Well, I certainly wasn't expecting this:
Coco Crisp is nearing an agreement with the Athletics on a one-year deal in the $5MM range, MLBTR has learned. The deal will include an option for 2011. Crisp had been talking to the Padres as well, and his agent Steve Comte expected a decision before Christmas.
Crisp, 30, tallied only 215 plate appearances with the Royals this year due to shoulder injuries. He had surgery on both shoulders during the summer and plans to be ready for Spring Training.
Given his salary, Crisp figures to be penciled in as the starting center fielder in Oakland. Scott Hairston, Rajai Davis, and Ryan Sweeney would battle for playing time in the other two spots, unless someone is traded.
OK, let's everyone take a deep breath and remember that teams don't acquire players; they acquire contracts, and $5 million for one year of Crisp's services -- if he's healthy, of course -- is not an unreasonable contract.
With that out of the way ... I don't get it. Unless someone is traded, this makes no sense at all for the A's. Sweeney has to play, because he's an outstanding outfielder and a decent enough hitter who's young enough to get better. Rajai Davis isn't as young, and it's far from obvious that he'll ever hit as well again as he did in 2009. But he does seem to be an excellent defensive center fielder. And Scott Hairston is decent enough to play, to say nothing of giant prospect Michael Taylor, just acquired from the Blue Jays.
So, yeah, the A's are collecting outfielders. At 30, Crisp is the oldest of them. I suppose he could open the season in center field, but only if Billy Beane is able to swap Davis or Hairston for someone who can hit home runs. Otherwise, what's the point?