Marte's ratings as a prospect have fallen each of the past two years, and the Sox needed both a center fielder and a leadoff hitter.
Crisp has similar numbers as Damon and is still at the age that he is expected to improve, which I doubt Damon will- and not every team can afford to grossly overpay each position player. Crisp is a much better value than Damon under his new contract. Damon will decline each year from here on.
Lots of questions on the health of the Sox pitching, but to call their lineup laughable is just plain stupid. They have not downgraded the infield but added gold glove players and solidified the defense at every infield position. Renteria sucked both on defense and in the clutch. Sure, Gonzalez can't hit, but he won't let 30 balls go through his legs. I'll take a 9 hitter with a glove at middle infield any day.
Also, Manny may be a poor outfielder, but his defense in Fenway was well above average last year. He avoided hurting other outfielders!!, led in assists( has a very quick release), and knows the angles. Not any range, but what's needed in fenway??
The Red Sox demise will be pitching. Can't believe Schilling is healthy AND will be dominant, Beckett won't finish the season without a DL trip, Clement and Arroyo have no heart, or stamina for the second half, and it's possible that Wakefield could lead the team in wins again- how crazy is that to happen even once. The bullpen is a mess(no real lefties- Alvarez doesn't count), and I would be surprised if Foulke can get enyone out after last year's disaster- don't quite understand how the injuries mentioned can make a difference to the circle change.