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Will the Royals Pick Up Coco Crisp's Option in 2010? Should They?

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It's never to early to start thinking about Coco Crisp's team option for 2010. What else are you going to do? Work on learning a new language, spend more time with your family, jog? I'll try not to laugh.

Here are the basics: Coco is set to earn $5.75 million in 2009, after the season, the Royals can either let Coco become a free agent or they can bring him back for one more year at $8 million.

Here's the data on Crisp since 2005:

Games BA OBP SLG Defense
2006 105 .264 .317 .385 dead average
2007 145 .268 .330 .382 really good
2008 118 .283 .344 .407 dead average

So, let's go...

  • Obviously, my entries regarding defense are subjective and imprecise. I have no idea what is going on with Crisp's numbers, but every defensive metric I looked at followed the same pattern: '06 and '08 were fairly "meh" while in '07 he was awesome. So you tell me what it all means. Probably, we're looking at average to good defensive player with a non-asset arm.
  • 2010 will be Crisp's age 30 season. Crisp, as Will Carroll put it this week, "there always seems to be something wrong with Crisp, but never enough to keep him out for long." At the moment, he's not a huge injury risk. A solid bet for 140 games, a bad bet for 155.
  • Plainly, it will help to see what Crisp does in 2009, but what kind of player does he look like he'll be right now? Crisp cratered badly in 2006, having his worst season (in the context of his career) right after his career-year, as his OPS+ dropped from 117 to 77. Since then, he's made minor steps back, and in 2008 posted an OPS+ of 93. Importantly, the average OPS+ for centerfielders last season was... 99. Crisp is now an average centerfielder offensively, at a position that is also average. Right now, PECOTA projects he'll hit .261/.326/.393, a projection that basically says, in the parlance of our times, he is what he is. (Oh, and this is a sub-optimal leadoff man, but that's a lost cause.) So if he's the same old '07-'08 Crisp in '09, that's probably what he'll be in 2010. I guess there's a real possibility that there's a power spike in there somewhere, since he did slug in the .450 range once, which could happen once or twice again at some point. If you're curious, the current 2009 PECOTA projection of Crisp in 2010 is .260/.323/.375. He is...
  • BP's MORP isn't perfect, but according to MORP Crisp will be worth $6.2 M on the market next season (so a slight bargain for the Royals) and a similar $6.6 M in 2010. Then again, those numbers don't yet fully reflect the effects of the cold free agent market (non-Phillies and Royals players) of this off-season. So all told, the 2010 option is going to be a bit of an overpay if these numbers, which represent multiple contigencies at this point, hold. Only, it isn't that simple, since it would essentially be a one-year contract, and typically teams are willing to pay more for a one-year deal. I think.
  • Do the Royals have an internal option other than Crisp for 2010? Well, that depends on what you think of David DeJesus, who seems like the most likely option. Purely internally, there's a low-watt option regarding someone like Mitch Maier or maybe Jose Durate (hey... trying to be positive). Assuming the Royals weren't going to want to go after a topflight CF free agent after 2009, there are also guys like, say, Chicago's Brian Anderson, who is probably better than Mitch and could be a stopgap.

But, what do you think will happen and should happen? (I considered a complicated five-answer scenario, but couldn't make it work.) Your poll question deals with will, and I hope to hear about your predictions as well as what should.