Cubs considering Coco Crisp for LF

Cubs considering Coco Crisp for LF

The Cub haven't made a big splash yet and indications are that they continue to pursue value type players who play good defense and provide athleticism.  The Cubs were one of the worst teams in both areas last season.  To help improve that, they've brought in two new starters who are both athletic and defensive upgrades in David DeJesus (RF) and Ian Stewart (3B).  Now they are looking at outfielder Coco Crisp to play LF, possibly instead of the offensively oriented Alfonso Soriano.

MLB TradeRumors reports that the Cubs have inquired on Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp.  Once again we see the Cubs looking at a good defensive player with athleticism and speed.  The Cubs reportedly envision him playing LF, which makes you wonder what the long term plans are for Soriano.

Crisp, 32, is a switch-hitter who is highly regarded for his defense and his penchant for making the spectacular play.  His lifetime UZR in LF is an astonishing 26.5, well above average to say the least.

Offensively his slash line was .264/.314/.379 to go with 49 stolen bases in 58 tries, an 84% success rate.  His RC+ was an even 100, which made him a league average offensive player.  His WAR that season was also around league average at 2.2.  The previous year was even better.  Crisp put up a line of .279/.342/.438 and an RC+ of 127, which is well above league average and higher than any Cub last year other than Aramis Ramirez.  He had an above average WAR of 3.3

In Crisp, the Cubs would be getting an athletic, speedy, top notch defensive outfielder with at least average offensive abilities.  His speed on the bases would give the Cubs more options on offense.  He'd be a solid addition and I think overall the Cubs would be better off with him in LF than Soriano, though they'll miss that power.



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  • Ummmm.......Okaaaaayyyyyyyyyy......Ummmm...See, never considered this one. Didn't really even know he was still playing.

    I guess if he does the afro thing once or twice. No, wait, I takethat back. Then every Wrigleyville asshat is wearing an afro.....

    I get the defense and athleticism thing so I'm on board with that. But someone needs to hit for power in this lineup. Leads me to think Prince is still in play...

  • In reply to felzz:

    I still think Prince is in play. Cubs right now look like a team that's going to be involved in some low scoring games. At any rate, hard to get thrilled about Crisp, but he's been at least as good a player as Soriano, albeit a very different one.

  • That would be a nice upgrade for the speed and defense. Anyone is better than Soriano playing in Left Field.

  • In reply to BabyPuma21:

    I think he's a slight upgrade. Still wondering where the power is going to come from, especially if this happens, but I'd rather have the better all around play.

  • If you think about it April and May your not going to be hitting many home runs at Wrigley at least. Maybe more on the Road Depending where there playing but this team needs to win games with Speed and Defense in April, May and even September if they want to even smell the playoffs. Unless Crisp is like a Reed Johnson?? Comes in for Defense in the 7th steals bases for you all that stuff. But I also agree they need power bad. That wont matter if they don't go out and get some DECENT starting pitching

  • In reply to BabyPuma21:

    Agreed. Need ways to find offense when it's cold and conditions are difficult. Wind blows in a lot as well even when it does get warmer.

    I think if they sign Crisp, it's to start.

    I think you'll see the pitching improve simply because they'll have a better defense behind them. Then if they can add an arm or two, they should be a lot better than they were last year.

  • I really don't care if we get Coco Crisp or not. But the idea of shopping for outfielders excites me. Obviously there would be no reason to sign anybody until Soriano is gone, so this makes me think somebody is deep into talks with them. And while we all know BJax will be starting somewhere in the outfield by the end of the year, I enjoy the idea of not forcing him into being the opening day starter. If he doesn't prove he's worthy of playing every day in Cubbie blue in spring training, he'll have the opportunity to spend some time in Iowa until he is ready (which will probably only take 4-6 weeks anyway, but then we would be able to afford the extra time).

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    There's a lot of teams looking for RH power bats and someone is going to be left standing when the music stops. The Cubs have the money to eat salary and get this done if they need to. I wouldn't be shocked if it didn't happen, but at this point I'd be very disappointed.

    I agree. I like that not only are we not forcing BJax, but we're also not blocking him with long term signings. When he's ready, one of these guys is going to become a 4th OF'er.

  • I also agree that he's a slight upgrade over Soriano, but I can't lie. Signing Crisp is fine and all, but it really does not grab your attention, at this point Crisp is now a "decent" all around player who's skills are beginning to decline. He can still contribute and be a steady player, but that's it , which isn't so bad I guess.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    He's not a huge signing if it happens. It's just another guy to upgrade the defense and athleticism. When you look at the choices, it's Soriano, Beltran, and a whole lot of very so-so guys out there, the best of which don't play defense (i.e. Cuddyer)

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    I can't say adding CC excites me at all. I've always considered him a guy who just doesn't get on base enough. Someone is going to be needed to drive in runs. Where be he? Someday my Prince will come...

  • In reply to Hal McCarty:

    Not the most exciting option but, of the guys left out there, he's one of the best fits for what the Cubs are trying to do. He has decent plate discipline but pedestrian average make him just a so-so OBP guy. Looks like Cubs will be counting on Castro and whoever winds up at first to drive in runs for now.

  • looking like this team is going to built around defense and speed and the offensive production is going to be small ball. power will come in the form of smart calculated play(s). too many times last year you saw very bad base running.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    I think that pretty much sums it up. Defensively, the gains are obvious, but on offense it looks like they're willing to sacrifice some power for more flexibility, guys who can get on base better and then hopefully be a whole lot better once they're on.

  • Sounds like Bobby Dernier type of player... :)

    Cubs did pretty well with Bob Dernier at leadoff spot.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    A little bit. Doesn't hit all that great but can draw some walks, can run, play some D...maybe a bit more pop from Crisp, but otherwise there are some similarities

  • John
    If the Cubs do obtain Crisp any thought that they might they move Byrd to left and put Crisp in center? Wouldn't that further improve OF defense? Wonder if Rudy could positively impact his hitting.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    It's possible, but Byrd is actually a very good CF'er too. In fact, over the past two years, he's had a higher UZR than Crisp, for what that's worth. Part of it may be his arm.

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    i like the idea of crisp, with the wind blowing in early in the season not a lot of HR to be had. the cubs need to get off to a good start with lots of energy to have a chance. piching and defense is where its starts and thats how you win. i think the runs will come and jed and theo are not done we dont have to make out a line up card today. john wrote an segment about the 2002 and 2004 red sox teams at the time not a lot of names that would scare you. just give it time go cubs go

  • In reply to Bryan Bell:

    Agreed..we do have to give it some time and see how things shake out. Right now it looks like they'll try to win with speed, defense, and improved pitching. There will be more to come, so we'll see.

  • When i heard we were going after coco crisp, i wasnt disappointed or excited, i was just a little surprised. but then i thought about what our team would look like with him and it made a little more sense to me. historically the cubs have lacked good bullpen depth, athleticism and defense. currently we have the bp depth, and we're gaining athleticism and defense.

    i think what people have been missing is that we have 2 really good hitting coaches (sveum and rudy) in our dugout. if they are given the opportunity to spend more time on coaching hitting rather than spending time on defensive issues it well help our team greatly.

    also having a good athletic defense behind a pitcher will help lower their era and whips, which in turn will make them bigger assets to us and either help us for the future or be better trade bait then they currently are.

    i know ppl are wondering where the power is gonna come from and how we are gonna score runs, but we had some power last year and we didnt score many runs, so people need to be patient because t/j have a plan and we just need to have faith.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    I can't say I was surprised because I know the Cub were looking for this kind of player to play the OF even after DeJesus was signed.

    Hitting coach may help. Looking forward to seeing what they do with Ian Stewart, in particular.

    T/J certainly have a plan and they're sticking to it. As it standsright now they're going to look a lot more like the 2010 Padres than they will the 2011 Cubs.

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    It's hard to believe, but I think people are underselling what Castro will be able to produce next year. I really liked the power he was displaying in the latter part of last season, and I could see him hitting 17-20 bombs with 85+ RBI. If Prince is signed and Stewart can be closer to his 2009 production, this could be decent offensive club.

  • In reply to Clayton Casner:

    I would love to see Castro in the #3 spot with Fielder hitting behind him.

    There is no doubt, Castro is in the phase of his career when his production could increase dramatically from year to year.

  • In reply to Clayton Casner:

    I don't think 15-20 HRs is out of the question for Castro. He'll probably be an RBI guy eventually as well because he makes so much contact. I don't know if I want to count on that yet, but I do think it's coming and maybe even as soon as next year.

    I think it can be a decent offensive club as well with Fielder. They'll have a lot of guys who can get on base and not clog them once they get there. It'll be a much more interesting team to watch.

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    I think a lot of these signings are interesting in the context of stuff Theo said about taking advantage of Wrigley early in his tenure. We've basically got two parks - a power friendly field in June, July and August, and a pitcher's park in April, May and September (give or take). Well, what will be a consistent asset in both versions of Wrigley? Defense, speed and ground-ball pitchers. It seems a number of signings so far are with the first two in mind. I'll be curious to see the splits on pitchers we do acquire.

    By the way, I'm very much enjoying the site, which I've been reading for a month or so. First time poster though :)

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Thanks for the kind words and the thoughtful response. I agree on all counts. It is 2 different parks and Epstein is one of the first to understand that challenge and tailor the team for that. Dallas Green was probably the other one. His '84 Cubs could beat you with pitching, defense, speed, and/or power. I think Epstein will eventually build something similar.

  • Is he really any better than Campana? Similar average and I'll bet you he's slower than Tony because everyone's slower than Tony. And he'd cost a whole lot more money.

    48 SB's is nice... but if Campana was put out there every day he'd dwarf that number. 60-80 would be my estimate.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    I think if Campana played everyday he'd have a hard time getting a .300 OBP and slugging numbers could be 100 pts lower than Crisp. Defense isn't as good either. My thought is that the more you play Campana, the more you expose his weaknesses. I think his best fit is as a role player and there's nothing really wrong with that.

  • I still think I'd give Campana a shot before I'd spend ten times as much on Crisp. Actually, I'd rather find someone with more pop than either, using in-house talent as a stopgap.

    Maybe one of them will step up and surprise us...

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    I've never been crazy about Crisp's bat, but the amount of runs he would save on defense compared to Soriano would put him in the + overall comparing total runs generated and runs lost on defense. As long as it's a 1 year deal I would be fine with it. I would actually be thrilled as long as Soriano is gone.

    Kubel isn't a very good defender and he wants a 3 year contract, not that he gets it. The other free agent OF's all have been very inconsistent on offense.

    I really don't think Campana can hit well enough to even be passable as a starter.

    One thing that would concern me is that if they sign Crisp/get rid of Soriano, and surprise us and sign Fielder, we would have no right handed power other than Soto and whatever Castro grows into.

    Eventually once Brett Jackson makes his way into the lineup, we would be very left handed:

    Jackson - L
    DeJesus - L
    Crisp? - B
    Byrd - R

    3b Stewart - L
    SS Castro - R
    2b Barney?? - R (a free agent wouldn't surprise me here)
    1b Fielder - L (or LaHair)

    C Soto - R

    That would be 4 lefty hitters for sure, and perhaps 5 on a given day if they face a RHP and they signed Crisp. I can't remember that many left handed hitters in our regular lineup in my lifetime.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    RH power is a big concern if they trade Soriano. I was looking at the 2010 SD Padres, who like the 2002 Red Sox, might serve as a model for what the Cubs are trying to do. They only had one big power bat (A-Gon), from the left side and I think their next best HR guy was Headley at 11. They won 90 games, primarily on the backs of defense and pitching. So that gives me some hope!

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