Over the last four seasons only one position player has been a mainstay in the lineup for the A’s on a regular basis. He has become a leader on the team not only by his production, but also by his style of play and his vocalism in the clubhouse. He is a fan favorite amongst all who love the Green and Gold and is instantly recognizable no matter where he goes around the Bay Area. The player described is none other than centerfielder and leadoff hitter Covelli “Coco” Crisp. He has an option for the 2014 season priced at $7.5 million. Recently, GM Billy Beane said the A’s would pick up the option with no questions asked. Questions are beginning to be asked however. They are just in a positive light.
Sep 6, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielderCoco Crisp
(4) high fives teammates in the dugout against the Houston Astros during the fourth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
It was reported today by San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser that Crisp’s agent Steve Comte has talked to the A’s about possibly extending Crisp and keeping him in Oakland beyond next season. Certainly the A’s are looking into extending Crisp. Are there any reasons not to look at an extension for him? Here are some reasons against and for a Crisp extension.
Against: Crisp has not played more than 140 games in a season since 2007 when he was playing for the Boston Red Sox. His average has slumped since joining Oakland in 2010 from the mid-.270’s to the low .260’s (.261 AVG this season). He had only 21 stolen bases this year, a stark comparison from his 39 last season, and 49 in 2011. He is 33 years old (turning 34 tomorrow) so an extension that is pricey may not be the right call for the A’s who are well known to be frugal especially with aging free agents.
For: Crisp has been a source of offense for the A’s in his four years in Oakland. He has been the table setter for a usually feast or famine offense. The spark he creates is contagious, and when he catches fire so does the rest of the team. His importance to the team on the field is very important to their success, but his leadership abilities, especially with the departures of Jonny Gómes and Brandon Inge, has been arguably more important to such a young team who is learning on the go how to play at the highest level while dealing with success. His importance to the fan base that has been through a lot in recent years certainly should not go unnoticed either.
So where does this leave the A’s? It all depends on how much Crisp is looking for. With his option for 2014 being $7.5 million that will be the starting point. His numbers do not point to a Torii Hunter sized contract either. With the departures of Chris Young, Grant Balfour, among others the A’s will have money to spend. This, in my opinion would definitely be a good place to use that money. My prediction? Three year deal worth $30 million. $10 million a year for Crisp would be a bargain for what he brings to the team and the fan base.