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Covelli Loyce Crisp Resigns With Athletics $14 Million Deal

January 26, 2012 by staff 

Covelli Loyce Crisp Resigns With Athletics $14 Million Deal, Covelli Loyce “Coco” Crisp (born November 1, 1979) is an American professional baseball center fielder playing for the Oakland Athletics. Crisp is a switch-hitter and throws right-handed. He previously played for the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics.

Crisp was originally nicknamed “Coco” by his sister and brother who teased him that he looked like one of the characters on the Cocoa Krispies cereal box. The nickname did not stick, however, until he started playing AA baseball. The team had all the players fill out a questionnaire form to get to know one another. Covelli listed “Coco” as his nickname on the form. His teammates thought the name was funny, so they had it put on the scoreboard during the game. After a week and a half, he was traded to another team, but the nickname stuck, and he has been “Coco Crisp” ever since.

Crisp was born in Los Angeles, California on November 1, 1979. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft.
In his minor league career, Crisp played for Cardinals affiliates in four different leagues from 1999 to 2001. He opened the 2002 season with the New Haven Ravens, then the Double-A Eastern League affiliate of the Cardinals. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians on August 7, 2002, to complete an earlier trade for pitcher Chuck Finley. In the Indians organization, he played for their Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. Crisp had 69 hits, one home run, and 24 RBI before being called up by the Indians.
Crisp became the starting center fielder with the Indians in mid-2002, replacing the injured Matt Lawton. For the next few seasons, Crisp established a reputation as an excellent fielder and speedy baserunner. Despite his success, Crisp had to fight for his roster spot each spring. In 2005, Crisp moved to left field following the emergence of another young outfielder, Grady Sizemore. In his final two seasons with the Indians, Crisp showcased his offensive talent by batting .297 and .300 with 31 total home runs and 35 steals.
After Johnny Damon signed with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox sought Crisp to fill Damon’s role both in center field and as a lead-off hitter. In January 2006, the Red Sox sent prospect third baseman Andy Marté, pitcher Guillermo Mota, catcher Kelly Shoppach, a player to be named later (Minor Leaguer Randy Newsom), and cash considerations to the Indians for Crisp, catcher Josh Bard and pitcher David Riske. Already a fan favorite in Cleveland, Crisp saw his national fame jump dramatically upon entering big-market Boston.

After a promising start to his Red Sox career, which included signing a 3-year contract extension worth $15.5 million, Crisp broke his left index finger attempting to steal third base and spent the next 42 games on the disabled list. After returning to the Red Sox outfield on May 28, Kevin Youkilis had taken over the leadoff spot, and Crisp usually batted 7th or 8th in the line-up for the rest of the year. In 105 games, he had a .264 batting average with 8 home runs and 36 RBI. Besides his injury, Crisp’s 2006 season may be best remembered for a fantastic catch against the New York Mets on June 29.

Crisp began the 2007 season struggling offensively. On April 20, 2007, Crisp fell over a short wall at Fenway Park while trying to catch a home run by Alex Rodriguez. Although he was unable to make the catch, missing by inches, he hit a game tying triple off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the eighth. The Red Sox went on to win 7-6. During this season, he made numerous impressive catches in the outfield. It has even been claimed by one major league club that Crisp is easily the best defensive center fielder in all of Major League Baseball. Although he struggled at the plate throughout much of the season, between June 13 and July 5, Crisp raised his batting average from .221 to .265, and after a 3 for 4 game on July 22, he raised his average to a season high .277. On June 18, entering the game with only two home runs in the season, Crisp belted two homers in the first multi-HR game of his career in a 9-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

On August 5, Crisp was almost run over by the Seattle Mariners’ mascot, the Mariner Moose. The Moose, driving a lap around Safeco Field’s warning track on an ATV, nearly collided with Crisp as he was leaving the dugout for his position in the middle of the fifth inning; Crisp had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell was incensed by the mascot’s actions and voiced his displeasure to both the mascot and Seattle’s head groundskeeper. Immediately following the incident, the Red Sox received an apology from Mariners GM Bill Bavasi.

On October 21, in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, Crisp made the catch that sent Boston to their second World Series in four seasons. He hit the wall shortly after making the catch, minorly injuring himself in the process. He was well enough to play in the World Series though.

Although he was the team’s starting center fielder throughout the 2007 season, he was benched mid-series during the ALCS for rookie Jacoby Ellsbury. He remained benched for the 2007 World Series, only appearing late in games for defensive substitutions.

On December 20, 2009, Crisp reached an agreement with the Oakland Athletics on a 1 year deal worth $5 million a year with a club option for 2011.

On December 23, 2009, Crisp officially signed his 1 year contract with the Oakland Athletics.

Crisp began the 2010 season on the 15 day-DL with a fractured left pinkie finger.

Crisp entered the current 2011 season exercising his one-year option with the Oakland Athletics. On August 24, Crisp homered from both sides of the plate against the New York Yankees. In that game, he hit a game-winning three-run home run in the top of the 10th inning on the first pitch he saw against reliever Rafael Soriano.

Crisp re-signed with Athletics on January 3, 2012 on a two year, $14 million deal with a club option for 2014.

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