So after blogging about all the rumors and failed physicals and three-team possibilities, I’m late getting the actual story up. I apologize. I was busy and I figured you all knew anyway.

If you missed it, here. Tribe gets Andy Marte, Guillermo Mota, Kelly Shoppach and Jason Michaels, gives Coco Crisp, David Riske, Josh Bard and Arthur Rhodes (in separate deals, of course). I still wish they could’ve hung on to Rhodes somehow, but at least it’s done.

The hardest part is losing Coco, of course. Still, it amazes me how many fans out there refuse to look at this objectively. Coco is a good player. In fact, a friend of mine said the other day that he was an “average ballplayer.” That’s selling the guy short. He’s a 20/20 threat and a doubles machine who plays solid defensively. Coco Crisp is no superstar, but he is a good player.

But the thing is, Andy Marte has the chance to be a great player. No matter how long he stays and how much money you pay him, Coco will not be a great player. Said Shapiro of his newest acquisition:

In Andy Marte, we are acquiring a right-handed power hitter who is also a good defensive third baseman. Not only is third base a position of need in our organization, but it is one of the more difficult positions to acquire a player of Andy’s caliber and skill set via trade or free agency.

I couldn’t agree more. This is a fantastic move by Shapiro, because while Jason Michaels isn’t as dynamic as Coco, he’ll certainly be a useful player. He can play all three outfield positions, he hit .304 last year and he gets on base. Compare Crisp’s OB% the last two years — .344 and .345 — to Michaels’ — .364 and .399 — and you’ll see why Michaels is a prime candidate to bat second. Crisp to Michaels is a step down, for sure, but not as steep of a step as the casual fan may think.

And, folks, Guillermo Mota ain’t no slouch. Sure, we’re all now worried about his health but he passed his Boston physical a couple months ago and, rumor has it, he didn’t even fail his physical with the Tribe. Instead, they were “concerned” with the results of some of the tests. Let’s assume we get 50 innings from him, though Shapiro and Wedge would prefer 70. Well, for those 50 innings you’ve got your Bob Howry replacement, a power arm in the ninth who can also spell Wickman when the big guy needs a breather. Oh no, Mota wasn’t just a throw-in. Shapiro wanted him.

But the real gem here is Marte. Look, you don’t get a chance on a kid like this very often. Yes, the people who are saying that he may not even pan out are absolutely right. But you know what? Sometimes, the risk is worth it. If Marte does develop the way so many people believe he will, then you’ve got one of the premier third basemen in the game for the next eight or 10 years. You’ve got to roll the dice on talent like that.

Shapiro’s done this before, and while everyone keeps churning out the Brandon Phillips comparison, don’t conveniently forget about Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Cliff Lee and Coco Crisp. Shapiro traded veterans for these guys and look how those deals turned out. It’s time to have some faith in this guy. He knows what he’s doing.

Five years from now, this will be remembered as the Andy Marte trade, not the Coco Crisp trade.

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