A CUP OF COCO FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON

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     The worst kept secret of the Hot Stove League
became reality today when
Billy Beane
officially announced that the A’s have signed
Coco Crisp (right) –aka, “The Cereal
Man”–for the upcoming 2010 season. 


     For some Oakland
fans, the signing was unexpected and maybe even a bit bewildering.  With
Rajai Davis (below) blossoming into a legitimate center fielder,
leadoff hitter and stolen base threat in 2009, it would seem the A’s would not
be seeking another player with similar attributes.  Whether the merits of this deal will stand on
its own remains to be seen, but anyone who knows Mr. Moneyball would never rule
out that this is only the first step towards a bigger-picture reshaping of the
team that might involve subsequent player moves. 

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That said, let’s just look at what Crisp–stop
laughing, that’s his legal
name!–gives the 2010 A’s.  He gives us
improved speed and defense, and he adds a veteran major league hitter.  Much like
Adam Kennedy gave us last season, Coco
is just a flat-out baseball player.  He
can help a team win games in many different ways, whether it is with his bat,
his glove, his arm or his legs.  So,
while many would have anticipated that the Athletics’ first big move of the
winter would be adding a powerful bat, the addition of Crisp should prompt us
to ask this simple question:  are we a
better team now than before his signing? 
It will be interesting, however, to see how this plays out.  Does Crisp play center field and Davis moves
to left?  Where does the A’s newest
addition hit in the order?  Or, as I
said, does the arrival of Crisp begin the process of subsequent trades or
transactions in the next month or two? 


     What I do know, though, is the A’s continue
their long tradition of featuring players with colorful names.  You would think Coco Crisp immediately makes
our Top 10 All-Name Team in franchise history. 
In the modern era, he’s a shoo-in to join the likes of
Shooty Babitt, Vida Blue, Campy Campaneris, Blue Moon
Odom, Catfish Hunter
and Mudcat Grant in that upper echelon of monikers.


    

However, I’m not sure whether he would crack the
Top 10 names if you include the early years when the Athletics played in Philadelphia.  Check out this Top 10 list of pre-1940
players on our all-time roster: 
Bock Baker (1901), Topsy Hartsel (1902-11), Socks Seibold (1915-17, 1919), Moxie Divis (1916), Ping Bodie (1917), Mule Haas (1928-32, 1938), Bevo LeBourveau (1929), Wedo Martini (1935), Rabbitt Warstler (1934-36) and Skeeter Newsome (1935-39). 


And
with that sterling note, we conclude our blog entries for 2009.  We’re closing the office for the remaining
days of December, and I must say, for our son, Luke, Coca Crisp will only rank
second on the All-Name Team.  The leader
in the Rose Clubhouse is another 2009 free agent.  Goes by the name of
Santa Claus.  I think he
might be another one of those talented Dominican shortstops.  Here’s hoping you enjoy the most precious
gifts of all–your family and friends–as we all celebrate this joyous holiday
season.  Pitchers and catchers report to Phoenix Feb. 20.  See you next year!

2 Comments

Bob,

Your blog has been a breath of fresh air in this winter offseason. Thank you for taking the time to write such fascinating and insightful posts.

Looking forward to hearing from you in 2010!

I wanted to add a comment about the “funny names” section:
Several years ago, I kinda laughed at the Cleveland Indians for having a couple comically named people. Ironically enough, both players have now come through Oakland. Coco Crisp, the new one, which you cited, and then there was Milton Bradley. I laughed when the A’s acquired Bradley, wondering when the A’s would also acquire the Parker Brothers.

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