The Oakland Athletics signed Coco Crisp to a two-year extension on Friday, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The center fielder was already under contract for 2014, so the new deal will keep him wearing green and gold through 2016. The extension is worth $22.75 million over two years, per John Hickey of Bay Area News Group, and Slusser reports that it includes a vesting option for 2017.
Crisp has been a valuable part of the Athletics organization for the last four years. The speedy center fielder has posted a 744 OPS (107 OPS+) in Oakland while swiping 141 bases at an astonishing 87 percent clip and manning a premium defensive position. Overall, he's been worth 13.3 bWAR over his four seasons with the A's and hasn't dipped below 2.7 in any of those campaigns. Meanwhile, he's become both a fan favorite and a clubhouse leader due to his aggressive playing style, his wacky hairdos and his fun-loving personality.
The switch-hitter enjoyed a career year at the plate in 2013. Although his .261/.335/.444 line didn't produce his highest OPS, it did result in the best OPS+ mark (119) of his 12 years of play. Crisp also set career highs by blasting 22 home runs, drawing 61 walks and scoring 93 runs, despite the fact that his 21 stolen bases were his lowest total since his injury-shortened 2009 season. Based on that strong performance, the team picked up his 2014 option for $7.5 million.
However, with the 34-year-old Crisp showing no signs of slowing down and a weak center field market next winter, Billy Beane opted to lock up his leadoff hitter now rather than wait. Next year's crop of free agents at the position is led by Brett Gardner, Colby Rasmus, Franklin Gutierrez, Emilio Bonifacio, Chris Young and Grady Sizemore. Gardner and Rasmus will be expensive, Gutierrez and Sizemore are massive injury risks, and Bonifacio and Young are not attractive starting options. Foreseeing this landscape, Beane didn't hesitate to pull the trigger on an extension. The deal makes Crisp the only member of the Athletics with a contract that extends beyond 2015.
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