I thought I would take an objective look at the impending Indians-Red Sox deal, and see how it could effect the White Sox.
First the specifics: The bit players still are TBD. Let's Go Tribe has a breakdown of all the proposed scenarios. The key players, however, are Coco Crisp headed to the Red Sox, Andy Marte and Jason Michaels going to the Tribe, and an established reliever headed to Philly.
For the 2006 Tribe, this is basically a swap of Crisp for Michaels. Crisp is the superior defender, and has twice as many ABs as Michaels despite being 4 years his junior. Michaels appears to me to be a Ross Gload type player, who was never really given the opportunity to hold down a starting position despite hitting relatively well over the course of his career.
Michaels is far from the key piece in the deal from the Indians perspective. No, that honor falls to Andy Marte. Some have speculated that he may be the best prospect in baseball. And while I think that assertion is foolhardy, there's no denying that he's an elite prospect. -- Others are sure argue that there's a reason he's been 'traded' twice this off-season. And to that I say, yeah, because teams want him. Marte's not likely to contribute right away, however. He would only see action in '06 if Michaels or incumbent third baseman Aaron Boone struggled.
For Boston, Crisp is a useful player who should replace Johnny Damon's production on the cheap. Crisp will lose some of his value with a switch to center, but he should equal Damon's efficiency there as well.
From the White Sox perspective, this deal doesn't make either the Red Sox or Indians significantly better than they were in '05. With Marte likely breaking into a full-time roll for the Tribe in '07, though, their future looks brighter than ever.
Am I the only one waiting for the headline Cubs sign injured pitcher?