Sunday, March 13, 2011
30 A's in 30 Days: Ryan Sweeney
Acquired: Traded from Chicago White Sox (with SP Gio Gonzalez and SP Fautino De Los Santos) for OF Nick Swisher (January 3, 2008).
Contract: Signed through 2011 (eligible for arbitration after 2011).
Position: Reserve outfielder; possibly more Mark Sweeney than Mark Kotsay.
2011 Projected BA/OBP/SLG: .293/.352/.400
2010 Season: Entering the 2010 season, Sweeney had posted the following slash line: .284/.341/.387 (in 1,051 plate appearances). In 2010 – over just 82 games and 331 plate appearances – he hit .294/.342/.383. Paraphrasing the single most annoying phrase in the English language – "He is what he is". Sweeney's consistency during his three seasons in Oakland carries over to his assets (solid batting average) and shortcomings (can't hit lefties, no power). The oft-injured outfielder finally succumbed to knee surgery last July which ended his season. His bad wheels impacted his defense to the point where he was a borderline liability in the field at times.
2011 Over/Under: For the first time in his A's tenure, Sweeney will be penciled in to a reserve role. His sympathizers – and he's long been overrated to a degree by A's fans – will point to his relatively empty batting average and bad luck with injuries as a means of defending him. But, an American League team with a decent – not superior – offense simply can't afford to carry a sub-.400 SLG corner outfielder. Over the past 10-12 years, the A's have been successful in a lot of areas. For whatever reason, managing their bench has not been one of them. Part-time players seem to expedite their own erosion in Oakland. Take the UNDER.
By the Numbers: 12 – The number of home runs I predicted Sweeney would hit last year. A rare miss for me.
Surefire 2011 Prediction: In both 2009 and 2010, I compared Sweeney's career arc to erstwhile A's outfielder Mark Kotsay (good average, no power early; better average, OK power later). It's time to concede the White Sox were right – Sweeney's never going to develop that kind of pop. He could help a National League team with two starts per week and as a pinch-hitter vs. RHP…and that'll be his location/responsibility no later than the July trade deadline.
Old School Rap Track for the Season: Reality, Tha Dogg Pound