I know Red already said his goodbyes to Coco, but I’m gonna miss him too. In a completely sports-fan, hetero, manly kind of way I mean. When he busted onto the Boston scene in 2006, all smiles and Dunkin Donuts commercials and cockeyed cap, he was a breath of fresh air. Johnny Damon had gone over to the dark side and Fenway was ripe for a new favorite. Coco coulda been that guy. But five games into the season, batting .333 with two steals, Coco went out and we didn’t see him again until Memorial Day. And he just never seemed the same.
The emergence of Jacoby Ellsbury in 2007 sealed Coco’s fate. The question of trading him was not really an “if” but a “when.” Despite an abysmal May and a worse July, Coco turned in a respectable 2008 season including a .417 batting average in his seven post-season games. The Sox took this opportunity to trade Crisp when his value was high and his $5.5 million salary in 2009 was reasonable. In return, we get Ramon Ramirez, a bullpen arm who might be the right-handed set-up guy if he can do what he did last season here in Boston in 2009. Or this all might be the precursor to a bigger trade.
Either way, the turnover in the outfield is complete: from Manny, Damon and Trot in 2004 to Bay, Ellsbury and Drew in 2009. And if Ellsbury doesn’t turn out to be the guy we all think he will (and ends up being the Ellsbury that was benched in the ALCS), where do the Sox turn? For all Coco could do off the bench, I liked the five-and-a-half million dollar insurance policy. But it wasn’t meant to be. No more stealth mound-charges followed by some Crouching Coco Ninja-style moves. No more calling the Rays a bunch of girls. And worst of all, no more highlight-reel catches in center (although Ellsbury is sure to have a few of his own).
And not to mention, what will Ken Rosenthal say?