Will Coco Crisp be Sweet and Fulfilling for Oakland this Season?

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The Oakland Athletics entered June in the thick of the AL West race. But as the month winds down they now find themselves free-falling out of contention. The A’s lost for the tenth time in 12 games Wednesday night, and fell to a season-low six games under .500. They now trail the first-place Texas Rangers by 10 1/2 games. Maybe they can get a boost from their recently activated outfielder, the one with the best name in baseball?

By Paul M. Banks

Tuesday night, center fielder Coco Crisp came off the disabled list to club a two-run home run that provided the A’s only offense in a 4-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. On Wednesday he went 1-4, but made an error, in yet another loss, this time 3-0 to the same Reds.

Crisp has returned to Oakland earlier than expected. He was six games into his 10 day rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento (strained rib-cage muscle) when the Athletics scrapped the original plan and brought him up.

Geren chuckled last week with the media about Crisp’s rehab assignment possibly being altered. “That’s the plan, around ten games. We’ll see how everything goes, before we talk about altering it, maybe I shouldn’t have brought that up,” Geren said playfully last Wednesday.

Crisp missed the first 42 games with a fractured left pinkie. He came back for two against the Giants in the Bay Area series May 21-22, but then missed the next 28 contests.

It will be interesting to see how the depth chart plays out with both Crisp and Rajai Davis in the mix. “He’s always in the mix, he’s a good player,” manager Bob Geren said of Davis.

“It’s a situation where you have a lot of good players playing the same position, a luxury we haven’t had before,” Geren said.

During his seven full Major League seasons, Crisp has hit above .270 in three of them, and stole at least 20 bases in four of them. Davis had a breakout season last year, hitting .305 and driving in 48 runs in just under 400 at bats. This year, he’s hitting .271 with a OBP of .313. Perhaps Crisp will be dealt so Davis can keep his job? Maybe Crisp’s 2010 production will actually occur in another uniform?

Fox Sports personality (and enemy to sports bloggers) Ken Rosenthal recently reported that Crisp could be dealt away from Oakland but the A’s “will need to be motivated to move” the veteran outfielder.

According to a MLB Trade Rumors.com: Rosenthal argues that Crisp’s $5.75MM option for next season fits into the club’s budget, but Crisp has battled injuries for the last two seasons and has just a .719 OPS since 2006.  If the A’s can’t move him at the deadline, it seems more likely that Crisp would be bought out for $500K.

Written by Paul M. Banks, President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

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