Crisp could fill Giant hole in center field


The San Francisco Giants have a lot of questions to address this offseason. One of the most pressing questions is: who will be the everyday center fielder?

Andres Torres is arbitration eligible and it’s unclear whether the Giants will bring him back. The speedy leadoff hitter followed up his breakout 2010 season with a dismal 2011 season, batting just .221 with a .312 On-Base Percentage, and will turn 34 during the 2012 season.

Cody Ross was not offered a contract during the Giants exclusive negotiating window and is now a free agent.

Gary Brown is the center fielder of the future, but probably wont be ready to contribute regularly until 2013.

That means the Giants are going to have to wade into the free agent ocean and pluck a nice, new shiny fish.

One of the names linked to the Giants for a few months is Coco Crisp, formerly of the cross-town Oakland A’s, and Crisp’s agent Steve Comte is already planting the seed for a possible union between the two, telling The Chronicle’s Susan Slusser that his client wants to “play for a team that is determined to compete, and he’s also like to stay on the West Coast.”

Comte went on to say that “the Giants would be a viable option for him and vice versa.”

Crisp would be the optimal player for the Giants, who need a player that can get on base and put himself into scoring position by stealing bases. Crisp tied for the American League lead with 49 stolen bases in 2011.

Crisp could probably get a three-year deal if he wants it, but the Giants would be wise to offer him a two-year, $15 million deal. He could keep the position warm for Brown and mentor him in 2013, while still being the productive leadoff hitter and center fielder the Giants need to get back to the postseason.

Another option includes Grady Sizemore, the oft-injured but supremely talented Indians center fielder, but for a team that expects to contend in 2012, Sizemore is a big risk to take. If he gets hurt and they don’t have a viable back-up plan, it will severely set the team back.

For 2012, Crisp is the player the Giants need. He’s low-risk, high-reward and he wont lock the Giants into a long or expensive commitment while helping them contend for another World Series title.

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