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A's banking on healthy Crisp, not seeking OF help

GM Forst likes depth in outfield, weighing best route to acquire starting pitcher

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The uncertainty surrounding the health of A's left fielder Coco Crisp isn't enough of a concern to make general manager David Forst start a wholesale search for new outfielders this winter.

Forst, speaking Wednesday at the General Managers Meetings at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, said Crisp is currently feeling good. He had elbow surgery last year to remove bone chips and then battled a neck injury for much of the season.

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"When he doesn't play for a month, that's when he feels the best," Forst said. "I think we're going to go through the offseason assuming he's working hard, but he always comes in feeling great. It's the baseball activity that aggravates his neck. We'll just remain hopefully optimistic on Coco that he can get to a place where playing every day doesn't set him back."

Crisp, 36, was limited to 44 games last season, hitting just .175 with six RBIs. He's two years removed from hitting .261 with 22 homers and 66 RBIs and still figures to be a key part of Oakland's plans going forward.

"[Crisp's health] creates some uncertainty, but luckily the group of [Josh] Reddick, [Billy] Burns and [Mark] Canha we feel very good about, and [Jake] Smolinski did a really nice job as well," Forst said. "We have some coverage there."

Meanwhile, Forst said the club is still weighing the most desirable route to acquire a starting pitcher -- whether it is through free agency or trade -- admitting the free-agent market will be expensive. He said the team laid some groundwork the last few days, though, for future moves.

"You never sort of know what actually leads to something, but it's been a good environment here to have one-on-one conversations with clubs and get a chance to meet some agents," he said.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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