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.
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