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White Sox Interested in Coco Crisp

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Mario Scalise

The Tribune's Mark Gonzales is reporting that the White Sox have expressed interest in free agent outfielder Coco Crisp, according to Crisp's agent, Steve Compt.

 

This would be a standard buy-low move. Crisp was hurt and mostly ineffective last season, but with only outfielder that's signed (not Pods), is a starter (not Kotsay), and doesn't have a history of injuries (not Quentin), the Sox can use all the depth they can get.

 

If signed, Crisp would fall in a similar category of Mark Teahen. He'll be on the roster, will get playing time, but the capacity of it would depend on how the rest of the off-season pans out.

 

At the very least, when healthy, Crisp has established himself as a solid offensive player with good defensive tools that can hit from both sides of the plate and steal you 15-20 bases a year. If the White Sox are in their current state two months from now and Crisp is signed ... it's a desperation signing. This early though, it's a good starting point, and would provide Ken Williams with a lot of flexibility.

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24 Comments

Jason Gage said:

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I used to like Crisp, but I'm not sure I'd be a big fan of this move, but ultimately, as you mentioned Mario, it depends on what Kenny does between signing Crisp and the end of the off-season.

If Crisp is our 4th outfielder (along with Kotsay), its a pretty damn good move. Coco is a plus defensive outfielder who can handle CF and spell Rios in the case of an injury.

Offensively, when he's healthy, he's a bit better than Pods and is and all around more versatile player than Scotty.

If the Sox are looking at Crisp as the starter and leadoff hitter, I really can't support the idea. Crisp hasn't had an above average offensive season in years and asking him to be your leadoff hitter or top of the order threat would be as massive of a mistake as the Sox asking Wise to lead-off to open the 2009 season.

So in short...if the Sox sign him to a 1yr 1-2M a year deal to be our backup outfielder and insurance option, fantastic. If it is to be a starter, no thanks.

I should also point out the Sox claimed DeAza off of waivers from Florida, who also fits the role of a 4th/5th outfielder and would be cheaper, albeit less proven than Crisp.

JimH. said:

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Jason,

I'm surprised you have so little faith in Crisp as a starting OF. The guy is a proven above average major leaguer. It'd be nowhere near the debacle of Wise leading off. Crisp is good defensively albeit with a weak arm but he will be motivated after a frustrating year last year in KC. Further he is a perfect fit in CF and they would move Rios to RF. If Crisp isn't healthy, Rios slides to CF and Kotsay can play some RF.

This would be a prototypical White Sox acquisition and I'm in favor. Crisp has almost always been healthy with the exception of 2009 and very frankly he'd be about as good a leadoff option as anyone available, given the White Sox' circumstances.

Also, Crisp's agent talks about "fit". It's a perfect fit here with the White Sox and everyone concerned (KW/Crisp/agent) knows it. I bet the Cubs will be all over this too but I highly doubt Crisp would pick the Cubs over the White Sox.

As for DeAza, he is or will be the primary backup OF, with Kotsay filling in on the corners from time to time. Remember Guillen again emphasized rotating the DH spot. Kotsay is key in this regard.

Signing Crisp would be an excellent move.

Jason Gage said:

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Jim, I just don't see why Crisp makes sense as a leadoff hitter or starting outfielder. Defensively, he's a starting caliber centerfielder, but my problem lies with the Sox needs.

The Sox and Ken Williams have preached how they want to pick up guys that get on base and Coco Crisp has not shown anything in his past that he's a guy that will do that (career .331 OBP).

Factor in that he's getting older and the move just doesn't make a whole lot of sense and given the 2009 season he's coming off of, I don't see how any team that calls itself a contender would consider Coco Crisp an opening day starter.

As a bench player, great move, but if we are talking about him as a starter I'd much rather see the club rush Danks up and use Crisp as a plan B.

JimH. said:

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Jason, Crisp makes sense as leadoff hitter because very frankly what else is there? Who else do they get? Danks is not ready. he is still striking out a lot and he is a first pitch swinger. Crisp will give you professional, veteran at bats and he's good defensively.

Sometimes you have to play to cards you can get. With the White Sox, it's often bounce back guys. Jones is a good example. Crisp fits well here and I would be surprised if they didn't ultimately sign him.

Jeff Buchanan said:

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I agree with you here Jason, at the very most I want too see Crisp batting 9th and playing LF, but ideally he'd be our 4th outfielder.

JimH. said:

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Sigh. And of course all the stat heads at SoxTalk are saying Crisp in LF, Rios in CF, and Quentin in RF due to Crisp's arm.

Baseball 101, put your best arm in RF, that's Rios. Put the guy who is best defensively and covers the most ground and gets the best jumps in CF, that would be Crisp if they sign him. And who says Quentin's arm is that great? It isn't.

Quentin-Crisp-Rios. If healthy that's a really good OF.

Jeff Buchanan said:

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baseball 101 also says to put your quickest base stealer at the top of the order even if he's a pile of shit with the stick, your best reliever should be your closer etc. A lot of baseball 101 should be scrapped, there have been advancements in analysis over the last 80 years and we now know there are better ways.

It's not like Crisp have ever been fantastic in CF outside of one year in Boston, he's shown far more ability in LF, and taking his arm into consideration, that's absolutely the position I'd play him.

PawsOut said:

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Logic 101 dictates that you maximize performance with the pieces you're dealt. Putting a very good defensive CF in left is a complete waste. How many runs would be saved by him covering lots of ground in center versus hiding his weak arm in left? I guess it's a theoretical question that can't be proven, but I'm strongly leaning towards the former.

Also, Quentin's arm ISN'T that great. I watch every Sox game every season and he doesn't really slow any would be tagger uppers down more than any other average outfielder.

I will say that in left, his ability to get to the ball relatively quickly and hold runners from advancing makes up for his lack of defensive talent. Putting CQ anywhere other than left would be a huge mistake unless the Sox get a worse outfielder.

ALSO old school baseball has won many, many, many more championships than new school baseball. Just because it's new doesn't mean it's right.

JimH. said:

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Paws, great post, not much I can add to your rebuttal of Stats Buchanan.

Crisp was excellent in CF with Cleveland although I admit that was a while ago. In limited time with KC last year he did a fine job in CF. His arm is below average no doubt but quickness makes up for a lot and Crisp is quick.

Well I guess we'll have to see what happens. Crisp's agent is looking for a fit and KW is looking at all the alternatives. I wouldn't be disappointed in Crisp at all though, I think it's a low risk move.

Jeff Buchanan said:

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But Rios is quick, Rios is fast, Rios gets to a lot of balls AND Rios has a strong arm.

JimH. said:

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See my post below. It's all about fit. They need someone who can lead off, they need a lefthanded hitter and they can always use a defensive upgrade. Not only does Crisp fit all the above, but he's available. They know this guy pretty well. Guillen likes him. It fits.

Is he the perfect option? No, but no one is.

Jeff Buchanan said:

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That last statement is phenomenal!

It's tough to read anything into Quentins performance this year due to his injuries, however he did showed a very strong arm in 2008 when he was healthy, and I'm sure he will return to somewhere near that level when/if he gets healthy again. The same goes for his defense overall.

As for Crisp vs. Rios, I'm taking Rios as a CF defensively over Crisp. Your whole sentiment in that first point is dead on, I just feel your evaluation of Rios and Crisp is a little off.

Jason Gage said:

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Defensively speaking, I think Crisp is best in left. While I feel that Rios will be a premium defensive CF'er, if Crisp is your starter (which I'm not in favor of), than Rios should start in RF with Quentin in LF.

That would give us a solid LF'er, good CF'er, and a gold glove caliber RF'er.

Bottom line it makes sense. Moving Quentin to RF doesn't make sense, because than you have a below average RF'er, a great Cf'er, and a good LF'er.

Jeff Buchanan said:

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Now it goes without saying that I've never played a Major League outfield so there may be things that I'm just unaware of here, but is the difference between RF and LF that severe? Quentin'll still be required to cover the same amount of ground, no? Also let's not forget outside of his two years with the Sox, Quentin is a career RF. He has the arm to play there, we've already seen that. I just don't believe that he goes from solid LF'er to below average RF'er, but again, perhaps I'm just missing certain nuances of the positions.

Also I will note that my opinion of Quentins defensive ability is very different to yours, but for the sake of the RF vs. LF difficulty argument I stuck with your words.

JimH. said:

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With Jones on the bench now Jason, Crisp is not a fit on the bench. They will carry 12 pitchers. They need two spots filled now ... a backup catcher who I believe will be Blanco, and a leadoff hitter who can give them solid pro at bats and can contribute in the field ... and hits lefthanded and adds some speed. Who does that describe, who fits?

Crisp, unless there is some kind of huge trade brewing.

PawsOut said:

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And just because you can provide a number to back up a theory, it doesn't make it correct either. Baseball games are won and lost by player performing in individual moments. Sometimes stats verify their play, other times they don't, but this reliance on putting a number to every aspect of the game is just pretty silly in my opinion. Remember, stat heads are the people that will tell you that nick Swisher is good at baseball. For my money, that's the only argument against them that anyone needs.

Mario Scalise said:

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Thank you! I thinks stats are good as a fallback. If you don't have the luxury of seeing a player play or are inbetween on a players value. But I'd still take my eyes or any other person with a good baseball mind over stats. Baseball 101 still takes precedence on a lot of topics.

Jeff Buchanan said:

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I have many problems with the "I'll take my eyes" argument, but the main one is this:

Sample size; how many times do you feel you would need to watch a player in order to form an accurate opinion on them?

JimH. said:

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If you watch every game or just about every game for a few years, that'll give you a good feeling/instinct without having to rely only on stats.

By the way, to answer your question, there are several differences between playing LF and RF. I played both but not at the pro level. Angle of the ball off the bat. Footwork. Positioning relative to the CF. The nuances of different ballparks with things like sun/wind. Throws to the cutoff man.

All sorts of subtle yet very important differences between LF and RF. Another thing you may not be aware of but Quentin has been banged up a lot these last few years and he does not have the strong arm he did coming out of Stanford. His arm is average at best and that's why the White Sox earmarked him for LF.

You see, it is all about fit. They need a leadoff hitter and they can't just magically pick one off a tree. What's available? Who can they sign or trade for? Who do they know, i.e. what player will fit in their clubhouse? Those are all very important factors that stats don't tell. Is Crisp a perfect leadoff hitter, no he isn't. Is he arguably the best option out there ... perhaps. Adding to that, can Rios play a great RF? No question the answer is yes. So it's all about fitting the pieces within a team concept. Oh and Crisp is a switch hitter and the Sox need someone who can hit from the left side and is ready to play at the major league level. It all fits.

Jeff Buchanan said:

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Stats are about playing by the percentages. Of course they are not going to be able to account for every individual event thrown at you, but that's what makes the game so great, its unpredictability. All you can do is put yourself in the best possible position to win on any given day, to still rely on guts, instincts, tradition or history is ludicrous given what we now know.

JimH. said:

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You have to use a combination of stats and all the intangibles. People who have played baseball know that. What is truly ludicrous is message board posters (in general) using only statistics to prove their point about why something was done or should be done. There are too many intangibles in this game. Further, none of us are in the dugout or behind the scenes.

Anyone who ignores the intangibles is completely missing the boat.

Mario Scalise said:

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Agreed. I always try and judge a player first by what I see. If I've seen that player very very little, I go to the stats. When I look at the stats, I try to find a players consistency and where they may fit in with the team. If it's a leadoff hitter, I'm looking for a guy that can handle himself in all situations. Lefties, righties, home, away, men on, nobody on, April, July.

If you're looking for a guy to be in the middle of your lineup, or lead your pitching staff, or a key player, you obviously go for the very best you can. I don't think there is every really a dispute among who the better players are, but after that, when you get into the secondary players on your team, which could be your leadoff hitter, or your #4 pitcher, I think some stats can help.

If it's a backup catcher or any bench player that will get significant playing time behind a starter, ideally someone that can handle lefty pitching. Or maybe it's someone that's historically had success against a couple of your divisional rivals, whether it be a bench player, #9 hitter, or #4 pitcher.

Basically, I like situational stats, because I think good teams are built to go up against all types of teams and play in all types of situations. You want to have your main core of players, which this year, it may be largely our rotation, but I think after that it should be about how the guy fits with your team and helps YOUR team win games at the end of the day.

Chicago Expatriate said:

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Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel, and now maybe add Coco Crisp to the list. It's a little early in the day but somehow I feel myself needing a real stiff drink.

deandrey duffie said:

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I THINK THAT IF SIGNING COCO CRISP WOULD HELP THE WHITE SOX ON THE OFFENSIVE END THEN SIGN HIM ON I THINK THAT WOULD BE OF GREAT HELP TO KEN WILLIAMS AND THE WHITE SOX. GO SOX DEANDREY

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