The reality of Bobby Crosby becoming the shortstop the Oakland A's thought he would become came to an abrupt end when the A's signed Orlando Cabrera as a free agent. Crosby isn't happy at all about this recent development. But the A's have done the right thing and Crosby apparently is unaware of his own numbers and how they compare with the rest of his peers.
It has to be hard and you have to feel for Crosby. He's been the star his whole life and was the next big thing for the Oakland A's when he came to the league. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2004, despite batting only .239. He was a good fielder and hit 22 homers that year. Injuries scuttled him for a couple of years but when he did play, he just never hit.
A year after his rookie season, he batted .276, his highest in his career. But his power faded and despite posting his best On Base Percentage of his career, he only played in 84 games. In fact, for the three years following his rookie campaign, he averaged only 91 games a year. So many in the game considered his poor showing to be a reflection of his injuries. That fantasy came to an end in 2008 when Crosby was healthy all year.
Crosby finally played a full year and got into 145 games. But rather than impressing with a full season to showcase what he could do, he didn't do much of anything. He did hit 39 doubles, but overall, his performance was lackluster. His On Base Percentage was a paltry .296. His OPS+ was 76 (100 is considered average). And although his range factor at short was still higher than league average, it was the lowest total of his career.
In short, he just never developed into the player the A's hoped he would be and the team faced reality and went after something they thought was better. But Crosby isn't buying it. He wants to be the guy. He asked for a trade. The A's put him out there and couldn't trade him. Crosby just isn't facing the reality that being 22nd among all shortstops in Win Shares isn't what the A's want or need from their shortstop position.
Cabrera is an upgrade in the field even though Crosby has been an above average fielder his whole career. And Cabrera has historically been a better hitter. Cabrera had 17 Win Shares last year. Crosby had 10. That's reality and Crosby doesn't get it.
To give him some benefit, Crosby is only 28 years old. It might be hard to have wisdom at such an age. With his fielding ability, Crosby could hang on in the league for many more years. Heck, he's much better than a lot of other utility infielders out there. But if he handles this poorly, teams won't give him a chance to prolong his career that way.
The rest of Crosby's baseball life will depend on how he handles this situation. If he works hard and keeps his head down and his tongue in check, he could get through this and still have a long career. But unlike his position with the A's, which is beyond his control, his comportment during the coming season is in his control.
Crosby's feelings are hurt. That's understandable. But it's time to face reality and to get a grip and work towards helping his team as much as possible and wait for another opportunity to get the job done, either for the A's or for somebody else.