A's close to deal with Coco Crisp

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According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Athletics are close to signing free agent outfielder Coco Crisp to a one-year contract worth between $4.5 million-5 million.
The Padres also expressed interest in the 30-year-old outfielder, but
Crisp elected to join Oakland’s crowded outfield, instead. I’m guessing
it’s for the contract security, which also reportedly includes an
option for 2011.




Crisp batted .228/.336/.378 with
three home runs, 14 RBI, 14 stolen bases and 30 runs scored in 49 games
for the Royals in ’09 before undergoing season-ending rotator cuff
surgery on both shoulders. He is expected to be ready in time for
spring training. Crisp is a .277/.331/.407 career hitter over eight
major league seasons.




It’s a pretty odd move by general
manager Billy Beane with Rajai Davis coming off a tremendous second
half and with plenty of quality outfielders already in the
organization. Crisp hasn’t played a single game outside center field
since 2005, so now Davis will likely move to a corner spot, with Scott
Hairston and Ryan Sweeney filling in around them.




Beane had talked about prospect Chris Carter playing some outfield,
but he may find himself back at first base after the signing of Crisp.
Don’t forget that the Athletics also traded Brett Wallace to the Blue
Jays in exchange for prospect outfielder Michael Taylor last week.
Taylor, 24, batted .282/.359/.491 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 128
at-bats at the Triple-A level last season and isn’t that far from making a splash
on the major league level. He’s almost surely destined to be a corner
outfielder, but hopefully Beane won’t block his progress.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.