05/27/08 10:35 PM ET
Crisp handles situation in stride
Center fielder wants trade, but understands and won't complain
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
"If I was in their shoes, I wouldn't trade me," said Crisp. "From a business side, if I was them, I probably wouldn't trade me. From my side and my family and what's best for my family ultimately is me being somewhere else."
In other words, Crisp is hoping for a change in the market -- one in which the Red Sox can dangle his name out there and come up with a package that makes them a better team without him than with him.
If you look at the numbers, Crisp plays a little more than half the time. Tuesday marked the 30th time in Boston's 55 games that Crisp was in the starting lineup. Jacoby Ellsbury -- Boston's center fielder of the future -- has started 40 games, including eight in right and seven in left.
At 28 years old -- considered a prime age for most baseball players -- Crisp feels he has too much to offer not to be playing every day.
Yet he hasn't sulked. Crisp shows up to work every day and does what the Red Sox ask him to. Sometimes it is starting. On other nights, it is pinch-running or going in for defense in the last couple of innings.
"Yeah, it is tough," said Crisp. "Some things were said in Spring Training all the way up to now that they'll make a move if they get enough for me. It just seems like nobody is offering up [enough]. There's a lot of young guys playing the outfield right now, but it seems like everybody is having a good rookie year or second year.
"I'll just kind of wait it out and try to enjoy myself and not look back five years from now and think that things didn't work out the way I wanted and I didn't enjoy myself. I'm still trying to have fun and enjoy myself. It's been working out that way."
Crisp has made the most of his opportunities, entering Tuesday's game with a .287 average, two homers, 11 RBIs and six stolen bases. Factor in Ellsbury's success -- .278, four homers, 19 RBIs and 19 stolen bases -- and the Red Sox are getting a lot out of this dynamic duo.
"Maybe if I was playing every day, I think I'd probably be hitting .320 with like seven homers or something like that," said Crisp. "But since I'm not, the numbers are not as good. But I feel really good this year. It's just coming off the bench, I'm having a mediocre season, .280-something. I'm trying to stay focused. You go out there during defense and you have to check the sky and figure out who's coming up to the plate and stuff. But you just have to try to do the best that you can with the opportunities that you get."
Red Sox manager Terry Francona has a thorough appreciation for the way Crisp has handled the situation.
"He's been great," Francona said. "He came in and talked the other day about it a little bit. I know how he feels. And I respect how he feels. And I also respect how he's handled it. That's kind of where we are. My position is, we like to win every game we can. I really like having them both on the club. I think we're a better team.
"I also understand how he feels. And I told him that. He has talked to [general manager] Theo [Epstein] about it. The one thing I appreciate, and I told him, is how he's approached it. He's been good, he's been respectful. He's been very honest how he feels, but he's been, again, 'respectful,' I think is the right word. He's handled it really well. Saying that, I know he wants to play every day."
If a market doesn't develop for Crisp, will he be able to handle part-time duty the rest of the season?
"Personality-wise, yeah," said Crisp. "Inside, I wouldn't be happy, but I'm not going to show it or anything like that. Like I said, I'm going to try to have fun to the best that I can. It's not ultimately what I want to do. I would love to be here and be starting, but that's not in the plans, it doesn't look like. If starting is what I want to be, then it might have to be somewhere else."
So Crisp will just keep grinding away and see how the situation evolves.
"Hopefully, they have it their hearts to get me out of here for the sake of me, instead of just letting it be a business," said Crisp. "But I'm business-minded, as well, so I definitely understand it."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.