MLB Free Agents 2012: Should Cincinnati Reds Pursue Outfielder Coco Crisp?

Diamond NotesCorrespondent IIIDecember 21, 2011

Coco Crisp, Reds OF ?
Coco Crisp, Reds OF ?Nick Laham/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds are in need of an everyday left fielder, and veteran outfielder Coco Crisp is available.

Some Reds fans would like to see Chris Heisey given an opportunity at the position, but his struggles against left-handers really does not merit that.

For his short major league career he bats only .180 against them, though he does have pop in his bat, he's hit 26 career home runs in only 480 at bats.

Alex Eisenberg of Baseball Intellect commented in his 2009 ranking of Heisey, that he has shown improvement in each year he's been with the organization and plays a solid center field, but likely would be a fourth outfielder at the major level.

I agree with that assessment, but his .288 average against right-handers and power potential does create the need to find a way to get his bat into the lineup.

If the Reds are not ready to give Heisey the everyday left field position, they may want to consider Coco Crisp. Crisp is a very good all-around player who would also fill the Reds' need for a leadoff hitter.

Crisp is a career .275 hitter with a .330 on-base percentage. He plays well defensively and has some surprising pop in his bat with very good speed on the base path.

Last season he hit only .264 with the Oakland A's but recorded 49 stolen bases in only 136 games.

I do not know what kind of money Crisp is looking for, but history shows his demands have been reasonable. His largest salary was in 2009 when the Kansas City Royals paid him $6 million. Last season the A's paid him $5.75 million.

So it appears that for a reasonable price, Crisp could be the Reds' answer for left field and lead-off.