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Coco Crisp and David DeJesus Could be Dealt and the DH Market

July 21, 2011

While it would not be surprising if either Coco Crisp or David DeJesus were dealt today we have more rumors for the former and finally have the accompanying rumors for the latter. Regarding Coco Crisp, today’s potential suitor is his former team the Cleveland Indians. Crisp spent four seasons with the Tribe having some of his best years with the club putting up a .287/.332/.424 slash line and 10.1 WAR over 415 games. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweeted this potential move writing,

“the #indians called on Ryan Ludwick and are eying Coco Crisp. could battle cross-state #reds/others for the 2 ex-indians”

Coco who is a free-agent after this season, would help out the Indians who today learned that they have lost Grady Sizemore for 4-6 weeks yet again due to the injury, on top of the injuries that already plague other outfield members like Shin-Soo Choo. The Indians, a team on the rise who have sort of arrived (I am not yet a believer) earlier than anticipated likely would not part with any major pieces to acquire Crisp, but that said they do have a robust farm system.

Meanwhile, what a difference a year makes for David DeJesus. Last year he was the belle of the trade deadline ball before injury cut short his 2010 campaign and this year he is the epitome of afterthought. One team having a thought about him (mind you after they thought about Conor Jackson and Josh Willingham) is the Pittsburgh Pirates tweets Buster Olney of ESPN. He writes,

“The Pirates have talked internally about pursuing David DeJesus, but it’s unclear whether they will follow up aggressively with Oakland.”

I have written before that I’d love to see the A’s try and buy low on an extension with DeJesus. Of course, if I am DeJesus’ agent, I might suggest he stick to a one-year deal in a more hitter-friendly park and then rebuild his value on the 2011-2012 market but we can always dream right? DeJesus is a good baseball player having a very bad year, presently sporting a .229/.319/.342 slash line and being worth a disappointing 0.6 WAR. His K% at 16.0% is his career’s highest, his batting average, wOBA (.300) and wRC+ (90) also represent career lows. He has been hurt to a degree by poor luck, as his career low .263 BABIP can attest, and has in particular inexplicably struggled versus southpaws:

  BA OBP SLG K% BABIP wOBA
Career vs. LHP .265 .330 .360 13.4% .302 .308
2011 vs. LHP .141 .183 .141 21.7% .183 .154

With a full 25.5% of his plate appearances coming against LHPs this season it is easy to see how this drags down his overall numbers. Between 2004 and 2010 DeJesus was an average 2.8 WAR player, despite playing more than 135 games twice in that span. He is a productive player, and I am frankly surprised more teams haven’t been willing to bank on a comeback of sorts from a guy who has been a solid contributor for years. It is unclear what DeJesus could yield in a trade but at this point I imagine it would be comparable to what Crisp or Jackson could fetch.

One other interesting article, unrelated to trades though, was in today’s Newsday where Ken Davidoff wrote about Hideki Matsui‘s 500th home run but really focused on the struggles of designated hitters in 2011. The old sort of typical DH, the veteran guy unable to play in the field but still a dangerous slugger may be a thing of the past he writes, saying

“Veteran DHs, in fact, appear to be an endangered species. Consider that, as we approach the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline, we’re not hearing too many names of rent-a-bats. That’s because the veteran DHs for many out-of-contention American League teams are so bad that they wouldn’t even draw anything in a trade…

…[then perhaps alluding to the use of amphetamines] From a visceral sense, it just feels weird to see so many big, accomplished names fading away so quietly. “

Interesting stuff, but it will be interesting to see how this changes the marketplace in the offseason. Already we saw guys who would’ve been far more expensive in the past come down significantly in price. As a longer term question, how does this change the types of players organizations look to for designated hitters. Could the A’s going with a young player like Chris Carter to be a designated hitter from near day one be the beginning of things to come?

Also as an update to yesterday’s post regarding a potential trade of Craig Breslow and Josh Willingham to the Pirates with a possibility that Garrett Jones would be coming back, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Rob Biertempfel clarified his tweet from yesterday. He had written that with this move Jones would be out the door, and it appeared as if it meant in the trade while it apparently meant to mean there would be no place for him with the Pirates. That makes any trade with the Pirates far more palatable.

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