Now it seems the Dodgers are interested in Coco Crisp and… well, look. I like Coco Crisp. Quite a bit, actually. Despite a down 2011, he’s a plus outfielder, a switch-hitter, an excellent base-stealer, a Los Angeles native, and owner of the best hair the Dodgers have seen since Eric Karros hung up the mullet. Stick him in left, let Jerry Sands get plenty of plate appearances between left, right, and first, and have Juan Rivera as a nice bench bat who can also assist Sands in getting James Loney & Andre Ethier out against lefties, and now we’re talking.
It’s just, what are we really doing here? This is a team that arguably already had a starting outfield in Sands, Matt Kemp, and Ethier, and since then they’ve signed three additional outfield options in Rivera, Tony Gwynn, and Jerry Hairston. This is a team that’s been crying poor every step of the way, yet Crisp made $5.75m last year and hasn’t made less than $5m since 2007. He’s put up $5.5 fWAR over the last two seasons, and while I’m certainly not suggesting that someone’s signing him to the 2/$25m contract that number might indicate, 2/$12m is hardly unreasonable. Yet who among us thinks the Dodgers still have that type of money, unless we’re talking about a 0.5/11.5 backloading? Besides, if they do still have that sort of cash, then it just goes back to the question of “why in the hell are you signing all of these bit players when you could have gone for the superstar you clearly need?”
Plus, with the roster set as tightly as it is, a Crisp signing can only mean that Sands starts the year in Triple-A. That in itself isn’t the end of the world, except that bringing back Gwynn seems a little redundant if you’re going to add Crisp. If Crisp isn’t quite the defender Gwynn is, he’s not all that far off – and still far better than any other outfielder on the roster – and he’s a far better hitter, a better base-runner, and can hit from both sides of the plate.
That’s not to say they shouldn’t express interest in Crisp, because I think he can help them win (and I have to admit, the thought of Crisp, Kemp, and Dee Gordon all galloping around the bases is tempting). It’s just that once again, we’re looking at the roster as constructed, and wondering just what the plan is this winter.