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Just The Sports: Coco Crisp and Johnny Damon

Just The Sports

Monday, November 12, 2007

Coco Crisp and Johnny Damon

When the Boston Red Sox replaced Johnny Damon with Coco Crisp before the 2006 regular season after Damon defected to the New York Yankees, the trading for and signing of Crisp made perfect sense. The Red Sox smartly refused to match either the number of years or the number of dollars Damon received from the Yankees (four-year, $52 million), fearing due to Damon's style of play that he would break down before the end of four years and be unable to earn his monstrous contract. Therefore, the Red Sox went out and found a cheaper, younger version of Johnny Damon, signing Crisp to a three-year, $15.5 million contract after he was already promised $1.75 million for the 2006 season.

Previous to the 2006 season, Johnny Damon had amassed a batting line of .290 BA/.350 OBP/.431 SLG/.265 GPA, statistics Coco Crisp had matched with his own batting line of .287 BA/.326 OBP/.424 SLG/.253 GPA and Crisp was and still is six years younger than Damon, making it more likely he would be able to sustain his level of production longer than Damon. Or so the Red Sox thought.

Unfortunately, Coco Crisp has failed to live up to expectations. Not only did Crisp only play in 104 regular-season games, but when he only hit an anemic .264 BA/.317 OBP/.385 SLG/.239 GPA, his worst hitting season since he played thirty-two games in 2002 when he was twenty-two years old. At the same time, Damon hit .285 BA/.359 OBP/.482/.282 GPA, making one wonder if the Red Sox had made a mistake in letting him go.

Then the second season of their respective tenures with their new teams began, the 2007 for those keeping count at home, something interesting occurred, not with Coco Crisp but with Johnny Damon. Crisp had another sub-par season when compared to his pre-2006 numbers, but now looks like the best he has to offer, when he only hit .268 BA/.330 OBP/.382 SLG/.244 GPA. Damon, though, experienced a drop-off in production, only hitting .270 BA/.351 OBP/.396 SLG/.257 GPA.

Factoring in each player's two seasons, there is no statistically significant difference in their batting averages, on-base percentages, slugging percentages, or gross product averages so neither team has gotten good performances from either of their outfielders or at least the production either team predicted they would receive.

If a winner has to be compared now between the Red Sox and the Yankees in this lackluster contest, it would have to go to the Red Sox for the simple fact they are devoting less payroll for Crisp's worthlessness at the plate while the Yankees are grossly overpaying for Damon. Then again, if Crisp is pushed out by Jacoby Ellsbury like the playoffs gave us a glimpse of happening, by the end of the 2009 season, maybe the Yankees will be the winners.



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