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Coco Crisp (file image)

BOSTON (WBZ) ― The Kansas City Royals picked up the leadoff hitter they had been seeking on Wednesday, acquiring center fielder Coco Crisp from the Boston Red Sox for reliever Ramon Ramirez.

The switch-hitting Crisp gives the Royals speed at the top of the lineup and a superb defender in center field who has World Series experience.

"The speed aspect of it was very important," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "I've talked many times about the importance of a balanced lineup, speed at the top and the bottom, and Coco certainly gives us that."

NO ROOM FOR 2 IN CENTER

The 29-year-old was the subject of trade rumors for much of last season following the emergence of rookie Jacoby Ellsbury.

The two split time in center, with Crisp hitting .283 with seven homers and 41 RBIs in 98 games. He also stole 20 bases in 27 attempts, the third-straight season he's reached the 20-steal mark.

Crisp hit .417 (10-for-24) in the playoffs, driving in the tying run in the eighth inning to complete Boston's comeback from a 7-0 deficit in Game 5 of the AL championship series against Tampa Bay.

SOX SAVE SOME MONEY

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said Crisp's offense never completely rebounded after Crisp broke his finger in 2006 -- Crisp's first of three seasons with Boston.

A career .280 hitter, Crisp is due to make $5.75 million next season in a deal that includes an $8 million club option for 2010 with a $500,000 buyout. Boston gained some financial savings while adding a quality right-hander to its bullpen.

"He played through injuries. He played hard," Epstein said.

WHO IS RAMON RAMIREZ?

The Royals got Ramirez in a trade with Colorado before last season and were so impressed with his stuff that they projected him to be their closer.

With a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, Ramirez is a power pitcher who seems suited for the late innings. He was one of the primary setup men for closer Joakim Soria and flourished in that spot, going 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 71 2-3 innings.

MOVING MASTERSON TO ROTATION?

Ramirez figures to play a setup role for closer Jonathan Papelbon in Boston and could send Justin Masterson back to the rotation, where he feels more comfortable.

"(He) gives us the flexibility to start Masterson," Epstein said. "Ramirez potentially could replace Masterson in the pen."

Epstein said the Red Sox hope to replace Crisp with a right-handed fourth outfielder who can play center. He probably will look outside the organization.

Pitching seems to be the focus for the Red Sox right now.

The New York Daily News and Fox Sports are both reporting the Sox and Yankees are competing for the services of free agent pitcher A.J. Burnett.

http://wbztv.com/sports/redsox/coco.crisp.traded.2.868506.html
 

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Jacoby can steal just as well. I am sad to see Coco the person go as he was by all accounts a consumate team player and good guy. I am not sad to see Coco the player go as I think Jacoby will be a better every day center fielder. Excellent Trade for the Red Sox.
 
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Jacoby can steal just as well. I am sad to see Coco the person go as he was by all accounts a consumate team player and good guy. I am not sad to see Coco the player go as I think Jacoby will be a better every day center fielder. Excellent Trade for the Red Sox.
I agree; Coco has the talent to be an everyday player, so I'm glad he's going to get that opportunity, because he was a great teammate. Sorry to see him go, but I also like what I hear about this pitcher, plus I believe Masterson belongs in the rotation.
 

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fraggle tamer
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Why can't we get rid of Timlin?? OH YA! Because no body else wants him either.
Sorry to see Coco go. Hopefully Ramirez will make it worth it.
 
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