CLEVELAND: A fan favorite from more than a decade ago is returning to the Indians for a postseason push.
The Indians on Wednesday completed a deal with the Oakland A’s to acquire outfielder Coco Crisp and cash in exchange for left-handed pitcher Colt Hynes.
Crisp, 36, is hitting .234 with a .299 on-base percentage to go with 11 home runs, 24 doubles and 47 RBI. He also leads the majors with a .424 average with runners in scoring position.
With Abraham Almonte ineligible for the postseason after testing positive in the spring for performance-enhancing drugs, Crisp fills a potential void in the Indians’ outfield. Because of Almonte’s looming absence, they needed to make a trade or promote a player from the minors.
“Over the course of the past few weeks, we looked at alternatives to try to continue to add to our team and improve our position for the balance of September and, if we’re fortunate enough to get into the postseason, in October,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said.
“We feel Coco helps us with that. … We’ll add him to the mix of guys and [manager Terry Francona] can use him based upon the way he sees the best matchups.”
Crisp is officially a member of the Indians as of Wednesday, meaning he’s on their playoff roster. He’ll report on Thursday’s off day when rosters expand and will be available for Friday’s game.
As a player with 10 years in the major leagues and five years with his current team, Crisp had 10-and-5 rights, which act as a no-trade clause. Crisp waived that clause to come to Cleveland after clearing waivers.
Per a report by the Associated Press, the A’s are including roughly $1.6 million to help offset what Crisp is owed for the rest of this season. Crisp also has a $13 million option for 2017 that vests should he reach 550 plate appearances or 130 games.
The Indians, though, were candid with Crisp that because of the current situation in the outfield, he likely won’t reach those plateaus and will become a free agent after this season.
Crisp will now jump from the rebuilding A’s to the first-place Indians in a hunt for the postseason.
“In talking to Coco, he was pretty excited,” Antonetti said. “Coco chose to come here. Tito and I had a chance to talk with him before we completed the trade, and he seemed really excited about coming over here and looked forward to getting here.”
Crisp spent four seasons in Cleveland before being traded after the 2005 season to the Boston Red Sox along with David Riske and Josh Bard for a package that included Andy Marte, Kelly Shoppach and Guillermo Mota.
He owns a career .266 average with more than 300 doubles and 300 stolen bases. His 306 steals rank 10th among active players.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RyanLewisABJ.