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Saturday, January 21, 2006
Updated: January 23, 3:13 AM ET
Reports: Red Sox near deal for Indians OF Coco Crisp

ESPN.com news services

The Boston Red Sox are nearing completion on deals that would bring them Cleveland Indians outfielder Coco Crisp and free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez, according to Boston newspaper reports.

The Boston Herald and Boston Globe, citing unnamed baseball sources, reported that the Red Sox and Indians had agreed in principle on a deal that would send Crisp to Boston.

Both newspapers, also citing multiple major league sources, reported the team was working on a deal for Crisp as well as a free-agent deal with Gonzalez, formerly of the Florida Marlins. They said the Red Sox would include third-base prospect Andy Marte, who was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the Edgar Renteria trade, as well as relief pitcher Guillermo Mota.

While the Herald reported the Indians would send prospects to Boston, The Globe reported in Monday's editions that the Red Sox would acquire setup man David Riske and catcher Josh Bard in the deal. Boston would then give up catcher Kelly Shoppach in addition to Marte and Mota.

The Herald reported the deal hinged on the Indians' ability to acquire another outfielder, possibly in a trade for the Phillies' Jason Michaels or through signing free agent Jeff DaVanon, formerly of the Angels.

Gonzalez hit .245 with 81 homers and 375 RBI in eight seasons with the Marlins. The 28-year-old was an All-Star in 1997 and is considered a solid defensive player.

Since Johnny Damon signed with the New York Yankees last month, center field and a leadoff hitter have become a top priority for the Red Sox. Crisp could fill both voids.

Although he played mostly left field for the Indians last season, Crisp came up through the organization as a center fielder.

The switch-hitter batted .300 with 42 doubles, 16 homers and 69 RBI in 145 games in 2005. He had 44 walks against 81 strikeouts in 594 at-bats and posted a .345 on-base percentage. The 26-year-old hit .324 with 11 homers against right-handers and .252 with five homers against left-handers.

In Marte, the Indians would get one of the top hitting prospects in the game.

While being among the youngest players in each league he has appeared, Marte has averaged .280, 32 doubles and 20 homers over four full seasons in the minors. The 22-year-old hit .275 with 20 homers and 74 RBI in 109 games at Triple-A Richmond of the International League last season.

In 24 games for Atlanta, Marte hit just .140 with four RBI in 57 at-bats.

Mota, a reliable power pitcher who was acquired from Florida in the Josh Beckett trade in November, was 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA in 56 games in 2005. In seven seasons, he is 22-24 with a 3.61 ERA and seven saves.

Riske, 29, went 3-4 for Cleveland last season, posting a 3.10 ERA in 58 appearances. He struck out 48, while walking just 15 in 72 2/3 innings.

Information from SportsTicker was used in this report.