Crawford And Pena Talk Oakland

With the Athletics hosting Tampa Bay this weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser spoke with both Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena about the possibility of joining the A's next season.

While it's far from qualifying evidence to say that either player is writing Oakland down atop his offseason wish list, it's worth noting that both players had positive things to say about the organization as well. Crawford dodged the question somewhat, though he did praise Oakland's pitching staff:

"The main thing is that I want to see how the season ends and how things work out with this team," Crawford said. "I hope things go well, and if not, I'll have to see what's out there. (Oakland) does have good pitching. I'll weigh a lot of things, but obviously I want to go somewhere where the team can win."

Crawford has been connected to the Yankees frequently, and that's no surprise. The market's top free agents are often linked with the Bronx Bombers, and with good reason; in recent years they've snatched Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett from the free agent market. If the Yankees decide that they prefer fellow free agents Jayson Werth and/or Cliff Lee to Crawford, then Crawford may be looking for work in other markets.

Oakland's pitching would love Crawford's defense, and the ballpark's spacious confines would suit Crawford's speedy skillset quite nicely. Just ask fellow outfielder Coco Crisp, who's enjoying a .304/.366/.530 line in Oakland with eight doubles and three triples in just 136 PAs. If Crisp's option is exercised, the outfield situation could become muddled with Rajai Davis, Ryan Sweeney returning, and Michael Taylor waiting in the wings.

Pena spent 40 games of the 2002 season as the A's first baseman. He tells Slusser that he never rules anything out, and that he enjoys the Oakland area. Pena's strikeouts and walks are both slightly down this season, but he remains a power threat and is still walking in 14.5% of his plate appearances. The A's currently have Daric Barton, Chris Carter, and Jack Cust as 1B/DH candidates (with Carter seeing some OF time).

Again, it's far from conclusive evidence to support that either player will be heading to Oakland following the 2010 campaign, but the A's have over $20MM coming off the books, largely thanks to Ben Sheets and Eric Chavez. Billy Beane will have the money to spend, and the need to add some offense to a club that ranks 26th in both team OPS and runs scored. Keep in mind that the A's have quietly managed a .500 season — they may not be as far from winning as their modest offense suggests.