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A’s let Eric Chavez go, pick up options on Mark Ellis and Coco Crisp; Angels doubleheader on tap next season

The A’s announced they’ve exercised their club options on second baseman Mark Ellis ($6 million) and center fielder Coco Crisp ($5.75 million), ensuring both players are back in the fold for 2011. But the A’s officially cut ties with third baseman Eric Chavez, declining his $12.5 million option and instead paying him a $3 million buyout.

None of these moves ranks as a big surprise, though this closes the book on Chavez’s Oakland career. It’s possible he could come to spring training as a non-roster invitee if he’s healthy, but he hasn’t played a full season since 2006. Club officials had strongly hinted that Ellis would be brought back, and his scorching September at the plate really boosted his cause. Is it a high price tag for him? I think so, considering he’s had his own injury struggles and his power has declined considerably.

This move was based on defense, which the A’s have made a priority since heading into the 2010 season. And Ellis is still an excellent defender. But this move also speaks to the fact that the young second basemen in the farm system haven’t come along as quickly as hoped. Jemile Weeks continues to battle injury problems and Adrian Cardenas hasn’t developed as quickly as expected. Adam Rosales? I think he’s more valuable to the A’s in the super-utility role he played this season. Eric Sogard looked pretty good in his September call-up, but the team still hasn’t seen enough of him to hand him the job.

The decision to bring Crisp back could hardly be considered a slam-dunk given his considerable injury struggles, but I like the move. Not only does he provide excellent defense in center, he was an impact leadoff man. In just 75 games, he hit .279 with eight homers, 38 RBIs and a career-high 32 stolen bases. Now, the key is to make sure he plays MORE THAN 75 games in 2011. And Crisp had two lengthy DL stints this season with a fractured pinkie (twice) and a strained rib cage. But this team is a different lineup with Crisp in it, and it’s worth the gamble to bring him back. Now we’ll see if the A’s search for a power-hitting outfielder to put on either side of him.

–One last note: The A’s have scheduled a traditional doubleheader next season for July 16 against the Angels. They’ve shifted a July 14 (Thursday) game in order to do so. It’s the first time the A’s have staged a planned doubleheader since 1995. The first game will start at 1:07 p.m. with the second game to follow after a short break.

Let’s hear some thoughts on today’s news …

Joe Stiglich

  • crister

    yea, doubleheaders… now if only they’d sprinkle in a few more throughout the season to shorten the season and not have to play the world series in november. create a taxi squad roster spot or two for extra pitching for those particular days that won’t cost an option or count against the 40-man roster and there you go.

    man, what a total bummer about chavez. talk about the aching promise of what should have been. after that marte pitch that broke his hand, it was all just down hill for him. i wonder if it will ever be answered if his health issues were all a cascading affect from that moment or if the guy was just brittle after all. up till then, he had quite a few seasons under his belt of almost playing every day. whatever the case may be, it’s still kind of sad.

  • Angry A’s Fan

    Please stay healthy, Coco. If he does and can play a full season based on what he did in 75 games last season he’ll be a bargain this season. But I think his speed now in the fold and Pennington a SB threat, perhaps it’s time to deal Raijai as part of a package for more a power hitter. I just don’t see the A’s overpaying for a free agent -most free agents are- and an aging slugger at a cheap rate won’t make a difference. I think the A’s window to do something special begins now. There’s no way this franchise will pay the big bucks down the line for Cahill, Anderson and Gio. Those three plus Braden would make for a rotation comparable to what the Giants threw out this postseason. But the A’s need offense. I’m OK with Suzuki behind the plate, Barton at first, Pennington at SS and Kouzmanoff at 3B. Carter should be in the lineup somewhere, and with Coco locked in center the A’s need a RF and DH. As much as I like Sweeney, he doesn’t drive in enough runs to be an everyday player. I wonder if Beane could swing a deal with Cleveland to get Shin-Choo Choo (.300, 22 HR, 90 RBI). Since Ellis is back for at least another year, maybe Adrian Cardenas, Mazzaro and Raijai can be part of a package to get Choo. In terms of free agents, I wonder if Adam LaRoche is a reasonable target as a DH. He drove in 100 runs last season with 25 HR and a .300 average. He made $4.5 million last year. Just hoping the A’s go for it to an extent while not giving up any of the top four pitchers.

  • scott no2

    I’ll see if I can spend 6+ hrs of my day watching baseball. I don’t think my wife will like it.

  • Chris

    I’m all for it. Thursday nights don’t bring out big crowds. When is the last time there was a scheduled doubleheader in MLB?

  • BornInOakland

    Wow, an honest to goodness Doubleheader in the Summertime? Got to love that.

  • Son of Hendu

    Most people who steal that kind of money are in jail. Good luck Chavy.

  • warafan

    Chavy give Acupuncture a chance to fix your shoulder… Try diff. Acupuncturist they are not a same out there…Ellis is brought back / to provide leadership / work ethics…

  • Bill

    So for the Twin Bill you only need one Ticket?

  • Joe Stiglich

    That’s my understanding … One ticket. Two games.

  • Steven Harmon

    Boy, if the A’s could start a trend, it would be something the game could give back to fans, who have paid so much over the last 20 years in skyrocketing ticket and concession prices. Unfortunately, this wonderful idea is rooted in the A’s desperate attendance problems, and teams with a stable fan base likely won’t be tempted.