OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — Coco Crisp makes the Oakland Athletics go from the top of the order, and figures to be doing so again in 2014.
The A’s exercised their $7.5 million club option for the center fielder Friday, though general manager Billy Beane announced it as soon as the season ended with a five-game division series loss to the Detroit Tigers for the second straight year.
A switch-hitter and speedy leadoff man, Crisp hit a career-high 22 home runs in the leadoff spot for his most homers since he hit 16 with Cleveland in 2005. Even Crisp himself was surprised by the power surge.
“Luck of the draw for me. I have, I guess, enough power to do since I’ve done it,” Crisp said late in the year. “But that’s not my game. It’s part of it, a little bit but 20 home runs, 20-plus home runs has kind of caught me off guard. I think it caught a lot of people off guard, especially having more home runs than stolen bases.
“I’ll take it. Next year it might go back to normal where I hit 10 to 15 and steal more bases. I hope that’s what it is. It’s just one of those years I’m grateful for.”
Oakland also exercised its $8 million option on left-hander Brett Anderson as planned and declined an $8.5 million option on catcher Kurt Suzuki and an $11 million option outfielder Chris Young.
Young gets a $1.5 million buyout and Suzuki $650,000.
Beane envisions Anderson back in the rotation in 2014 after a late-season stint as a reliever following an injury-shortened season. Anderson has a $12 million option for 2015.
The A’s still must decide whether to re-sign 18-game winner Bartolo Colon, though the club seemed hopeful last month. Colon and closer Grant Balfour became free agents Thursday.
Crisp, who turned 34 Friday, just concluded his fourth season with the A’s and a $14 million, two-year contract and helped Oakland win back-to-back AL West titles. He hasn’t played more than 136 games in a season since arriving in the Bay Area, limited to 75 in 2010 and 120 last year. He batted .261 with the 22 homers, 66 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 131 games this year.
Former Tigers manager Jim Leyland considered containing Crisp the biggest key for Detroit to beat the A’s in the division series for the second straight season. Crisp is a career .278 hitter in 30 postseason games for Boston and Oakland.
“I think everybody feeds off of Coco here, not necessarily just experience, just how good he is,” manager Bob Melvin said before the playoffs. “I’ve said often when we’re playing well, he’s playing well. He sets the tone for us, and you’ve seen he’s taken his game to a whole new level this year as far as the power dynamic goes, but still has the ability to steal bases. He’s got quite the awareness in game when he needs to run and when he doesn’t, and since we’ve been swinging the bat better, he’s been a little less apt to run because he doesn’t want to run into an out. He knows that we’ve been better offensively.”
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