Tuesday, September 1, 2009

10 Thoughts: Oakland A's – August 2009

Current Record (thru August 31): 58-73
August Record: 14-15
GB – AL West: 20.5 (Los Angeles Angels)
GB – AL Wildcard: 18.5 (Boston Red Sox)

(1) On July 29, SP Brett Tomko was released by the Yankees. He signed a minor-league deal with the A's on August 4 and debuted with Oakland two weeks later in a start against…the Yankees. Tomko picked up the win with five shutout innings. In his next two starts, Tomko beat the Tigers and left with the lead vs. the Angels. Not surprisingly, Tomko's infinitesimal sample size (2-0, 1.62 ERA in Oakland) is generating the kind of
media hyperbole ("…his excellent work…") that conveniently forgets the entirety of his 13 seasons and 1,700+ innings pitched. The A's have announced they'll be going to a six-man rotation in September. Tomko is a serviceable surplus arm on a team with nothing to play for. Any suggestion that Oakland may bring him back next year is insanity.

(2) Oakland acquired 2B/OF Eric Patterson as part of the haul for SP Rich Harden last season. Patterson has somehow defied all empirical laws and shown less than nothing (.468 OPS) in his brief appearances with the A's. Patterson has an all-or-nothing swing that belies his 125 lb. frame. He was just brought back up to Oakland and here's a suggestion as to the type of game he should be playing:

(3) I've been beating this drum for months, but it bears repeating: Adam Kennedy's OPS through May 31 = 1.084. Adam Kennedy's OPS from June 1 through August 31 = .637. There are fans who want this guy back at third base in 2010. Seriously. He's hit .246/.294/.343 since his insane first month. Do. Not. Want. (Back).

(4) A's fans have just one more month to savor the Bobby Crosby Experience. On August 24, Bobby's dad, (former Major League infielder and scout) Ed, ripped Oakland's boy-genius GM Billy Beane a
new vertical orifice. The whole article is a mess worthy of Fire Joe Morgan – from Ed's ignorant assertion that Eric Burns[sic] and Nick Swisher became better ballplayers after leaving Oakland to the use of the word "extraordinary" to describe Crosby's pedestrian (.744 OPS) ROY season in 2004. At least, we now know who taught Kid Crosby how to hit. Thanks, pops!

(5) This is Tommy Everidge – a 26-year-old Minor League lifer who got the call on July 28. He's about 6'0" and approximately 400 lbs. With the A's trailing 3-2 against the Yankees on August 19, Oakland put their first two hitters aboard in the bottom of the eighth inning. The next batter – Everidge – grounded into a double play to kill the rally. A's fans – almost all 800 of 'em – were apoplectic over Everidge NOT bunting there. Look, I get the Moneyball backlash. And, I get that none of you will ever accept the overwhelming evidence that sacrifice bunts (in MOST instances) is bad strategy. Can we agree that asking a behemoth to bunt – in the American League, no less – is just f-ing stupid? Cool? Cool.

(6) On August 6, the A's handed the starting CF job to Rajai Davis. Entering 2009, Davis was a fifth outfielder/pinch-runner who'd lost two jobs in the National League – the National League! – before landing in Oakland. He had a career .668 OPS and was hitting .146 on June 2. Since then, he's hit .321/.380/.456 and played a spectacular centerfield. Obviously, he's overachieving. But, he's the only true CF within any of the organization's upper tiers and he's pretty damn exciting when he's on. He'll either be starting in CF for the A's on Opening Night 2010 or flipped in the offseason to another NL team that believes the 2009 Rajai Davis is for real.

(7) SP Dallas Braden is expected to miss the rest of 2009 with a nerve injury to his left foot. Weird story here as Braden allegedly developed a rash on the same foot due to an allergic reaction to a neoprene toe guard. The A's claim that Braden
received treatment "throughout the season", which begs the question: how long does a rash last before anyone on the A's crack medical staff asks why it hasn't gone away? To me, this really should be a bigger deal. It's either medical incompetence or a cover-up (a la Kellen Winslow, Jr. and the Cleveland Browns) for something more serious.

(8) SP Justin Duchscherer – who'd missed all of 2009 with elbow and back injuries – made a handful of rehab appearances in the hope that he'd return to the A's in mid-August. On August 21, his agent announced that Duchscherer will not pitch at all this season due to clinical depression. Duke's a free agent after this year and word is he won't be back. An anonymous two-time All Star, I was in Anaheim to see him start against the Angels in May 2008. A Jack Cust error led to five unearned runs, but Duke gutted it out thru five innings to get the win. Really good guy. Buena suerte, yo.

(9) Chris Carter is a 22-year-old masher who obliterated Double-A this year (.337/.435/.576) and hit three home runs in a game at AAA-Sacramento this past Monday. Brett Wallace was the supposed crown jewel of the Matt Moss Holliday trade. He's hit 19 home runs between the AAA affiliates of the Cardinals and A's. Oakland announced that neither player will be called up in September. I understand the 40-man roster conundrum, but as I type this, the A's are playing the Royals at home in front of 2,000 scattered souls. My favorite team has been running an in-game promo that promises a free Rickey Henderson jersey to the first 100 new season ticket deposits for 2010. They've been running this spot for two freakin' weeks, as plenty of jerseys are apparently still available. What's the harm in calling up Carter, inserting him at DH and giving him four weeks to play Home Run Derby? He's a flawed, but intriguing prospect who is undoubtedly a stronger selling point for next season than a 50-year-old retiree.

(10) Look no further than 2007, when the A's brought up phenom Daric Barton in September. He hit .347/.429/.639 in 72 at-bats and parlayed that into a .224/.327/.344 line in 2008-09. OK, fine, but I stand by my Chris Carter suggestion.


nicka said...

watching you follow the A's this closely in a season this terrible is like watching someone die of a terminal illness.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Honestly, Nicka, it's Jalen that gets excited to see them every night. J takes a bath, then we come downstairs until he falls asleep in front of another scintillating A's effort around 8PM. Believe me, I'm as depressed about having to feign interest in this mess as anyone.

bherbert said...

We had the Mariners/A's games from Oakland this weekend on FSN Northwest. Wow! Two teams that can't hit worth a lick, but at least they play close games.

The crowd (and I use the word loosely) at the Friday game was so small that the announcers noted that they could pick up individual conversations in the stands. If there had been any fewer people, each player could have had his own individual fan to root for him. Ichiro got his 2,000th hit on Sunday and got a nice standing ovation from a somewhat larger assemblage. Had he done that on Friday, he could have shaken hands with the fans individually and not prolonged the game very much.

I agree with you that they should bring up some Sacramento River Cats after their playoffs are over. It isn't like they'd be displacing a bunch of all-stars.

I predict that Duchscherer's depression will lift shortly after he's signed by a team with at least some possibility of contending. Much like Matt Holliday found new life with the Cards. (Have you noticed that Holliday has as many HRs in 39 games with STL as he did in 93 games with OAK, and has almost any many RBI?)

That Bootleg Guy said...

Trust me...there were even fewer fans in the stands earlier last week when the Royals were in town. There are a myriad of reasons for the attendance woes and I don't think this franchise will recover...while in the Coliseum.

Saw the Ichiro reception live, though and it was pretty cool. A's fans have been embarassingly crass towards Ichiro during games there, so that was pretty cool.

And...yes. I am familiar with Matt Holliday finally deciding to show up after he was dealt to St. Louis. Very familiar.