The conclusion of the World Series signals the beginning of baseball’s offseason, and the A’s face several decisions between now and Monday night.
They have until 8:59 p.m. on Monday to exercise or decline four club options they hold on players. They’ve already indicated they’re likely to pick up a $7.5 million option on center fielder Coco Crisp and an $8 million option on left-hander Brett Anderson. The general assumption is they will pass on outfielder Chris Young’s $11 million option and catcher Kurt Suzuki’s $8.5 million option.
If Crisp gets his wish, he’ll eventually get a deal that keeps him in Oakland beyond next year. After the A’s were eliminated from the postseason, Crisp expressed his desire to sign a multi-year contract with the club.
A published report said that Crisp’s agent, Steve Comte, has floated the idea by the A’s. But in an interview Thursday, Comte told CSN California that “nothing of any substance” has been discussed with the A’s in regard to a multi-year contract.
“It’s obvious we talked about the (option),” Comte said. “That’s the extent of it as of today.”
Crisp, the switch-hitting center fielder who has spent the past four seasons with the A’s, hit .261 this season with a career-high 22 home runs and 66 RBI to go along with 21 stolen bases. He became the A’s first “20-20” player since Ruben Sierra in 1993, and he’s an effective catalyst from the leadoff spot.
He turns 34 on Friday.
“I’ve always stated my comfort here,” Crisp said after Detroit eliminated the A’s from the American League Division Series. “It’d be nice if they enhanced the years in (a contract) and kept me here for a while. The ball’s in their court. I enjoy playing here.”
As expected, closer Grant Balfour and starting pitcher Bartolo Colon filed for free agency Thursday, the first day players could do so. Of the two, Colon seems much more likely to return. But the A’s five-day window of exclusive negotiating rights with Colon ends Monday at 8:59 p.m. After that, he’s free to sign with any team and that could make it harder for the A’s to retain him.
By 2 p.m. Monday, Oakland must decide whether to extend Colon a one-year $14.1 million qualifying offer. It’s questionable whether the A’s are willing to pay such money to the right-hander, who will turn 41 in May, but extending the offer would guarantee they receive draft-pick compensation should he sign elsewhere.
Colon would have until Nov. 11 to accept or decline such an offer.
Balfour, who has notched 62 saves over the past two seasons, figures to enter a crowded free agent market for closers that includes Joaquin Benoit, Edward Mujica, Joe Nathan, Fernando Rodney, Brian Wilson and Chris Perez, who was released by Cleveland on Thursday.