Coco Crisp sounds as if he’d really like to come back to the Royals next season but, as a free agent, he’s kind of caught in the middle. Surgery on both shoulders last summer makes him a gamble for teams to sign before they can judge his recovery and that might not be possible until January or whenever he can resume full baseball activities. For his part, Crisp says he’s feeling good and expects to be back to normal – maybe even better with his repairs – this season.
Crisp was impressive last spring, changing his approach at the plate to coax more walks and being aggressive on the bases. He looked like an ideal leadoff man and was roaming center field wide and free. A good guy with a terrific family, he was a calm veteran presence in the clubhouse.
Royals GM Dayton Moore was impressed with him but, due to the uncertainty of Crisp’s condition, feels compelled to look at other alternatives such as free agent Scott Podsednik and the Orioles’ Felix Pie. Of course, the Royals already have Mitch Maier in house with considerable potential and Josh Anderson as a backup. Another alternative would be to move David DeJesus back to center field from left and try newcomer Josh Fields in left.
The bottom line consideration, as usual, would be what money Crisp would want to come back. During a long phone conversation, we asked if he’d come up with a price.
“Yeah, yeah, a hundred million dollars per year, obviously,” he said merrily. “That’d be OK with me.”
Coco always comes with a smile.
Ten days after the World Series the Royals have to make decisions on their players with contract options and that includes catcher Miguel Olivo and center fielder Coco Crisp.
It’s a club option on Crisp and it doesn’t take any genius to figure the Royals won’t pick up an $8 million deal on a guy who went through surgeries on both shoulders last season. It’ll cost the club $500,000, of course, to pass. The Royals liked what they saw, even with Coco not at full strength early on, and it’s logical that they might make him a free-agent offer at a much lower base rate with a lot of incentives, depending largely on the amount of playing time, built in. Crisp seemed happy here, too, so that could happen if his medical reports are good later this offseason.
It’s a mutual option on Olivo’s $3.3-million contract and a good guess would be that he’ll become a free agent and take his chances. There are few names on the potential free agent list that jump out in the catching department and general manager Dayton Moore admits: “Olivo sees that, too, and the free agent market could be very lucrative for him.”
Anyway the Royals want to re-cast their whole confusing situation behind the plate. Olivo was supposed to be the regular and he did start 97 games and was Zack Greinke’s very successful batterymate. And he did lead the club with 23 home runs. But there were a lot of pitches getting through and skipping past him. Despite a strong arm Olivo caught just 17 of 73 base-stealers, 19 percent. John Buck started 41 games, his hitting never took off and, despite his other defensive plusses, runners took advantage and swiped 40 bases in 48 tries. There was even an experimental period with Brayan Pena (24 starts) and he seemed a promising hitter but a catcher who needed a crash schooling course before games. So, with such uncertainty, maybe the Royals just need a new start behind the plate. Then again, it’s a skimpy market out there.
— Dick Kaegel
Despite all the tantalizing hints that the Royals could make a deal before the Trade Deadline, predictably nothing happened on Friday.
On the last day, pitcher Brian Bannister became the apparently most delectable item on the Royals’ menu. He was pursued by the Brewers (according to Fox Sports), the Marlins (South Florida Sun-Sentienl) and the Yankees (ESPN.com). If anything of that was true, obviously nobody came up with a good enough proposal. For the Royals to trade Bannister, who has just developed into a very reliable Major League pitcher, would be weakening the one big strength of the club — starting pitching.
The one move before the deadline was the purchase of center fielder Josh Anderson from the Tigers. That should help restore some of the speed and defense the Royals lost when Coco Crisp went out for the season.
Now comes the period where players can be traded only after clearing waivers. One possibility there is left-hander Ron Mahay. He’s almost sure to clear waivers and he’s a versatile veteran who’s been under-used by the Royals. At 38, he can still pitch and could be useful for a contender needing a lefty down the stretch. The acquiring club, though, would have to pick up what remains of his $4 million salary..
— Dick Kaegel
Royals center fielder Coco Crisp will undergo right shoulder surgery on Wednesday and will miss the rest of the season, manager Trey Hillman said on Tuesday.
Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery to repair a labrum tear at Birmingham, Ala.
“So he’s out for the season and, obviously, that’s not what we were looking for but it’s something that needs to be done,” Hillman said. “They don’t know exactly what they’re going to have to do until they get in there but they’ve got a pretty good idea.”
Crisp was hampered swinging, particularly from the left side, and was hitting just .228 in 49 games. As the leadoff batter, though, he drew 29 walks and had a healthy on-base percentage of .336 along with 13 stolen bases.
He’s been replaced in center field recently by Mitch Maier although Willie Bloomquist could see action there as well.
Crisp is expected to spend at least two or three days in Birmingham after the surgery and then his program will depend on the exact nature of the procedure, Hillman said.
Center fielder Coco Crisp’s continuing battle with a sore right shoulder finally put him on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday.
The Royals placed Crisp on the list retroactive to Saturday because of a right rotator cuff strain. His spot on the roster was taken by infielder Tug Hulett, recalled from Triple-A Omaha.
Crisp has been in and out of the lineup since May 26 when he was removed during a game because of shoulder soreness. It has been particularly affecting his swing from the left side of the plate and his ability to throw.
Manager Trey Hillman was hoping the shoulder would heal during a six-game hiatus during which Crisp missed four games because of the shoulder and two more to attend his great grandmother’s funeral. Since rejoining the team at Tampa Bay on June 4, he has played in five of nine games.
Crisp is batting .228 but had proven especially adapt at drawing bases on balls; he has 29 walks for a .336 on-base percentage. Batting in the leadoff spot in 47 of his 49 games, Crisp was leading the Royals with 30 runs scored and 13 stolen bases with five triples.
This is Hulett’s second stint with the Royals. He with with them for 10 days, May 24-June 4, and went 0-for-4.
Give Coco Crisp credit. When he was picked off first base in the first inning Thursday by White Sox lefty Clayton Richard, he didn’t just quit. It was just a Spring Training game and he’s not a rookie trying to impress people.
Yet Crisp dodged and twisted and avoided the first baseman’s tag, getting back safely to first base. That kind of effort is just what any team needs.
Crisp got on base with a single and also walked twice, giving him nine strolls in just 33 plate appearances. That’s also a very good sign. His on-base percentage is well above .500.
John Gibbons, the Royals’ bench coach, had a lot of chances to see Crisp the last three seasons over in the AL East. He was the Blue Jays’ manager while Coco stirred things for the Red Sox.
“He’s one of those guys. He makes things happen, he sets the table,” Gibbons said. “That’s one of the reasons they were so good in Boston. He and a few other guys on the team — that’s what they did and that’s why they scored so many runs.”
The Royals’ athletic trainers have been almost as lonely as the Maytag repairman. Not much business coming their way. “John Bale is having a little bit of stiffness in his upper back,” manager Trey Hillman told reporters on Monday. “He’s still doing almost all of the activities. No major concern there, he’s just having some soreness and some spasms going on.” Hillman said that was no urgency about Bale because he’s back in the bullpen and doesn’t need to get his arm stretched out as he did last year as a starter….Catcher Matt Tupman, recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, is restricted in his throwing so far.
Just in case you were wondering, there are 15 players on the Royals’ 40-man roster who are out of Minor League options: Bale, John Buck, Alberto Callaspo, Shane Costa, Esteban German, Ross Gload, Jimmy Gobble, Jose Guillen, Ron Mahay, Gil Meche, Brayan Pena, Tony Pena Jr., Ryan Shealy, Robinson Tejeda and Doug Waechter. The other 25 guys have options remaining.
First baseman Mike Jacobs has his salary arbitration hearing set for Wednesday in the Phoenix area. He’s asking for $3.8 million and the Royals have offered $2.75 million. Middle ground is $3.275 million. No indication if a settlement is near or if they’ll go before the arbitrators….There’s a splashy new adornment to the Royals’ batting cages at camp. Overhead are art images of the 16 players in the Royals Hall of Fame, in alphabetical order from Brett to Wilson….Hillman left camp early on Monday to do his civic duty and participate in a charity golf tournament….If you haven’t noticed, outfielder Coco Crisp will be wearing uniform No. 2 and infielder Willie Bloomquist will be wearing No. 8. They agreed to switch digits during last month’s Royals FanFest. Crisp was No. 10 previously with the Red Sox and Indians; Bloomquist wore No. 16 with the Mariners. The Royals’ No. 10 is, of course, retired in honor of Dick Howser. And Billy Butler is wearing No. 16.
— Dick Kaegel