After the addition of Chris Young heading into the 2013 season, and questions as to which infielders could fill the voids left by Brandon Inge and Stephen Drew, the Oakland A’s outfield seemed to be their strong point. But with Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes’ declines this season, Coco Crisp’s injuries and Young’s inability to adjust to the platoon role, the outfield has been a cause for concern.
Crisp has been the backbone to the A’s for years. The team signed Crisp in 2010 and re-signed him in 2012; the signing gained national attention when Crisp proclaimed that the Oakland A’s were better than most thought. Obviously, one AL West championship later, Crisp’s prediction was correct.
Now we come to the 2013 season, and Crisp has only played in 96 of the team’s 122 games. Health has been the speedster’s main concern with the A’s. His most games played in a season with the team came in 2011 when he played 136. Crisp has battled multiple injuries this year and he’s currently battling a wrist issue. Crisp has been a leader for this underdog cast for years, which would make it hard for the team to try not to re-sign the fan favorite, but with the reoccurrences of injuries, Crisp leaves the team with a tough decision to make.
Another benefactor in that decision has to be the outstanding play of outfielder Michael Choice with the A’s Triple-A affiliate Sacramento River Cats. Choice’s stats have gotten better as he’s made his way through the minor league ranks. This season, the 23-year-old is boasting a .303/.390/.451 triple line. He also has 14 home runs and 82 runs batted in through 118 games. It’ll be hard for the A’s to leave Choice off their roster next season with proven talent, although his strikeout rate, like many other young players is pretty high (21.3%).
Choice has played all three outfield positions this season with the Cats, but it’d be safe to say that he’ll see mainly left field with the A’s, especially if the team keeps Cespedes, who would slide to the center-field slot he was paid to play in 2012. Choice is the outfielder of the future for the club and putting him in an outfield with Cespedes and Reddick in 2014 is looking promising, and a lot cheaper, for the A’s.