OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Coco Crisp offered a long list of reasons why Oakland is such a great fit for him for years to come — his sentiments the same whether or not he had a nice new contract to his name.
The Athletics have mutual strong feelings about their do-everything center fielder and speedy leadoff man, who is staying with the A's for an additional two seasons after agreeing Friday to a new contract through 2016 that adds $22.75 million in guaranteed money.
"It's nice. I don't think it was weighing on me too much," Crisp said Friday, a day before Oakland holds its FanFest. "Either way, if it happened after the season or before, this is the place I want to be."
The deal includes a 2017 option that could become guaranteed, the A's said. Crisp was set to attend FanFest on Saturday with the two-time reigning AL West champions, a week ahead of the start of spring training in Phoenix.
Crisp has a $7.5 million salary this year under a club option exercised Nov. 1. He will earn $11 million per season in 2015 and 2016, and the 2017 option is for $13 million with a $750,000 buyout.
A switch-hitter who gets things going at the top of the lineup with his aggressive baserunning and, more recently, pop in his bat — Crisp hit a career-high 22 home runs last year.
"I'm just grateful they put me up there and give me the opportunity to do that. If I hit 22, that'd be awesome. If I hit 23, that'd be better," Crisp said, grinning. "If the best part of the wood gets ahold of the balls, that would be amazing."
The 34-year-old Crisp, starting his fifth season with the A's, hasn't played more than 136 games in a season since arriving in the Bay Area. He batted .261 with the 22 homers, 66 RBIs and 21 steals last year.
Despite the power surge, Crisp has refused to call himself a home run hitter. Yet he does hope to duplicate that production in 2014.
"That's a lot of home runs. It's really impressive for a leadoff hitter," new infielder Nick Punto said. "He might not call himself a home run hitter but he has some pop in the bat."
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