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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.

Yankees place Aaron Judge (strained calf) on IL

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Yankees star Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list with a right calf strain before Friday night’s game against Boston and manager Aaron Boone is optimistic the outfielder will not miss significant time.

The move was retroactive to Wednesday and Boone described the strain as mild after an MRI revealed the injury. To replace Judge on the roster, Thairo Estrada was recalled from the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Judge began Friday leading the majors with nine homers and tied with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the major league lead with 20 RBIs.

“It’s something that I think he really wants to try and work through here and kind of wants to be out here and feels like it’s a day-to-day thing which it may very well be, but I just think obviously it goes without saying how important a player Aaron is to us,” Boone said.

Boone had said last weekend’s series on the artificial turf in Tampa Bay took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.

Judge joined Giancarlo Stanton as the second Yankees slugger to land on the injured list this. Stanton was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring after getting hurt in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader.

“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players,” Boone said. “Obviously that is a blow, especially two guys that playing well as they are right now.”

Judge was pulled for a pinch hitter during Tuesday night’s win over Atlanta and didn’t play Wednesday. The Yankees were off Thursday.

The 28-year-old All-Star missed time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries. His right wrist was broken when he was hit by a pitch in 2018 and he went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.

Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and would not have been ready for the season opener if the season began as scheduled on March 26.