Friday, March 6, 2009
Crosby unhappy with A's additions
ESPN.com news services
PHOENIX -- Nomar Garciaparra and Orlando Cabrera finalized one-year contracts with the Oakland Athletics on Friday, relegating shortstop Bobby Crosby to a backup role.
Shortly before introducing Garciaparra and Cabrera to the media, the Athletics met with Crosby, who has publicly expressed his displeasure.
"We had a conversation with him this morning,'' assistant GM David Forst told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. "Some things were addressed, but I don't want to go into what we talked about.''
Cabrera will displace Crosby as Oakland's regular shortstop, and Garciaparra could further reduce any at-bats Crosby might get coming off the bench.
"I've enjoyed it here, but the best thing for me is to go somewhere I can be an everyday shortstop," Crosby told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this week amid reports of the signings. "They've made up their minds, and I just hope they can give me the opportunity to move on."
Crosby won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2004. But he's since been dogged by injuries, and he batted .229, .226 and .237 over the past three seasons.
Cabrera got a $4 million deal, and Garciaparra was guaranteed $1 million with the chance to make $250,000 each in performance and roster bonuses.
The 34-year-old Cabrera had been in camp for two days and worked out with the A's before Friday's exhibition against the Seattle Mariners.
"I'm just happy to be playing baseball," he said Thursday in a brief statement.
Garciaparra, limited to 55 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season because of injuries, was due to arrive in camp before game time. The 35-year-old batted .264 with eight homers and 28 RBIs last year, and strongly considered retirement in the offseason.
"I was pretty close," Garciaparra said. "The biggest thing is that I felt like I needed to know if I was capable of going out and playing. When it came down to it, the situation presented itself here.
"There's a good combination of young guys with talent, great arms and veteran guys," Garciaparra said. "With Jason Giambi coming back, that's huge. He's been through the system here. I'm going to enjoy watching Matt Holliday hit every day with me instead of against me."
A six-time All-Star, Garciaparra spent a majority of his three years with the Dodgers at first base. He also played shortstop and third base, and the A's are likely to find playing time for him at more than one position.
Garciaparra started his career with the Boston Red Sox, hitting 30 or more home runs twice and driving in 100 or more runs four times in nine seasons. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1997 and was second in the AL MVP voting in 1998, but is no longer the feared hitter who ranked among the game's best for a decade.
He has played in the NL since the Chicago Cubs acquired him from Boston in July 2004.
Cabrera, a two-time Gold Glove winner, hit .281 with eight homers and 57 RBIs in 161 games with the Chicago White Sox last season. He's also played for the Montreal Expos, the Red Sox, and the Los Angeles Angels over a 12-year career.
"There's a lot of room for improvement in my career," Cabrera said. "If I stay healthy I know I can help my team win games. The numbers will come. I feel like I could play four or five more years."
Oakland's willingness to spend for Cabrera and Garciaparra after trading for Holliday and signing Giambi during the winter indicates A's GM Billy Beane believes the team is ready to challenge the Los Angeles Angels for the AL West title.
"I think we have a great chance to go to the postseason," Cabrera said. "We have the challenge of taking over the West."
Forst indicated there was no talk of "going for it" but that the club was always looking for talent.
"This is an important addition to the club," Forst said. "We feel like we've greatly improved our team."
The addition of both infielders gives the young A's four players 34 and older. Russ Springer (40) and Giambi (37) are the oldest players on the roster.
Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this story.