Did Oakland Just Spend $14 Million on Coco Crisp?

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Cuckoo For Coco: The A's have reportedly signed Coco Crisp to a two-year deal worth $14 million (Photo Credit: AP)

According to recent report on the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s are going to retain their outfielder Coco Crisp for two more seasons with a two-year deal worth $14 million. The deal, while not official, includes an option for 2014 worth $7.5 million with a $1 million buyout.

That’s a lot of money for the penny-pinching A’s, especially given their current goal of going younger and cheaper in 2012. This Crisp signing definitely goes against everything we’ve read in Moneyball.

Crisp returns as Oakland’s starting center-fielder, most likely, and it only cost the A’s a guaranteed $14 million. Oh, and if the A’s do end up trading Crisp at this year’s trade deadline like many believe could happen given the team’s lack of big-league talent, it’ll end up costing them financially.

According to Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle, the A’s must pay Crisp an additional $250,000 if they decide to trade him. Given the team’s less than stellar expectations heading into this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if the team decides to flip Crisp at the deadline for a few prospects.

This latest deal by Billy Beane and Company doesn’t make me entirely happy, especially since the team dished out $14 million to Crisp while letting Josh Willingham walk all the way to Minnesota. Willingham, as you probably remember, led Oakland in home runs (29) and RBIs (98) in 2011 before signing a three-year deal worth $21 million with the Twins.

Willingham provided Oakland with much needed power and was the team’s only true threat on offense.

Crisp, meanwhile, brings a totally different skill set to the table. He co-led the American League in stolen bases with 49, while batting .264/.314/.379 with 8 home runs and 54 RBIs in 136 games last year.

He’s a quick guy that pairs up well with fellow speedster Jemile Weeks atop Oakland’s lineup, but spending $14 million on Crisp may be a little much. As Buster Olney of ESPN the Magazine points out, though, this recent spending “spree” could be explained by MLB’s invisible salary floor line.

The A’s, had they not signed Crisp, probably would’ve heard the rumblings from MLB and the union. Before this recent “investment,” the A’s payroll was well below the $67 million it was at the start of the 2011 season.

Judging from the rumblings around the blogosphere, though, not too many A’s fans are overwhelmed by this deal. A lot of fans, including myself, probably would’ve liked to see Oakland at least make an attempt to resign Willingham.

Instead, we get Coco Crisp for two more seasons. Defensively, that’s a good thing. Oakland’s young pitching staff could definitely benefit from having a solid defense behind them, but offensively, Crisp doesn’t overwhelm anyone.

Crisp is definitely a solid player, but I’m not entirely sure the $14 million price tag is totally justifiable. He’s got the hair, that’s for sure, but $14 million?

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Tags: A's Andrew Bailey Coco Crisp David DeJesus Free Agent Signings Gio Gonzalez Jai Miller Jermaine Mitchell Josh Willingham MLB Oakland A's Oakland A's Rumors Oakland Athletics Outfield Ryan Ludwick Ryan Sweeney Trevor Cahill

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