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.


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26 Comments on "Crawford And Pena Talk Oakland"


Robert Slye Jr.
5 years 11 days ago

I could see the A’s going after Carl Crawford, but with Daric Barton and Chris Carter covering first base, I just don’t see the A’s going after Pena unless they plan to non-tender Cust (please please pleas!) again to free up the DH role

Dave_Gershman
5 years 11 days ago

I would LOVE to see my A’s get Carl Crawford. With he and Coco roaming left and center respectively, no ball is hitting the ground.

Come on Billy! We want Carl!

5 years 11 days ago

The A’s would be damn good if they got both Crawford and Pena. With the better hitting and their great pitching staff they would be nasty. And yeah the defense would be insane between Crisp and Crawford. If the Rangers can’t bring back Lee in the off-season and the A’s get those two IMO the A’s will win the West.

Dave_Gershman
5 years 11 days ago

Going in to next season I think the A’s have the best rotation in Baseball. I would love to see them get Crawford and yeah, like you said, great race with Texas.

Ferrariman
5 years 11 days ago

“going into the season i think the A’s have the best rotation in baseball”

come on now bro…. Cahill, Braden, Anderson, Mazzero, whoever, is a solid rotation. not the best rotation in baseball….

Dave_Gershman
5 years 11 days ago

A more mature. Gio Gonzalez, Brett Anderson (who I think is one of the top 5 lefties in Baseball), Vin Mazzaro, Trevor Cahill, and Dallas Braden are the best combined 5 in Baseball.

5 years 11 days ago

Post All Star Break (meaning Sheets gone) the A’s have the #1 team ERA at 2.73 with the next best being Atlanta at 2.98. I should also add that when you look at the age of the A’s staff (Cahill 22, Anderson 22, Gio 24, Mazzaro 23, Braden 27) they are crazy young and under team control for quite some time.

alxn
5 years 11 days ago

certainly the most cost efficient rotation in baseball

letsgogiants
5 years 11 days ago

I would love for the Athletics to go after both Crawford and Pena, at least Crawford. While he might not provide the big power bat we’re looking for, he’d provide a high average, a good OBP, speed on the base paths along with steals, and solid defense. He would definitely fit into the pitching and defense strategy the A’s have had going in the past year or so. As for Pena, he would definitely provide some power in the middle of the order batting behind Crawford. Though I wouldn’t sign him to anything more than a two-year deal (maybe even three year deal) given his injury history. I think the A’s have a solid chance to sign either player, but they are going to have to fight off teams like Tampa Bay and New York to get their services (New York probably won’t go after Pena, but you never know.) IF they were to sign both these players, I could foresee this lineup for 2011:CF Coco Crisp/Rajai Davis1B Daric BartonLF Carl CrawfordDH Carlos PenaC Kurt SuzukiRF Ryan Sweeney3B Kevin Kouzmanoff2B Mark EllisSS Cliff PenningtonCoco Crisp’s option would probably be picked up, so I could see both Crisp and Davis splitting time in center or have both Crisp and Davis playing if Sweeney gets injured. Both Carter and Taylor could use more time in the minors, but I could see them contributing half-way through next season barring if they’re red hot in triple A/are filling in in case a key member gets injured.

letsgogiants
5 years 11 days ago

Sorry about the long post!

5 years 11 days ago

That would make Oakland a legitimate contender

zacharydmanprin
5 years 11 days ago

Come on – a little fact checking…you can get the trade information right from Baseball-Reference.com, you guys link players to it.

Pena spent the first few weeks of 2002 with Oakland as their 1B, not the last few. He was traded to Detroit not from Detroit.

There was a best selling book that featured the trade and there’s a movie being made about the book. If Pena had been the 1B for the last 40 games he would have appeared in the playoffs against Boston – the team who he would later sign with.

You would have thought that would ring some bells. But that isn’t what happened.

January 14, 2002: Traded by the Texas Rangers with Mike Venafro to the Oakland Athletics for Jason Hart, Gerald Laird, Ryan Ludwick and Mario Ramos.

July 5, 2002: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Oakland Athletics with a player to be named later and Franklyn German to the Detroit Tigers. The New York Yankees sent Jason Arnold (minors), John-Ford Griffin and Ted Lilly to the Oakland Athletics. The Detroit Tigers sent Jeff Weaver to the New York Yankees. The Detroit Tigers sent cash to the Oakland Athletics. The Oakland Athletics sent Jeremy Bonderman (August 22, 2002) to the Detroit Tigers to complete the trade.

Interesting to look at the names involved and how many of them had or have value. And not a whole lot of value went to the A’s out of these trades or subsequent trades.

As far as the Crawford/Pena signing with the A’s I think that is a huge stretch. Crawford’s athleticism is over-valued and his OBP is roughly a mere 40 points above his batting average. He’s never hit 20 HR in a season and he never would playing his home games in the Coliseum.

Crawford’s OPS+ is 121 which isn’t in the Top 20 of the AL. For a player that might be looking at a $15-18 Million (or more) a year deal that isn’t enough production. While it would be an upgrade over the stiffs the A’s usually run out there $15-$18 Million could get a decent 3B or second tier corner OF. Adrian Beltre, Michael Cuddyer and Austin Kearns could all be had for what Crawford could demand.

InvalidUserID
5 years 11 days ago

Who, other than players who are seeking one-year deals to prove something (see Big Hurt, Piazza, Holliday, Sheets) would want to go to Oakland?

5 years 11 days ago

Because they A’s have a really good young core with their pitchers in which by the way none of their current starters have an ERA above 4. If they brought in some offense with their really good pitching they would be a force. Oh and if you mean Matt Holliday he was traded to Oakland, he didn’t sign with them.

sacu
5 years 11 days ago

While I agree that Sheets had something to prove; my belief is that Thomas and Piazza signed with Oakland for other reasons. Both those guys should be first ballot HOF, therefore they had nothing left to prove.

5 years 11 days ago

Even though I don’t think he’ll end up in Oakland, Crawford will help lead the A’s to the top of the West. This team doesn’t get nearly enough credit. We would still need a power bat though and Pena, if healthy, could be the guy.

5 years 11 days ago

Realism aside that even if the A’s were in the hunt for one or both, someone would very easily outspend them if they felt like it, I salivate at the thought of having one or both of these guys.

At this point, it’s not even about getting value for the money, because Crawford would be overpaid at a clip of $15 M, but just to think what the A’s might be able to do with a couple legit bats in the lineup.

Of course, as much as I like Kouz… non-tender him. I’d rather see a Beltre/Crawford combo instead of a Pena/Crawford combo… you know, if I had my choice. Daric Barton has broken through as a pretty good 1Bman, aside from a lack of power.

Maybe send out Ryan Sweeney for an insurance veteran 5th starter or a combo of bullpen help/bench depth, and suddenly (if those signings happen) it’s a team to think about.

jpshark
5 years 11 days ago

I don’t see the A’s landing either of these guys, and i’m not sure either really fit all that well anyways. Obviously Crawford is a great player and would instantly be the A’s best position player, but committing roughly 1/3 of the payroll for 4-5 years to one player could really come back to bite the A’s in the @$$. It’s just not a smart move for a smaller market team like the A’s IMO. Eric Chavez is a perfect example of how a bad contract can cripple a teams flexibility for years.

I think the A’s will make a serious run at Manny Ramirez. He needs to be with an AL club where he can DH, and he will only cost the A’s a good chunk of money for 1-2 years. Also, he doesn’t seem to be effected by the harsh hitting environment that is the Oakland Coliseum with a career .319/.417/.534 line there. I also expect Beane to add a solid, cost-controlled outfielder via trade. He’s shown he is not afraid to deal young talent to make the team better when he dealt for Holliday (two offseasons too early). While the A’s farm system may not look quite as good as it did the last few seasons, it is still fairly deep with talent and dealing a couple of their better prospects with a couple complimentary pieces should net them a pretty good outfielder. The A’s have the starting pitching, bullpen and defense of a playoff caliber team. Adding two really good bats would put this team right where they need to be to contend in 2011.

5 years 11 days ago

If you think oak has a shot a Crawford you are out of your mind. I’m a diehard a’s fan too

coolstorybro222
5 years 11 days ago

The yankees are getting both so why bother.

Robert_Risteen
5 years 10 days ago

A’s fans thats what some mariner fans like my self were saying when we got figgians so even if u do get crawford dosnt make u will win he could not produce and just take the money i belevie hell go to the yankees or back to tampa, ya tama he get less money but he’ll go some where he nows he can produce every 81 games a year and he is loved down there

RedbirdRuffian
5 years 10 days ago

I could see Crawford going to Oakland, and I’d like to see them trade for Fielder, with those two and the development of Carter, the A’s would solve their terrible offensive problems. Carter has put up huge numbers in the minors, but he needs protection and does not need the pressure at his age of having to carry the team. A’s have a surplus of young arms, and the Brewers would listen since Fielder has got one year before hitting the free agent market.

Steve_Adams
5 years 11 days ago

Mental lapse on my part when thinking of Swisher’s contract status. Sorry about that.

zacharydmanprin
5 years 11 days ago

Which begs the questions – how much is 1 WAR worth? But don’t base it on Sweeney, he’s been playing on bad knees since 2008.

If 1 WAR is worth $2 Million is 5 WAR worth $20 Million?

http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?playerid2=1201&playerid3=1534&playerid4=332&playerid5=639

I’d go with Beltre because it’s easier to find a LF than a 3B.

sacu
5 years 11 days ago

“The Yankees are in such good shape they still could feasibly sign Crawford”

When was the last time the Yankees were in such bad shape they couldn’t feasibly sign anyone they wanted?

sacu
5 years 11 days ago

“I’d go with Beltre…”

I really hope the A’s don’t. How soon we forget. Let’s remember the monster contract year he had while with the Dodgers, here it is: .334/.388/.629/1.017 and then his first year in Seattle, here it is: .255/.303/.413/.716 I think someone owes Seattle a refund. Now his contract year with Boston, here it is: .324/.364/.559/.923 Something tells me he’s coming back to earth next year.

Beltre’s not dumb. He knows his numbers would’ve looked like Kouzmanoff’s had he signed with Oakland before the ’10 season. Now this time around he’ll be one year older coming off a great season, barring a meltdown. We all know he’ll ask, and probably get, much more than he’s worth. No thanks!

Is it wrong for me to think like this?