Wednesday, July 15, 2009
2009 Mid-Term A'ssessment: Infield
Jason Giambi – 1B: .192/.331/.365
What I Said in March: "If Giambi stays relatively healthy and frequents the line-up as he did with the Yankees in 2005-06 and 2008 [his] OBP could nose towards .400."
What I Say Now: There were a lot of A's fans – myself included – who believed signing Giambi was a no-risk proposition: if he hit, we'd be getting a bargain and if he didn't, it was just a one-year deal. No one expected Giambi to completely fall off the cliff. He's overmatched at the plate by just average fastballs and his defense at first base is actually worse than his hitting.
Mid-Term Grade: D...On the short list of worst free agent signings in team history. Giambi's presence has interfered with components of the since-abandoned rebuilding process and set back this franchise for at least one more season. He's got a bobblehead giveaway day in his honor on August 21. Great planning, Oakland.
Adam Kennedy – 2B: .291/.353/.444
What I Said in March: "Assuming he's healthy, this will be the last full season [Mark Ellis] plays everyday with the A's."
What I Say Now: Kennedy came over from the Rays in early May after Ellis injured his leg on the basepaths and in his first 15 games, AK put up a line of .441/.507/.644. This prompted all sorts of crazy talk – even for A's fans – that Kennedy "brings energy" to the team and should be signed to a multi-year deal and should make the AL All Star squad. Meanwhile, I was the only A's fan alive not smitten with his fluky small sample size of success.
Mid-Term Grade: B...Since June 1, Kennedy has hit .237/.291/.349 and his career-long inability to hit LHP has followed him into this season (.558 OPS). Since Ellis returned on June 28, Kennedy has been our starting third baseman. Your 2009 Oakland A's, ladies and gentlemen!
Orlando Cabrera – SS: .262/.299/.345
What I Said in March: "Offensively, Cabrera's skill set seems more suited to the National League, where 180+ hits/season – absent any discernable power or on-base percentage – has more value."
What I Say Now: Since June 1, Cabrera has hit .296/.323/.408. Good for him. He's also spent most of the first half loafing to first base on groundballs, lazily fielding his position and appears to be in receipt of a season-long pass from A's manager Bob Geren absolving him of any accountability. Cabrera didn't sign until March, came to camp out of shape and has finally played himself into half-way decent condition. All for only four million dollars!
Mid-Term Grade: C-...At least Cabrera finally has motivation to play like he gives a damn. He's rumored to be on the trading block and is basically auditioning for a 2010 contract from someone between now and the end of the season.
Bobby Crosby – 3B: .210/.295/.317
What I Said in March: "The A's will wait until every other team's roster is set, before releasing Crosby at the end of Spring Training."
What I Say Now: Crosby's $5.25 million salary combined with his public snit at changing positions meant the A's were stuck with the guy. And, never let it be said that a professional sports franchise – with an unquestionably uncertain future – has any problem cutting off its nose to spite its face. Oakland keeps trotting him out there (.179/.237/.283 in his last 119 PAs) and looking past his awful defense on the hot corner.
Mid-Term Grade: F...Our Boy Genius GM signed Crosby to a five-year extension back in April 2005. Here's what A's fans got in return: .238/.302/.362. Only three more months of this abominable nightmare before he's accepting the Padres or Nationals non-roster invite to Spring Training.
And, the rest…: After signing a two-year contract in the offseason, 2B Mark Ellis (.219/.272/.343) landed on the 60-day DL in May. Not to be outdone, 1B Nomar Garciaparra (.253/.286/.367) has served two stints on the disabled list and has now been reduced to pinch hitting with one or two starts per week. And, 3B Eric Chavez played in eight games before undergoing major back surgery for the second time in his career. Sigh.