Coco Crisp, Anyone?

Ezra Shaw

Could we see this beautiful head of hair manning center field in Cincinnati next year?

We still don't know who will represent Senior Circuit in the World Series yet, but the Hot Stove season got going this afternoon as the A's, D'Backs and Marlins made a three-team, four-player deal. The Marlins sent Heath Bell and cash to Arizona, Arizona sent center fielder Chris Young to Oakland, and Oakland sent middle infielder Cliff Pennington to Arizona and SS prospect Yordy Cabrera to Miami. Got it? Good.

So what does this have to do with the Reds, you ask. Well, two things: first, this probably means Gerardo Parra is staying in Arizona, and second, Oakland's crowded outfield just got... uh, crowded-er. With Young now in the fold, they have one too many center fielders on their roster (two if you actually consider Yoenis Cespedes a center fielder), and Coco Crisp is likely to be on the trading block this winter.

Crisp would solve a number of problems the Reds face, most importantly, the man can get on base. His OBP in 2012 was .325 (compared to Stubbs' .277), but that number was dragged down by a terrible start to the season. After being fairly awful in April and May, Coco got his groove back in June, and his second half OBP was a robust .349. The acquisition of Crisp would immediately solve the leadoff conundrum that has confounded this team since before Dusty arrived, Brandon Phillips could drop to the two-spot, and Cozart could drop to 7th or 8th in the order. Can you imagine people on base in front of Joey Votto? All those doubles actually driving in runs! That sure would be something. Hoo, boy.

Crisp is 32 years old, so there is some risk of age related regression. But he still appears to have something left in the tank, as he swiped 39 bags last season and 49 in 2011. His defense in center is average at best, and his arm is suspect, to put it politely. But there is also a chance that a move from a cavernous park in the AL to Homer Bailey's favorite little league park could provide an offensive boost.

Crisp is under contract through 2013 for $7 million, and a $7.5 million option for 2014. So, it fits in with the presumed Billy Hamilton in CF for 2014 plan. This also gives the Reds the ability to try and move Stubbs to a team with a big center field that thinks a change of scenery can help him. Or if that doesn't work, platoon Stubbs, using him only against left-handed pitching as well as using him as an LIDR and pinch runner. Which, personally, I think might be the best idea.

This doesn't cover the left field problem, and the $7 million owed to Crisp next year would likely prevent a splashy free agent signing for left, unless Billy Beane wants to fork over some money for a better prospect haul. But this does seem like something that Walt would be willing to do, as Crisp has that former Cardinal sheen that Jocketty seems to love so much, and something that makes a lot of sense for the team in 2013.

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