The only problem with having a breakout season is that it leaves quite an act to follow.
That’s the situation A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson finds himself in. He came out of nowhere in 2013 to finish fourth in the American League MVP voting in his first full season in the majors. He’s a national name now, and he was being pulled from all directions Friday for interview requests during the A’s media session to advance Saturday’s FanFest.
How does he top himself in 2014? Donaldson said he won’t get caught up trying to do so.
“For me, I look at success as being able to help my team win,” he said. “If I can continue to do one thing positive a game for my team to win that game, to me that’s being successful. It’s not the numbers at the end of the day. More times than not, if you’re helping your team win, the numbers are gonna be there.”
Coco Crisp received a two-year contract extension worth a guaranteed $22.75 million Friday, and for testimony on just how pivotal he is to the A’s, just ask one of his outfield teammates.
“The fact that the Athletics signed Coco is great for the team because he’s the real key for this team,” left fielder Yoenis Cespedes said. “He’s the inspiration for this team. He does so much.”
[RELATED: Cespedes guarantees playoffs for A's in 2014]
Crisp, 34, will be paid $7.5 million this season on a club option that was previously exercised. He’ll receive $11 million in both 2015 and 2016. There’s a $13 million vesting option for 2017 that can kick in based on several incentives – if Crisp reaches 550 plate appearances in 2016 or 1,000 plate appearances in 2015-16 combined; if he plays in 130 games in 2016 or 260 games in 2015-16 combined.
The 260 combined games must come with no fewer than 110 played in 2016, and he can't finish the 2016 season on the disabled list. If the option doesn’t vest, there’s a $750,000 buyout.
Crisp hit .261 last season with a career-high 22 homers and 66 RBI, becoming the A’s first 20-homer, 20-steal player since 1993. He’s been a catalyst from the leadoff spot for the A’s when healthy, and he’s provided excellent defense in center field.
Crisp said his stolen bases fell off last season because “I was a little beat up with my legs. … Hopefully I can get on base and be the player that I know I can be on the base paths.”
Reliever Sean Doolittle was a guest speaker last month at a fundraiser at the University of Virginia, his alma mater. Also present was keynote speaker and Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, a man Doolittle has known for years. Doolittle was college teammates with Farrell’s son, Jeremy.
Doolittle didn’t talk much pitching with the Boston skipper, but he said Farrell relayed a good message about the challenge that awaits his own team as the Sox come off a World Series championship.
“On maybe a smaller scale, it applies to us,” Doolittle said. “ Granted, ours is a division title. But however you wanna slice it up, we both have a target on our backs. You have to turn page in a sense from the previous year.” **
FanFest, with activities planned for both O.co Coliseum and Oracle Arena, will carry on rain or shine Saturday. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and sold out earlier in the week. One player on the initial confirmed list who will not be in attendance -- right fielder Josh Reddick