In an effort to keep Coco Crisp healthier after missing at least 25 games in each of the past four seasons, the A’s announced that the longtime center fielder is moving to left field.
Crisp is 35 years old, which is past the point when most center fielders shift to corner spots. He graded out very poorly in advanced defensive metrics last year, rating -14 runs in Ultimate Zone Rating and -17 runs in Defensive Runs Saved. So there’s more to the move than health considerations.
The move leaves Craig Gentry and Sam Fuld to platoon in center field, which figures to be a large upgrade defensively but ensures the A’s will have a lineup spot with very little pop offensively. In the short term it doesn’t change much, since Gentry and Fuld were going to play in left field anyway, but it does cut down on potential lineup options later.