all-star break is proving last year’s season to be no fluke, Gabe Kapler who is hitting .217, a rookie in Pedroia and Cora who is a good back up but not a hitter. Theo and company have gotten away from their philosophy that created success in 2003 & 2004 and that was to stack the line up with good hitters who made the other team work for their outs. The line ups this year are filled with guys who hack, cannot recognize pitches and simply have no strategy at the plate.

    What the hell happed to the great Ron Jackson?

    And while the injuries are a factor, both Tek and Nixon were not hitting like middle order guys.

    I will be very interested to see what the offseason looks like as the assembled parts for this year simply have not worked. $125 million should buy you more than what they got from this year’s collection. I am hoping that they will find a few guys with some hard nosed attitude who can stir up a game at any point it’s needed.

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  5. sonnysiebert

    11 years ago

    I could live with occasional poor judgment in the field if Coco Crisp could manage to get on base with any regularity.

    I don’t know if the Red Sox players are having any fun out there these days but it’s not much fun watching them. It’s starting to feel like some weird form of aversion therapy.

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  6. s1c

    11 years ago

    I like Coco, just wanted to be up front about it. Yes sometimes he does have poor instincts, but let us remember, he was a left fielder in Cleveland. I also think that part of his problem is the way the team positions him. So the Melky double again last night, why was coco in left center with a lefty up to bat? Just an example of poor positioning.

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  7. deversm

    11 years ago

    Coco’s reads and jumps are, to be polite, not great. He can sometimes make up for it with his athletecism on balls that hang in the air a bit, but on line drives he can’t make up the difference. I would have never thought it, and maybe the injury has played a part, but his arm looks even weaker than Damon’s. I think we’re seeing why the Indians preferred having him in left (along with the obvious Sizemore thing).

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  8. Ogie Oglethorpe

    11 years ago

    I’m guessing that Crisp will be back next season or at least part of next season until Ellsbury is ready to go. Ellsbury is the real deal but hasn’t even had a full season in AA. Trading Crisp in the off-season is a possibility but with the season he is having his trade value will be low. He is locked up for a decent price but he hasn’t had enough success to give the Sox leverage in trade talks. I also think it may be too early to pass judgment on this guy. He started off well and then got hurt. Once he got back he was probably putting even more pressure on himself to prove to the team/fans that he was worth trading for in the off-season. You also got to factor in that this is his first year in a new environment. A lot of players have an off year after a big contract or a trade. Look at Carlos Beltran’s numbers last season as opposed to this season. He came from small markets, landed a huge contract and went to NYC. Huge pressure with the new contract and city. Obviously Crisp is not in Beltran’s class but similar situations. Off year or not Crisp isn’t a leadoff hitter. Putting him at the top of the order is like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. I still think this guy can be good but Ellsbury seems to be the total package. His defense is supposed to be top notch.

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  9. soxfannyc

    11 years ago

    It should be an interesting offseason. I would be shocked to see Coco back in CF next year as I expect the Sox to make another psuh for Andruw Jones to play CF and hit fifth. Loretta will be gone, replaced by Dustin at 2B and I expect the Sox to make a big push for Julio Lugo. Theo and co. have been trying to get Lugo for the last two years. Other than Manny and Ortiz, the Sox lineup isnt the meat grinder it was in 2003 or 2004. I couldn’t believe the lineup we had last night against Seattle and Im sure Schilling couldnt believe it either. For $125mn we basically had a AAA team with a few washed up veterans mixed in. Granted, injuries were a big factor but still scary nonetheless. The team have NO energy at all, it was depressing to watch. The Sox are not going to make the playoffs this year so start preparing yourself for 2007. Here is my projected lineup for next year.

    1. Julie Lugo SS
    2. Kevin Youklis 1B
    3. David Ortiz DH
    4. Manny Ramirez LF
    5. Andruw Jones CF
    6. Jason Varitek C
    7. Mike Lowell 3B
    8. Willy Mo Pena RF
    9. Dustin Pedroia 2B

    Rotation Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Jon Papelbon, Tim Wakefield, Matt Clement

    Closer who knows…..???

    Reply

  10. 111875

    11 years ago

    Coco’s jumps are, at times, a reason for concern. Doesn’t he also seem to come periously close to other outfielders far too often? Perhaps that was just earlier in the season when they all weren’t as used to playing with each other. However, as I thought post-Damon’s exit, the Yanks are certainly better in center this year, and perhaps for the next two (I was saying this in the offseason pre-Johnny’s new and improved bulky pecs, and bulky best friend Giambi. Giambi is constantly excessively sweating no matter the temperature and Johnny has a career high home runs and doesn’t feel as banged up after banging into wall? Huh. Weird. Must be the Bronx water?) ANYWAY–but I think we are better suited for the next four years.

    Perhaps Coco isn’t fit for a market this big. Or perhaps it is a matter of adjusting. I am far more concerned with the revolving door policy that seems to be Theo’s m.o. New guys every year? All new guys? I am a the biggest supporter of team chemistry I know, and knowing my bias, I still think that will lead to teams that have a harder time joining together to rally past slumps (…), and also it will make it harder to keep the fan base AS passionate and involved. Buying the tshirt of the new guy will become like new school clothes because we grew out of last year’s? More than the SS, its about supporting a team.

    Long-winded? Sure. I say stick with Coco.

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  11. Beth

    11 years ago

    i believe that coco was also chosen for his personality, having to fill the spot vacated by johnny damon. look how quickly the team put him front and center in ads. he’s a good-looking, smiling, magnanimous guy–i truly think that played a role in his signing.

    Reply

  12. dmothe30

    11 years ago

    Two things — One, I am far from convinced that Coco Crisp will not be with the Boston Red Sox next year. Could he be traded? Sure, but think of all of the other rumors — Wily Mo to the Nationals, Lowell to the Padres, to name a few — that did not come to fruition this year. Would I welcome Andruw Jones to Fenway? Hell yeah, but I’m still convinced that Crisp’s best years are ahead of him. He’s had a rough year with injuries, a batting slump and blending into a new city, and I think if the Sox move him early, they could easily be looking at another Renteria situation, watching him play in the All-Star game representing another team.

    As for the Sox defense this year, I agree with the earlier post here. To suggest that the Sox defense is nothing more than “adequate” is ridiculous. The left side of the infield, in particular, has been astounding most of the year. Lowell and Gonzalez both deserve consideration for Gold Gloves.

    Another thing — I like Lugo — he brings speed, a decent bat, and his ability to be an offensive spark plug to the table. If you’re looking for a solid glove, though, he’s not your guy. He has regularly committed 20-plus errors over the last few years, and if you don’t think that’s going to drive everyone from Theo to Schilling to the fans nuts at shortstop, you’re crazy.

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  13. MikeVaBeach

    11 years ago

    Coco even makes poor throws to the relay man in a non-pressure situation, short-hopping, bouncing the ball in, etc. Is he hurt? I’d feel better knowing for sure.

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  14. David Haglund

    11 years ago

    Is it just me, or has the notion that certain players are “not cut out to play in Boston” grown exponentially in the last two or three years? It’s the kind of thing one hears in New York all the time, mostly with regard to the Yankees. There may be a few guys that applies to, but I imagine the number is very small. Even a headcase like Derek Lowe had his best season in Boston– as well as his worst… followed by a brilliant postseason! Who knows what goes on in these guys’ heads.

    That attitude’s accompanied by a tendency to ship guys out after a single, disappointing year (Contreras, Vazquez, Weaver… it’s not always a mistake, I suppose).

    So I fourth or fifth all the Renteria comparisons. And Atlanta was even willing to give up real talent for Renteria (since we included lots of cash), which wouldn’t happen with Coco. Also, Crisp is much younger than Renteria, and may not have had his best years yet. Give him another shot, and hope he doesn’t get injured again.

    Unless we can get Andruw Jones, of course. The ideas in post no. 9 all sound good to me.

    (As an aside, I tend to agree with Beth in no. 11, and wonder whether that has any effect on future moves. Probably not: he still has to play well to stay.)

    Reply

  15. Nordberg

    11 years ago

    We have to remember that Covelli missed a big chunk of the season to injury. I really believe that he should get one more season to prove he can do the job. By then Ellsbury should be ready and Covelli would be trade bait.
    But Covelli must stop putting so much pressure on himself.

    An above post mocked the Sox struggling offense.
    We cannot forget the overall health of the team.
    Is there anyone who hasn’t missed a couple of games due to injury in the last month? I know it’s part of baseball, but these guys seem to be pretty banged up. with so many injuries, a bulk of the workload has been left to a mediocre reserve corps.
    Varitek, Youkilis, Loretta, Gonzalez, Lowell, Ramirez, Crisp, Nixon, Mirabelli, Pena … that’s not even bringing up the pitchers.

    Reply

  16. Manders94

    11 years ago

    Re: Stern getting demoted two days after his game-saving catch against the Rays…I’m almost sure the timing was coincidental. As a Rule 5 player, he needed to spend the first 17 days of the season on the 25-man roster before the Sox could option him back to the minors without offering him back to the Braves.

    The 17th day was Apr. 18, one day after his catch. Last year was pretty much a lost year in Stern’s development due to his injuries and he’d never before played regularly above AA, so the Sox didn’t want to waste any time getting him some regular PT in the minors.

    As for what the Sox should do about Coco, I’d be real careful about overhauling the team again this winter. I’m of the belief that drastic overhauls just do not work very often. But I base that on the 2002 Mets, so take it for what it’s worth.

    Reply

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