Tuesday, March 1, 2011
30 A's in 30 Days: Kevin Kouzmanoff
Acquired: Traded from San Diego (with 2B Eric Sogard) for OF Scott Hairston and OF Aaron Cunningham (January 15, 2010).
Contract: Signed through 2011 (eligible for arbitration after 2011).
Position: Starting third baseman; unwanted white elephant.
2011 Projected BA/OBP/SLG: .264/.312/.434
2010 Season: Kouzmanoff continued his three-year slide into the replacement-level abyss. His OPS in each season since 2008 -- .732, .722 and .679. Kouz did get hot for a few weeks late in the first half and on June 21 his season slash line stood at .293/.328/.428. Not especially satisfying for an American League corner infielder, but at least he was trending in the right direction. From June 22 until the end of the season, however, Kouz hit .200/.239(!)/.364 in almost 300 plate appearances. He battled a bad back for much of the second half which might explain the career lows he posted in pretty much every standard and sophisticated power metric. Kouz was nice enough to sign a ball for my son at a game last May, so that'll buy him some more time with the African-American grade school demographic.
2011 Over/Under: Notwithstanding the folly of small sample sizes and random endpoints, if we remove Kouzmanoff's ungodly three-week stretch in June (.418/439/.658) his remaining season numbers become almost comically awful. The A's made no secret of their desire to replace him this offseason – making more than one free agent offer to Adrian Beltre, picking up E5 Edwin Encarnacion off of waivers from Toronto and briefly linking themselves to trade rumors involving Chone Figgins. Take the UNDER on that projection…no matter how many something to prove puff pieces you'll read about him this spring.
By the Numbers: .329 -- Kouzmanoff's highest on-base percentage in a single season (2007). This was the best year of his career, as he batted .275 and slugged .457. Be wary, however, of those players who post a respectable batting average alongside a mediocre OBP. There's usually no place to go but down. Isn't that right, Terrence Long?
Surefire 2011 Prediction: Keith Ginter...Brad Halsey...Travis Buck. Once the Beane Regime has soured on a player, there's no getting back into the good graces of our boy-genius GM. Kouzmanoff will not finish the season as the A's everyday third baseman. So when will he be jettisoned? I say he'll be traded to Arizona just as soon as the D'Backs realize Melvin Mora, 58, is their everyday third baseman.
Old School Rap Track for the Season: I Ain't Tha 1, Ice Cube