With the current focus on teams “tanking” seasons, ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required) observes that the Athletics’ run over the last two decades is all the more remarkable since the team has never entirely torn things down to rebuild. Last season was the first time since 1997 that Oakland won fewer than 74 games, and even in the wake of 2015’s disappointment, the A’s still made offseason moves with an eye on returning to contention in 2016. Here’s some more from the Athletics’ camp…
- Chris Coghlan is looking forward to his new role as a super-utility man, the newly-acquired Athletic told reporters (including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). “When I was younger, my ego, I was like, ‘I want to play one position,’ but as you grow, to be able to play different positions really helps the team, so I’ve learned to embrace it….Zo [Ben Zobrist] set the bar. There were people before, but Zo made it sexy and and cool to be the utility guy. Before, it meant you aren’t an everyday guy. Now it’s the cool thing. So mad props to him,” Coghlan said.
- Despite the numerous injuries that have set back his career, Coco Crisp tells CSNBayArea.com’s Joe Stiglich that he has no plans on retiring. “Really, who wants to stop playing? It’s been everybody’s dream for so long.” Crisp said. “I do enjoy my family, my kids, and I want to be there for them. And I also want them to be able to see their father, (when they’re) at an older age, play ball. And experience some of the joys of being a ballplayer’s kid.” Crisp said he would love to keep playing in Oakland past this season, the last guaranteed year on his contract. Crisp has a $13MM vesting option for 2017 based on amassing either 130 games played or 550 plate appearances this year, though either threshold will be hard to achieve given both his injury history and the Athletics’ logjam of outfield/DH options.
- In a piece about young pitchers who are good extension candidates, Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards highlights Sonny Gray’s case for a multi-year deal. Trade rumors have often swirled around Gray since it has been assumed that the A’s can’t afford him once he hits free agency after the 2019 season, and Edwards notes that an extension wouldn’t make sense if Oakland plans on dealing Gray within the next year (the star righty becomes arbitration-eligible next winter). In the short term, however, Edwards argues that a Gray extension helps the Athletics continue to stay competitive and also retains Gray’s trade value. In this case, both the A’s and potential trade suitors would be gaining cost certainty on Gray through his arb years.