The A's have agreed to a two-year, $14 million contract with center fielder Coco Crisp, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to this newspaper.
Final details are still being ironed out, but an announcement might come as soon as Wednesday. Crisp will get $6 million in 2012 and $7 million in 2013. The team holds a $7.5 million option for 2014 but can buy Crisp out for $1 million. The outfielder gets a $250,000 bonus if he's traded.
For a team that has traded away three All-Star pitchers -- Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey -- in the past month, the re-signing of at least one recognizable name should come as refreshing news to fans.
It certainly was welcomed by A's shortstop Cliff Pennington, who admitted he was surprised to hear Crisp will return given how many veterans have been shipped off.
"We've been losing a lot of guys," Pennington said. "To get a guy like that to come back is awesome."
The 32-year-old Crisp -- who hit .264 with eight homers and 54 RBIs last season and tied for the American League lead with 49 stolen bases -- said in September that signing with a contending team was important to him as he entered free agency.
The A's don't seem to fit that mold given their roster dismantling, which makes Crisp's decision rather surprising.
Crisp was not available for comment, and neither his agent, Steve Comte, nor A's general manager Billy Beane, would discuss the deal because
But Comte was asked how Crisp viewed the A's franchise given the core players that have been traded.
"Billy always finds a way to piece it together," Comte said. "I think we've seen a few teams with young talent that have probably exceeded expectations."
Beane hinted during the winter meetings that re-signing Crisp was a long shot, and Comte claimed more than a dozen teams showed interest in him.
The Chicago Cubs were viewed as a possible destination, but Comte said the Cubs weren't willing to sign Crisp until their other potential moves played out.
"Chicago would have been a great place for Coco, but we just can't wait indefinitely," Comte said.
"He was going to decide New Year's Day, and that's what we did."
It's also possible that no teams were willing to offer the injury-prone switch hitter as much money as the A's, particularly on a two-year commitment.
Oakland had just $22.9 million committed to its 2012 payroll before agreeing to terms with Crisp, according to the Cot's Baseball Contracts website.
The departure of free agents Josh Willingham and David DeJesus left the A's lacking outfield depth, and Crisp's return provides them a sure-handed center fielder.
Might his signing also help their image? The A's have taken a beating among their fan base for unloading players such as Gonzalez and Bailey and seemingly throwing in the towel on 2012.
It remains to be seen what other moves might come. As the roster stands, Josh Reddick, whom the A's acquired from Boston in the Bailey deal, will play right field. Michael Taylor and Collin Cowgill are among those competing in left. The A's, who finished 12th out of 14 A.L. teams last season in runs (645) and homers (114), still lack any sort of proven power hitter.
Also Tuesday, the A's traded outfielder Jai Miller to the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations. Miller was designated for assignment by the A's on Dec. 23.