Potential Player of Interest: Coco Crisp | The Process Report

Potential Player of Interest: Coco Crisp

Arguably the greatest strength of the Rays roster is its flexibility. Tampa Bay has holes to fill this winter but the Rays have some control over those holes, and can read-and-react based on the talent markets. Take the outfield. The Rays could enter next spring with Brandon Guyer, Ben Francisco, and Sam Fuld, or some combination thereof, vying for the left field spot. Or, the Rays could pursue an outfielder this offseason. The beauty is how the Rays have freedom to acquire either a corner outfielder or center fielder without exposing Desmond Jennings to unfamiliar territory. As such, one potential outfield fit recently popped up on the radar.

Oakland entered the offseason with more outfielders than roster spots. Then Billy Beane acquired Chris Young, giving the A’s six big-league quality outfielders for next season. Beane has since said he does not intend to trade any of his outfielders. Beane also expressed interest in re-signing Jonny Gomes prior to the trade, so the situation is obviously liquid. Young, Josh Reddick, and Yoenis Céspedes seem entrenched, and Collin Cowgill probably wouldn’t net the A’s much in return, leaving Seth Smith and Coco Crisp.

Both Smith and Crisp were mentioned in connection with the Rays last offseason. Rumor had the Rays acquiring Smith and then flipping him to the Reds for catcher Hanigan. Crisp’s stay in St. Pete would’ve been longer, but he shunned the Rays to sign with Oakland for more money and—per Crisp—a better chance to win. The latter reason seemed ludicrous at the time, but time has proved Crisp prophetic. Although Crisp did not sign with the Rays, he did sign a Rays-like contract. He still has one year, worth $7.5 million, remaining along with a club option for the 2014 season worth another $7.5 million—not bad as far as free-agent contracts go.

Crisp’s game relies upon speed, defense, getting on base, and intangibles. He’ll hit for decent, not great averages while walking a decent, not great amount of the time. He doesn’t strike out or hit for a lot of power, either. What Crisp does do is play solid defense in center field and steal bases at a high volume and efficiency. You can make the case that Crisp is the best basestealer in the league over the past three seasons:

Coco Crisp and Other Top Basestealers, 2010-12

Player SB/Year Success%
Michael Bourn 52 80%
Juan Pierre 44 76%
Rajai Davis 43 79%
Coco Crisp 40 88%
Ichiro Suzuki 37 83%
Jose Reyes 36 80%
B.J. Upton 36 80%
Drew Stubbs 33 81%
Angel Pagan 33 81%
Brett Gardner 33 80%

Oakland is said to love Crisp’s intangibles, so it’s possible they choose to hold onto him and move someone else. No matter who the A’s decide to shop, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Rays get involved. Whether the two sides could find a match is another story.

One Comment

  1. Any prognostication on what it might take to acquire him? I doubt Beane has any inclination to do this after nurturing and raising, but I’d love to see Grant Green thrown in here. He’s been on a slow simmer for a while, but looks like he’s earned a shot in the Show this year. He’s another flexible guy that reminds me a bit of Ben Zobrist (latish bloomer, maybe too big for SS, potentially more power than shown, tall and lanky -> May fill out more) without the otherworldly walk rates, of course.

    I wonder how much we would need to add to a package headlined by Wade Davis. It’s also possible that James Shields could be a headliner. Shields is from Cali, would be a perfect fit for that park, and would be a natural replacement for Brandon McCarthy as the older, established guy flanked by young over-achievers. Of course if this is the case I’d want a couple lottery tickets thrown in with Green and Crisp. Just some thoughts.

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