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Oakland Athletics Exercise Coco Crisp, Mark Ellis Options, Decline Eric Chavez Option

The Oakland Athletics began getting their house in order this offseason by clearing up and assigning some cash. In the least surprising move just about ever, the A’s declined the $12.5 million option on third baseman Eric Chavez. The decline of the option means the A’s will instead pay him a $3 million buyout. Life’s certainly rough for Chavez.

Chavez was the guy more or less “chosen” by Billy Beane to be given a long term extension back when Beane was letting players walk at free agency. The team signed him to a big extension in 2004 while letting the likes of Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada walk in free agency. It remains to be seen whether it would have been smart to re-sign either of them, but it’s clear that the Eric Chavez contract did not work out as hoped. Although Chavez was an outstanding Gold Glove third baseman, his offensive numbers never lived up to his immense potential and he was beset by an inordinate amount of injuries throughout the life of the contract. Chavez is now contemplating retirement.

On the flipside, the Oakland A’s announced they had exercised the 2011 contract options for OF Coco Crisp and 2B Mark Ellis. Crisp’s option is worth $5.75 million and Ellis’ option is worth $6 million. The team is considering a long term extension for Ellis but negotiations have only just begun.

The Crisp option makes sense, particularly if Crisp can stay healthy. When healthy he brought some excitement to the top of the A’s lineup and keyed an impressive base running attack. Crisp stole 32 bases in only 75 games and will look to spark the A’s offensive attack in 2011.