Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Coco Crisp rips the A’s for benching him to keep his $13 million option from vesting

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp is unhappy with the A’s for what he believes to be their intentionally benching him in order to prevent his $13 million option for 2017 from vesting. In order for it to vest, Crisp has to play in 130 games. He’s played in only 93 despite being healthy. He says he is hurt by the way the A’s are treating him and that “this is shady.”

Whether it’s “shady” or just one of the risks you face when you agree to a vesting option with a team with a history of being budget conscious is open to personal interpretation, but Crisp is absolutely right that the A’s are intentionally keeping him on the bench. Slusser quotes Bob Melvin as saying that they’re just keeping Crisp away from lefties. Tim Eckert-Fong of Athletics Nation noted, however, that once the A’s got into the righties of the Rangers bullpen last night, Melvin used utilityman Max Muncy against righty Matt Bush despite the fact that Crisp homered off of Bush the first time he faced him. We can argue about the utility of batter vs. pitcher matchups, but it’s hard to imagine any explanation for not using Crisp in that situation other than a desire to simply avoid using Crisp at all costs. Just about every manager not under orders from his front office to prevent Crisp from playing in 130 games would use Crisp there.

But, like I said: that’s a risk of a vesting option. Just about every team has found itself in that situation over the years. If anything, you hear more about it when a manager LETS an option like that vest rather than snuffs it out. Anyone remember Jimy Williams giving Steve Avery a gift start in 1997 to let Avery’s $4 million option vest despite the fact that Avery was beyond cooked? That was a fun.

Crisp will probably get a gift start or three now that he has voiced his displeasure with his treatment. But I’d be shocked if the A’s let him get anywhere close to 130 games in the 2016 season.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 3, Indians 2: David Ortiz hit a two-run homer and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a solo shot. Drew Pomeranz pitched into the eighth and, while the Indians threatened in the ninth, Craig Kimbrel locked it down. People have had worse one-day trips to Cleveland.

Royals 3, Tigers 1: The Royals’ first inning run scored thanks in part to a walk and a throwing error by Tigers starter Daniel Norris. Their sixth inning run scored thanks in part to a Norris wild pitch. That’s how you can give up only one earned run and still lose. Well, that and the fact that one of the better offenses in the game couldn’t do much of anything against Ian Kennedy of all people. Miguel Cabrera left the game with a bicep injury but he may escape a trip to the disabled list. At least based on the postgame comments of Brad Ausmus.

Yankees 1, Blue Jays 0: Aaron Judge went 2-for-3 and doubled in the only run of the game. He’s off to a fast start in his first three big league games, going 5-for-10 with a double, two homers, two walks and three driven in. I haven’t listened, so someone has to tell me: has John Sterling annoyed people yet with “Here comes the Judge!” calls yet? I’m just guessing that’s what he’s using. Which, hey, I use old pop culture references all the time, so I can’t talk smack, but I feel like something from the 60s is pushing it.

Marlins 6, Reds 3: Chris Johnson must’ve read the A-Rod rumors over the weekend and wanted to show his worth (2-for-3, HR, 2B, 2 RBI). This was a three hour and forty one minute game which featured 11 pitchers. I’m sure it was riveting.

Rays 8, Padres 2: Logan Forsythe and Kevin Kiermaier each drove in three runs, the former with a two-run homer and a sac fly, the latter with a three-run shot. Drew Smyly allowed one run over seven. As a gift to Kiermaier for his excellent performance, I would like to direct him to the “Happy Homes” entry I recently submitted to the Cat Welfare of Ohio regarding the cats I adopted last year, whom he mocked on Twitter. I feel like once he reads their story his heart will melt and he will unblock me. Surely no man can be so heartless as to ignore a cute picture of kittens, right?

Rangers 5, Athletics 2: Down 2-1 in the fifth, Adrian Beltre hit a grand slam. That’ll do. Bad news, though: Shin-Soo Choo broke his arm on a HBP just a few pitches before that. He’s probably gone for the season. His 2016 campaign will end with him having played only 45 games due to a calf strain, a hamstring strain, lower back problems and now this. Tough break.

Nationals 5, Rockies 4: Max Scherzer wasn’t sharp but the Nats bullpen was and gave them room to come back from an early 3-0 deficit, capped by a Bryce Harper RBI double in the seventh. The Nationals have won four of five.

Diamondbacks 10, Mets 6: Wellington Castillo missed several days due to a paternity leave that turned into a brief bereavement leave due to complications with his wife and son. They’re OK now — bereavement leave can apply to sickness, not just death, thankfully — and Castillo made his return last night in style: he doubled twice, drove in two runs and scored twice while collecting four hits in all. Arizona reliever Robbie Ray did not have such a great day: he walked Bartolo Colon. That was the first time in his 19-year big league career anyone has walked Colon. I expect heavy fines for Ray from the Dbacks kangaroo court.

Mariners 3, Angels 2: Felix Hernandez won his 150th career game and Nelson Cruz homered to lead the M’s over the Angels. That’s 11 straight losses for Anaheim. If Mike Scioscia wasn’t named Dictator for Life back in 2005 or so, he’d probably be fired by now.

Pirates 8, Giants 5: Ryan Vogelsong got two World Series rings as a Giant. Last night he returned to AT&T Park as a visitor. And he did OK, pitching into the sixth inning and picking up a win. He had help from the offense, of course, particularly Gregory Polanco, who hit a two-run homer and singled in two more.

A-Rod’s publicist says he’s not playing for any other team this season

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Despite all of the speculation in the past 24 hours or so, it appears that Alex Rodriguez will not be playing for any other team this season.

Via Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, here is the statement from A-Rod’s publicist, Ron Berkowitz:

I want to put all this talk to rest about Alex playing for any team this season. It’s not happening. Like he said Friday night, he is happy and he is going to take some time to relax and hang with his family and friends.”

This obviously doesn’t rule out next year, when he’d still be available for the minimum salary. A-Rod may not want to play next year, but if he was going to play again, he may be best served by doing what he did leading into his mostly successful 2015: rest, work out like crazy, and come in fresh.

I still doubt he will and I seriously doubt whether he could duplicate his early 2015 success again — age, at some point, can’t be bargained with — but it’d be a better plan than trying to latch on to the Marlins or whoever in late August after the season he’s had