The A’s are reportedly on the verge of re-signing free agent outfielder Coco Crisp to a 2-year contract worth $13 million, with a one-year club option that could pay Crisp an additional $7.5 million or net him a $1 million buyout. The A’s also dealt outfielder Jai Miller, who spent most of the 2011 season at Triple-A Sacramento, to the Orioles for cash.
The A’s presumably wanted to have an experienced center fielder who can provide a solid line of defense in the outfield for a very young and inexperienced pitching staff, and didn’t feel comfortable putting their confidence in new A’s outfielders Collin Cowgill or Josh Reddick in center. Additionally, former A’s pitcher and CSN analyst Greg Cadaret tweeted that he thought the A’s needed to have a few veterans to provide a professional example for the younger players, noting that, “Peers have more effect than coaching staff.”
Crisp is expected to bat second behind Jemile Weeks in the A’s lineup, with the #3 and #4 holes still big question marks. With Crisp back in the fold, expect new A’s acquisitions Josh Reddick and Collin Cowgill to end up flanking Crisp in the outfield, with Reddick in right and Cowgill in left. A’s brass has told Reddick to be ready to play every day. And A’s GM Billy Beane has had his eye on Cowgill for a long time, and has said that he’d like to see A’s outfield prospect Michael Taylor show a little more consistency at the Triple-A level. So with Cowgill and Reddick seemingly favorites for starting roles, that could put Taylor in line for the fourth outfielder spot on the A’s bench.
Given Beane’s recent quotes and that, the way things are currently shaping up, the A’s could potentially end up with an all right-handed hitting bench, they’d be likely to want to give the fourth outfielder spot to one of the left-handed hitting non-roster invitees who’ll be competing for a major league spot this spring – most likely Jeff Fiorentino or Brandon Moss. That would leave the A’s with a Triple-A outfield comprised of Taylor, Cedric Hunter and Jason Pridie, along with either Moss or Fiorentino, battling for playing time at Sacramento in 2012.
Click players’ names below for their minor league stats: