The 7th season with the Oakland Athletics and 15th overall in Baseball might be the last for Coco Crisp, who thinks the A’s are trying to avoid his option from vesting for the 2017 season by bringing down his playing time and keeping him on the bench.
Crisp has one more season on his deal, with a $13 million vesting option. For the option to kick in, he needs 130 games in the 2016 season. Right now, he has 93, with 43 games remaining, which means he’ll need to miss six or less in order for the option to kick in. If it doesn’t, the A’s buy him out for $750,000, and he’s a free agent. He hasn’t played since August 13, and in his opinion this has nothing to do with his ability or younger player development (Crisp is 36), but simply avoiding the option.
Crisp says he’s extremely hurt by the team and thinks it’s kind of shady how the whole situation is being handled. According to the A’s, with GM David Forst and manager Bob Melvin commenting, it’s all about sitting Crisp against lefties, while allowing younger players more exposure and experience. Crisp thinks it’s BS, as he’s not even being used off the bench.
I’m healthy, I’m playing hard and this has surprised me. This calls their integrity into question, it’s very sad. The business side sure makes it hard to love the game, and I’ve loved the game since I was six years old.
Crisp has been with the A’s since 2010, following years with the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, including winning a world series. He’s bounced back from his awful 2015 season, in which he played just 44 games, although it’s still below his usual standards. He’s batting .239, slugging .410 and has an OPS of .717, with 10 home runs through 396 plate appearances. The A’s now probably regret picking up his three-year option, which paid him $11 million in 2015 and 2016 each, and brought up the vestion option situation.
While this may be a less than honest way of showing a player he’s unwanted, it’s hard to blame the A’s for trying to avoid paying a lot for a player who is well beyond his prime, and might not have much of a future in baseball after this season.