By Jason Wojciechowski on March 4, 2015 at 9:57 PM
Today's big (big?) news is that Coco Crisp will be a left fielder this season for the A's as they try to keep him healthy for a full year, keeping his bat in the lineup and his legs on the basepaths. The position is also a better fit for his arm, though it theoretically "wastes" his range, assuming that at 35 and with a season of awful defensive statistics in center behind him, the range is what it was.
Still, the change doesn't wreak much havoc on the roster, which is a benefit of having three center fielders among your four (or five, if you count Mark Canha, or, hell, six, if you count Stephen Vogt, or, hell, seven if you count Ben Zobrist, but you get the point) outfielders -- the A's can just take the left field platoon they were going to run out (Fuld and Gentry) and put it in center, leaving everything else happily in place. For what I think the roster looks like now check out the roster page. If you click to the most recent prior version, the only thing this move does is swap left and center and clean up the substitution situation when Crisp needs to DH, as he'll surely need to do from time to time even if he's a left fielder instead of in center.
What's interesting to ponder is whether this lasts all year. The A's have tried this before, sliding him to left in favor of Yoenis Cespedes, but that fell apart fairly quickly and Crisp resumed his usual position after his famous "demigod" comments. Given that Fuld can't hit and Gentry might not be able to either, it's not hard to see one or both of them failing to finish the year with the A's. There's also the possibility of injury or even the acquisition of a slugger type for left field. Will the A's take themselves out of the picture for any such trade because they see Crisp as a permanent left fielder, or will they entertain the possibility that he could slide back over?
Crisp's comments on the move were Crispian, expressing the basic idea that he'd still rather play center and supreme belief in himself to do so while simultaneously basically saying he's not going to raise a ruckus about it. There's a certain amount of faith the A's are putting in Bob Melvin's player-handling and ego-massaging abilities; based on everything else we've seen from him, I certainly hope this is the strength of his managerial game it's made out to be.