This afternoon, the Oakland Athletics continued an interestingly active off-season and laid down a two-year extension on outfielder Coco Crisp. This move continues a series of transactions over the off-season that has seen Oakland add payroll, most notably with the signings of free agent starting pitcher Scott Kazmir and trading second baseman Jemile Weeks and a PTBNL to the Baltimore Orioles for reliever Jim Johnson.
Crisp's extension contains $22.75 million guaranteed ($11 million each in 2015 and 2016), including a $750k buyout if he manages to not trigger his 2017 vesting option through one of many varied ways, including single season and two-year targets for plate appearances and games played (the vesting option is $13 million). Perhaps the most interesting condition is that if Crisp ends the 2016 on the disabled list, the option year is voided, regardless of whether he meets one or more conditions over the course of those two seasons.
In four seasons with the Athletics, Crisp has hit .264/.327/.414 with a 107 OPS+ in 462 games played (approximately 115 a year). Last season was his best with the team, hitting .261/.335/.444 with a 119 OPS+. He also managed a 20/20 season, hitting 22 home runs and stealing 21 bases.
He may see a defensive boost from being shifted away from center field, as his range has diminished over the last three seasons, but he hasn't been much of a burden with his defense, costing Oakland only half a Win in Defensive Runs Saved over three years. Shoulder issues and leg injuries, however, have limited his defensive utility, but there are certainly worse options that will be pushed out into center field by other teams around the league.
Including the extension, Crisp is now under contract for three years and $29.75 million with a 2017 vesting option of $12.25 million. It seems a curious contract to give a 33 year-old outfielder who has not played more than 136 games since 2007. Even more curious that the Oakland A's are giving it. Curioser still that it comes towards the end of an off-season that saw them outlay $22 million for Scott Kazmir and $10 million for Jim Johnson. If there were a sign of how the new television revenues have affected a team's ability to spend, Oakland might be your best case.