November 8, 2007

Rocco or Coco?

With the Winter Meetings underway, the Twins look determined to fill the third base and centerfield positions. In centerfield, there are a few free agents out there after Torii Hunter, but anything much cheaper than him on the free agent market isn't worth it.

Instead, the Twins look like they are planning on making a trade to get their new guy in center, and the two names that have surfaced are Rocco Baldelli and Coco Crisp. Both would be good candidates for the Twins, but which one would be better?

The first thing that needs to be brought into account is what we'd have to give up in each situation.

For Baldelli, it looks like the Rays are interested in obtaining a shortstop and bullpen help. The Twins could definitely give them bullpen help as long as they aren't demanding a Pat Neshek. Maybe Juan Rincon and something else?

As for Crisp and the Red Sox, they seem to be intent on getting just bullpen help. There really isn't a lot that they need on offense, but their bullpen could defiantly get better, and again, the Twins could help them out.

After this, there would be the question as to if the Sox and Rays would give either player up. The answer seems to be yes, and the Twins have reportedly talked extensively to both teams.

With Jacoby Ellsbury young, and their future guy in center, the Sox are looking to move Crisp to make room for him. There is no way Crisp would accept a spot on the bench, and there really is no other spot for him.

As for Baldelli, the Rays don't need to move him, and he'd start if he was there, but with Crawford, Young, and an abundance of other outfielders making their way to the majors, he is expendable.

Aside for what the Twins would need to give up, the biggest thing might be who the better player is. This is a tough question, because both players have different strengths and weaknesses.

For Coco Crisp, it has mainly been being consistent. This past season, there were numerous times that he hit well for periods of time. But he'd go into a slump right with those times. Some of his positives are his speed (28 steals), his fielding (makes some nice plays), and his bat when consistent. Last season, he had 7 HR and 60 RBI. Both would be a step back from Torii, but you have to remember that nobody of Hunter's stature will be available, and Crisp can be very good if he doesn't slump.

As for Rocco, his main problem has been his health. He was fine before last season, but because of a hamstring injury last year, he played in just 35 games for the Rays. He did however hit 5 homeruns in that short period of time, an also stole 4 bases. Rocco's main strengths when healthy are his speed and average. He has decent power, and has hit 16 homeruns in two different seasons. He has also hit .280 and .302 respectively.

I'm not sure which one I'd rather have, or which one is better. Both are pretty similar, and both have one major thing holding them back (Crisp - consistency, Rocco - health). If the price was the same for both, I might go with Crisp, just because we know he is healthy and we know about what we're getting.