Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp’s problematic right elbow is expected to require surgery to remove a bone spur — an operation that would sideline him for six to eight weeks.
The 35-year-old Crisp had been slated to move from center field to left field this season, as the A’s were set to deploy a platoon of Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry in center. With Crisp out for an extended period of time and right fielder Josh Reddick likely to open on the DL as well (though Reddick isn’t expected to need much time there), the Athletics’ outfield depth will be tested quickly.
Billy Burns was already expected to make the team as a reserve outfielder, and the Crisp injury will likely make it easier for Oakland to carry Rule 5 selection Mark Canha on the 25-man roster (though Canha’s strong spring had already created a compelling case).
Though the team has depth available within its ranks already, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine GM Billy Beane combing the waiver wire or touching base with the agents for outfield options who are released over the coming weeks. Dayan Viciedo, Ryan Ludwick and Nate Schierholtz are all corner outfield options that have been released/opted out of their Minor League contracts recently, and others figure to join their ranks in the coming days as the regular season fast approaches.
The loss of Crisp is a tough blow for the A’s; though Crisp’s offensive output waned somewhat in 2014, he’s been a generally above-average hitter with excellent baserunning contributions over the past three seasons. Dating back to 2012, Crisp is a .256/.332/.410 hitter, which, when accounting for Oakland’s cavernous home park, translates to an OPS+ of 108 — or about eight percent better than the league-average hitter. Crisp is earning $11MM in the first season of a two-year, $22.75MM contract this coming season.