UPDATE (8:30am on Wednesday, Aug. 31) -- The A's traded Coco Crisp and cash to the Indians for minor league left-handed pitcher Colt Hynes, the team announced.
Coco Crisp became the latest A’s veteran shown the door, as his trade to the Cleveland Indians is expected to be announced Wednesday.
Undoubtedly, this one’s going to hurt for so many Oakland fans. And though it may not ease the sting, understand that this move had to happen.
Crisp’s tenure in green and gold wasn’t going to end happily, which is a shame considering all the memorable moments he’s had wearing the uniform. Things took a turn for the bitter when Crisp spoke out about his lack of playing time two weeks ago, which he saw as the A’s deliberate attempt to keep him from reaching 130 games played, which would have triggered a $13 million vesting option for next season.
Rather than let him dangle awkwardly for the final month-plus of the regular season, the A’s agreed to send him to Cleveland, which looks like a prime World Series contender and could benefit from Crisp’s veteran presence and postseason experience. It also brings the 36-year-old Crisp full circle, as he began his major league career with the Indians back in 2002.
Landing back with a pennant-chasing club has to be a rejuvenating thing for Crisp, who has yet to indicate whether he wants to play beyond this season. He turns 37 in November, and if he doesn’t reach the 130-game mark to trigger the vesting option (which seems a long shot), there’s a $750,000 buyout in his contract that would make him a free agent.
But the move also makes sense from the A’s standpoint, as they’ll at least get something in return — a prospect or two, probably not blue-chippers — for an aging player who obviously wasn’t a part of their plans for 2017.
The unfortunate thing is Crisp has meant enough to the A’s, and to the fan base, that his exit from Oakland should have come under happier terms. True, his nearly seven-year run with the A’s was dented by six trips to the disabled list. In only four of his seven seasons with Oakland did he play as many as 120 games (though in this injury-riddled season for the A’s, he avoided the DL completely).
But, when healthy, he came through in so many clutch situations. There’s been no more exciting moment over the past five years for the A’s than Crisp’s walk-off hit that won Game 4 of the 2012 AL Division Series against Detroit before an ecstatic Coliseum crowd.
In 2013, he hit a career-high 22 homers and scored a career-best 93 runs, sending a shot of adrenaline through the A’s batting order with both his power and speed. So many times did manager Bob Melvin say, “As Coco goes, we go,” that it began to sound cliche. Except there was so much truth to it.
Even this season, while hitting just .234 with an on-base percentage of .299, Crisp leaves the A’s with a .424 average with runners in scoring position that’s tops in the majors.
This season already had seen the A’s trade a big fan favorite in Josh Reddick. File Crisp’s soon-to-be-announced trade under the same category.
A’s fans may still get to see him author another big October moment. It’ll just be in the wrong uniform.