Looking to bring in a leadoff hitter and upgrade their outfield defense last offseason, the Royals killed two birds with one stone when they swapped reliever Ramon Ramirez for Coco Crisp in November. After hitting just .228/.336/.378 with 13 steals in 215 plate appearances, Crisp's season came to an end in June after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
In his place, 27-yr old Mitch Maier has done most of the heavy lifting in center. Even though his .251/.334/.365 overall line isn't pretty, Maier has hit an impressive .297/.387/.432 since July 29th. He can't match Coco's studly +15.5 UZR/150, but Maier's defense is solid with a +1.0 UZR/150.
Kansas City holds an $8MM option for Crisp's services next year, or they could opt to buy him out for $500K instead. Maier will bring home just over $400K this year, and he still has five more years of team control left. So tonight's question seems pretty straight forward – what should the Royals do with Crisp? Should they cut bait and use all the money they'd save elsewhere, or should they keep him and try to contend in a winnable AL Central?