HOUSTON -- The A's and Cleveland Indians made official Wednesday morning what was reported here Tuesday night, that veteran outfielder Coco Crisp has been traded back to his original club.
Crisp began his major-league career with Cleveland in 2002 and played there for four seasons. He's been one of the faces of the A's since 2010, but that ended when he waived his 10-and-5 rights to not be traded (10 years in the majors, the last five with the same team) in order to accept the deal.
The A's, who will also send cash to the Indians, are getting left-handed pitcher Colt Hynes from Cleveland. Hynes, 31, started the year in the Toronto Blue Jays organization before being traded to the Indians. He has a 3-1 record, two saves and a 3.99 ERA while bouncing between Double-A and Triple-A in both organizations
The money the A's are sending will help defray the Indians' costs for Crisp, who is owed a little less than $2 million for the rest of this season plus a $750,000 buyout of his 2017 contract.
Despite sending cash to Cleveland, the trade frees the A's of having Crisp's massive $13 million contract on their books next season. He had played in 102 games at the time of the deal, and the $13 million in 2017 would vest if he would have reached 130 games played.
The big payout now is a remote possibility -- the Indians have 31 games left on their schedule, but Crisp isn't expected to play every day for the Indians. Instead, he's expected to help fill in for injured outfielder Michael Brantley, who is out for the season.
Crisp was unhappy that his playing time had been reduced by the A's to a point where it became unlikely he would be able to reach the 130-game mark.
"I know some strings are being pulled," he said in mid-August. "It all seems a little suspect.''
Crisp was limited to just 44 games last year by head and neck injuries, and even this year needed to alter his daily game preparation to be able to be ready, including the use of pain-killers.
"I haven't felt this good in a couple of years,'' Crisp said at the time.
And it showed. The A's have used the disabled list a club record 27 times in 2016, but Crisp didn't appear on it.
With Crisp traded, Oakland has contracts with just five players for 2017. Designated hitter Billy Butler, second baseman Jed Lowrie and relievers Ryan Madson, John Axford and Sean Doolittle are locked in for next season at a total of $32.1 million.
Crisp's former A's teammates were unhappy to see him go but delighted that the 36-year-old switch-hitter was getting a chance to play in a pennant race, the Indians attempting to hold off the Tigers and the Royals in the American League Central.
"It's tough so see him go,'' left fielder Khris Davis said. "But I'm glad for him to have a chance to go back home where it started and be in the race. It's what we all want to do at some point, to get a chance to play for a winner.''
The A's are bringing up second baseman Joey Wendle to fill Crisp's spot on the roster, with Wendle and fellow rookie Chad Pinder likely to share time at the position. Crisp's spot in the outfield will be spread among Danny Valencia, Jake Smolinski and Brett Eibner, with Eibner likely to get the bulk of the playing time.
As far as the top of the Oakland lineup goes, the A's, who traded Billy Burns last month, don't have a true leadoff hitter. Smolinski and shortstop Marcus Semien are the only players on the current roster who have led off for Oakland this year, Semien having done it seven times and Smolinski three times.