KC Royals AL Central Division rival Cleveland Indians acquired outfielder Coco Crisp, plus cash, from the Oakland A’s on Wednesday. In return, the Indians sent minor-league lefty pitcher Colt Hynes to Oakland.
Thus, Crisp isn’t a guy that the Indians expect to play for them in the playoffs. He’s just outfield depth that can fill a part-time role for the September push to hold off the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals in the AL Central.
The 36-year-old Crisp was slashing .234/.299/.399 for the A’s in 393 at bats. He had been benched in Oakland, perhaps to avoid allowing him to accumulate enough playing time for his 2017 option to vest.
While he’s played centerfield in the past, Crisp is not a guy you want to run out there every day. But, he can fill all three outfield positions in a pinch. Crisp is also a switch hitter, so can be a useful bench player.
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Coco Crisp‘s trade to Cleveland is something of a homecoming, Crisp joined the Indians organization after the Cardinals dealt him to Cleveland as a prospect. He made his major-league debut with the Indians in 2002 at age 22, and left after Cleveland dealt him to the Boston Red Sox before the 2006 season.
Crisp has also played for the KC Royals (one season in 2009) and Oakland (seven seasons). Kansas City acquired Crisp from the Red Sox for Ramon Ramirez. KC intended him to be their leadoff hitter in general manager Dayton Moore’s ill-fated attempt to contend in 2009. He suffered an injury early in the season and was lost for the year.
Crisp has been a good, not great, outfielder in a 15-year career in which he’s slashed .266/.327/.402. Once known for his speed and defense in centerfield, he’s slowed in recent seasons.
Coco Crisp vs. Daniel Nava
In many ways, he will fill the same role in Cleveland that recent acquisition Daniel Nava will for the Kansas City Royals. However, Crisp has performed better in 2016 compared to Nava’s .235/.309/.303.—though Nava has been tearing up AAA to the tune of .333/.390/.427.
Crisp can also play all three outfield positions, while Nava is clearly a corner outfielder. Of course, Kansas City has a wealth of centerfielders on the roster with Lorenzo Cain, Paulo Orlando, and Jarrod Dyson. Though both are switch hitters, Nava is a stronger lefty bat hitting righties for a .768 OPS as opposed to .738 for Crisp.
Especially with the A’s picking up the rest of Crisp’s contract, I’m surprised that Royals general manager Dayton Moore didn’t go for him instead of Nava. Crisp has the better recent track record. I suppose that KC Royals scouts must have liked what they’ve seen of Nava at AAA.
Or, perhaps, the Royals and A’s just couldn’t agree on compensation. In the end, it probably doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. But, it seems that the Indians acquired a slightly better switch hitting outfielder than the KC Royals in Crisp over Daniel Nava.