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Coco Crisp doesn’t want to give up center field unless Yoenis Cespedes is “a demigod”

Feb 15, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

crisp getty wide Getty Images

Things may change once everyone gets an extended look at Yoenis Cespedes during spring training, but for now the A’s are said to be thinking about starting him in center field and incumbent center fielder Coco Crisp isn’t thrilled about the news.

Crisp, who re-signed with the A’s for two years and $14 million in December, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he thinks leaving him in center field would be the best option:

I’m going to make all the plays. If someone feels there’s someone better than me, it’s hard for me to believe. Unless he’s a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field.

“Unless he’s a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field” might be the clubhouse leader for my favorite quote of the year.

And he’s probably right, because Crisp has generally graded out very well defensively in center field–his Ultimate Zone Rating was below average last season, but 30 runs above average for his career–and plenty of the scouting reports on Cespedes questioned whether he’d be best suited as a corner outfielder long term.

Crisp also noted that he chose to re-sign with the A’s in part because they offered him a chance to play center field, whereas the Rays wanted him as a left fielder. However, he also made it clear that ultimately he’ll play wherever the A’s want him. Whichever way the A’s align their outfield there will be a logjam, as Crisp and Cespedes playing every day would leave Seth Smith, Josh Reddick, Jonny Gomes, and Colin Cowgill fighting over one spot and possibly some designated hitter work … assuming Oakland doesn’t sign Manny Ramirez.

  1. Kyle - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I agree with you, that quote is straight GOLD.

  2. bloodysock - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    I’m pretty sure Jacoby Ellsbury outshined Coco which is part of the reason he was traded to KC and found himself in Oakland.

    • sandpiperair - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      And I guess Sizemore outshined him in Cleveland, too. Although as good as Sizemore is, watching Crisp play center in Boston makes that tough for me to believe,

  3. missthedayswhenwedidnthavetologin - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Replace Crisp with Damon (aging guy desperately trying to hang onto a starting job long enough to achieve 3000 hits/shot at HOF) being supplanted by the new overseas superstar and it’d make a good movie. Anyone remember the De Niro Snipes film ‘The Fan?’

  4. CJ - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    I’m pretty sure you don’t have to be a demigod to outshine Coco Crisp in center field. There are entire outfields that could outshine Crisp in center.

    • ptfu - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Cespedes is in the BSOHL and makes a lot more money than Crisp. If Crisp wants to keep his job, he better start an 80’s workout montage and get in BSOHL. Plus the montage would go with his fro.

    • dcfan4life - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      Not as many as you would think. He is solid and would be an upgrade defensively here in Washington from anything we have for example. Love the quote though.

  5. cur68 - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    By extension then, Crispy’s a god? Higher than a demi-god = god, right? All things considered (war, famine, earthquakes, tsunami’s, the ongoing presence of Buck & McCarver during WS broadcasts) this makes total sense. I wonder what he’s the god of? Possibly the god of saying ill-advised things to the media, given that statement.

    • stex52 - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      “When someone asks you if you’re a god, you say yes!”

      Different application, but it probably would work in baseball negotiations.

    • mcsnide - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      How dare you speak ill of the almighty CoCoFro, God of awesome hairdos. Bow before him, ye mighty, and despair:

      • cur68 - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:27 PM

        mcside FTW. Yup. Crisp OWNS god of CoCoFro status. Beat THAT, Cespedes!

    • kalinedrive - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      “By extension then, Crispy’s a god? Higher than a demi-god = god, right?”

      Sorry, cur, your logic is flawed here. Coco is saying “Unless he’s a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field.” This means that a demigod would be greater than him, not that he is greater than a demigod. In this regard, Crisp can remain a mere mortal, albeit a magnificent one, and yet be outdone by a demigod. If he were actually claiming to be higher than a demi-god, he wouldn’t allow for the possibility of being bested by one.

      • cur68 - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        Ah, reading fail on my part. I’m not the demi-god of reading comprehension, I guess. Thanks for the heads up.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Trade Reddick to the Yankees for AJ Burnett. Next year, Reddick is the Yankees starting RF, and all star. Boston fans die a little inside.

  7. cshearing - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Crisp does make sense, even if he couched it in silly words. He is an established center fielder with good defensive credentials. Cespedes is wholly unproven. The only smart thing seems to be to start him at a corner OF position and see how things go.

  8. APBA Guy - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Controversy swirling in Oakland! I love it, something to talk about that doesn’t begin with “Oakland’s loss last night was another in a series of horrific displays of baseball ineptitude…”.

    Anyway, CoCo is making the great leap of faith that he’ll be healthy enough to play center on a regular basis. The Great and Powerful Beane has learned that his players have a habit of collapsing in heaps starting almost as soon as they lace ’em up, so he’s got plenty of overlapping outfielders, demi-gods or not.

  9. Gamera the Brave - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    And this is why I come to HBT! A Percy Shelley reference, right next to a Ghostbusters pull. Nice…

  10. CJ - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    even a Demi Moore could outshine Crisp in center

    • sandpiperair - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      I disagree with what you say, but I like the way you say it.
      There should be a third option like that next to the thumbs up/thumbs down.

  11. snowbirdgothic - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Now playing center field for the Oakland A’s, Number 54, Percy Jackson…

  12. schaffershokai - Feb 16, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    To keep up his game, he needs to do this once a day:

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