The Oakland A's season is over, but they can't hang their heads down for long because now is the time to get started on improving this team.
General manager Billy Beane has done a good job in finding the pieces to make this team competitive the last two years. He has usually had to find those pieces by trading his best players for MLB-ready prospects who fly under the radar.
This year, Beane has a very easy, yet important, decision to make. Beane doesn't need to make a trade. All he has to do is exercise a club-option on one of his best players.
Coco Crisp has established himself as the A's lead-off hitter and is among the best center fielders in baseball, as it seems there is never a ball that he doesn't have a chance to catch. Crisp had his first season in the 20-20 club (20 home runs and 20 stolen bases) this year, indicating he is not slowing down despite being 33 years old.
Crisp not only gets it done on the field, but he is also the leader of the locker room in Oakland.
Before the A's began their amazing 2012 season, Crisp was a free agent who decided to return to the team saying, "I’ve had a lot of fun there, and I’m happy to be there again. We have a lot of kids with a lot of potential, and underdogs can shock some people. I’m excited to be a part of it.” Crisp explained this to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The A's are in danger of losing their enraged closing pitcher, Grant Balfour, because he is now a free agent coming off a 38 save season and All-Star appearance. Beane also has to make a decision on the oft-injured Brett Anderson and his contract option for 2014.
Fortunately for the A's, Crisp has a club option worth $7.5 million, and it should take no consideration at all by the front office to exercise that option. It also is fortunate for the A's that Crisp has intentions of sticking around in Oakland for a while and is seeking a contract extension.
“I’ve always stated my comfort here. It’d be nice if they enhanced the years in (a contract) and kept me here for a while. The ball’s in their court. I enjoy playing here.” Those were Crisp's words following the Game 5 loss, courtesy of Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com.
Beane not only must exercise Crisps' option, but if Beane can also get Crisp signed to a contract extension, that could be the best news to come from Oakland this offseason.