By Jason Wojciechowski on May 23, 2015 at 4:42 PM
Yesterday, I made some noises about how Andy Parrino would get sent back to Triple-A when Kendall Graveman came up to start today's game against the Rays. That was dumb. I was an idiot. (This isn't news to you.) I knew Coco Crisp was going on the DL. I knew the A's needed a roster spot for Graveman. This is called math: 1 + 1 = Coco Crisp.
Anyway, putting aside my dumbassery, the effect of Crisp's absence on the team is more about not-adding than subtracting. He managed two weeks' worth of games before heading back to the DL, and he didn't hit at all (.044/.173/.067), so returning to a Fuld/Gentry - Burns - Reddick outfield is, mentally, more of a return to the new normal than it is a "what will the A's do now?!" That's not to say it doesn't hurt the team, because a healthy Crisp is better than Cram Fultry, and it would be a nice luxury to have Saig Genuld, capable of playing all three outfield spots and occasionally doing something halfway positive at the plate, in a reserve role.
One hopes we're not looking at the end of Crisp's career. Word is he's not having surgery on his neck because to do so would mean the end of his career, so he'll instead rehab and rest and muddle through the best he can. It's been a fun ride with the A's, a late-career semi-renaissance during which he's generally played good defense in center field (+28 Total Zone runs from 2010 to 2013 before falling off the face of the earth in 2014; +15 FRAA over the same period) and hit well enough to make that defense something of a luxury (105 OPS+ from 2010 to 2014) while running the bases with controlled abandon (160 steals to 26 caught; +17 Baserunning Runs by Baseball Prospectus), all while a "3" was the first digit of his age. Sure, he hasn't been healthy (118 games played per year, with a high of 136), but the A's knew that going in -- it's why they initially got him for less than $11 million over two years and the re-signed him for three more years at rates that undersold his per-inning talent.
Now, in the first year of what seems likely to be a two-year extension (he'll need 550 PA or 130 games played in 2016 to vest the 2017 option; after this season, he'll have reached those figures twice in six years and just five times over his full career), the injuries may have caught up and pushed his total contributions to the point where you rue the money and roster spot committed to him.
Hopefully this is overreaction borne from sadness at seeing him headed back to the disabled list so soon after he got to the team in the first place, but it's where the mind tends to go when examining the arc of Crisp's career.