Crosby in dark about future with A's
Shortstop responds to rumors of team exploring free agents
OAKLAND -- With the A's apparently ramping up their pursuit of free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, Bobby Crosby is in limbo.
Oakland's first-round pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft and the 2004 American League Rookie of the Year, Crosby is in the strange position of being under contract with a team that's actively looking to replace him.
That's life in the business that is big league baseball, and Crosby, who spoke with MLB.com by phone Friday afternoon, is doing the best he can to deal with his uncertain reality.
"It's definitely different," said Crosby, whose name surfaced in a Web report earlier in the day that said that the Orioles have talked to the A's about trading for him. "It'd be one thing if I was a free agent, because you have some sort of control in that situation, but this is totally out of my control. I've heard about [the A's] going after Furcal and maybe some other guys, but I can't do anything about it. All I can do is prepare for the season, because I know I'll be playing baseball somewhere next year.
"If it's Oakland, great. I love playing in Oakland, and I love the organization. But not many guys get to play their whole career in the same place."
A free agent after the 2009 season, in which he'll make $5.25 million, Crosby, who turns 29 in January, said he hasn't heard a word from the A's since the end of the season. He hadn't heard of any teams interested in trading for him, either, until being told about the Orioles' reported interest.
A Major League source said Friday that the Cardinals might talk to the A's about trading for Crosby, too.
"I don't really know how any of this is supposed to work," Crosby admitted. "You probably know more about it than I do. I haven't spoken to anyone from the team, and my agent [Paul Cohen] hasn't, either, so your guess is as good as mine as to what's going on."
Oft-injured and limited to 273 games between 2005-07, Crosby played in more than 96 games last season for the first time since his rookie year, batting .237 with seven homers, 61 RBIs and a .297 on-base percentage in 145 games.
He also hit a team-high 39 doubles and finished second on the team with 66 runs scored.
Despite the very public signs suggesting otherwise, A's manager Bob Geren insisted that the club still has confidence in Crosby, who had career-highs of 22 homers and 64 RBIs as a rookie.
"Bobby's a very talented player, a very good player," Geren said. "I can't comment on all the talk that's going on, but in this game, every player has to deal with that kind of thing at some point during their career."
Were the A's to sign Furcal or another shortstop, it's possible Crosby could be used as a utility infielder in the unlikely event that Oakland doesn't find a suitable trade partner. Third baseman Eric Chavez and second baseman Mark Ellis are both recovering from right shoulder surgery.
Crosby, while clearly not thrilled by the prospect of playing anywhere other than shortstop, suggested he'd do whatever the team needed if either Chavez or Ellis weren't ready for the start of the season, and he were still in Oakland.
"Of course," he said, "but I haven't played third base since I was 10 years old. It wouldn't be ideal. Second base is a lot more similar to playing shortstop, so it'd be easier to move over there, but I see myself as a shortstop, and that's where I want to play."
Asked when he last played second base, Crosby poked some fun at himself.
"I played second base in my sophomore year of high school. The coach's son beat me out at shortstop," he explained, before adding with a laugh, "I tell my friends, 'You can tell I'm over it 10 years later, too.'"
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.