A’s close to signing Crisp

The Oakland Athletics were closing in on a deal Sunday with

free-agent outfielder Coco Crisp on a one-year contract with a club

option for the 2011 season.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed an

impending deal on condition of anonymity because a formal

announcement had not been made by the club. That could come soon.

The 30-year-old Crisp can play all three outfield positions

but is primarily a center fielder. While the A’s have been happy

with Rajai Davis, he might wind up playing one of the corner spots

to clear room for Crisp in center.

Crisp underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in June and

batted .228 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in only 49 games last

season for the Kansas City Royals, who last month declined their $8

million option to bring Crisp back in 2010.

Crisp, who could bat leadoff or high in the order for the

A’s, has said he expects to be full strength by the start of spring

training in February.

He was traded to the Royals from the Boston Red Sox in

November 2008. He spent parts of three seasons with Boston

following four years with the Cleveland Indians. Before his

shortened 2009 campaign, the speedy Crisp had stolen at least 15

bases in all but his rookie season with Cleveland in ’02.

Crisp would be just the latest move in an active winter for

Oakland general manager Billy Beane, who earlier this month

acquired third baseman Jake Fox, second baseman Aaron Miles and

cash considerations from the Chicago Cubs for three players.

Oakland also was included in the big four-team, nine-player

swap Wednesday featuring Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay that brought

outfielder Michael Taylor to the A’s. Oakland sent third baseman

Brett Wallace to Toronto.

Beane is committed to largely rebuilding the organization

from the ground up, starting at the lowest levels of the farm

system, while finding key pieces from the outside that fit the mix.

The A’s finished with 75 wins for the second straight season

and in last place in the AL West, losing their final seven games.