Tag:Travis Buck
Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:56 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 2:18 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics



By Matt Snyder

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

"Moneyball" hit movie theaters everywhere late this past summer and Brad Pitt-as-Billy Beane told us the A's have to be creative to compete in an unfair baseball landscape. There are haves and have-nots, the protagonist would tell us. And we all know the Oakland Athletics are have-nots in the salary-capless land of Major League Baseball. So what if the A's could afford to keep all their own guys? Surely they'd be much better, right? Uh ...

Lineup

1. Jemile Weeks, 2B
2. Nick Swisher, CF
3. Andre Ethier, RF
4. Jason Giambi, 1B
5. Ryan Ludwick, LF
6. Kurt Suzuki, C
7. Ramon Hernandez, DH
8. Mark Teahen, 3B
9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Tim Hudson
2. Trevor Cahill
3. Dallas Braden
4. Tyson Ross
5. Joe Blanton

Yes, Braden was out for the season in real life, but we've got Rich Harden waiting in the wings. Oh, and yes, Harden is hurt all the time. So then we'd turn to Barry Zito.

Bullpen

Closer - Andrew Bailey
Set up - Huston Street, Santiago Casilla, Henry Rodriguez, Joel Peralta, Sam Demel
Long - Harden, Zito

Notable Bench Players

Miguel Olivo, John Baker, Gerald Laird -- yes, those three are all catchers, just like our DH -- Eric Chavez and Travis Buck.

What's Good?

Hey, at least we'd never run out of catchers with this group. There are four major-league caliber starters, even if some are lower-tier, and one quality backup in Laird. So the Athletics churn out catchers. Really, though, the strength of this team is unsurprisingly the pitching. The starting rotation is good, but not great. Hudson is steady and Cahill was very good in 2010. Blanton was good in 2009 but has battled injuries and ineffectiveness since then. Ross did show great promise before his injury last season, though. The bullpen is pretty good, too. Bailey is a solid closer and Street would be a fine eighth-inning man with Casilla and fireballer Rodriguez also setting the table.

What's Not?

Giambi and Ludwick in the middle of the order isn't near as potent nowadays as it would have been a handful of years ago. Plus, could Giambi even play everyday anymore? If not, our next option is playing a catcher, Chavez or Buck at first base. That's weak. In fact, at this point in time, there aren't many spots where the hitter is well above average for his slot. Swisher and Ethier are good, but they aren't elite second or third hitters. Weeks could prove an elite leadoff hitter as soon as 2012, but we don't have a large enough sample yet to declare that. Ramon Hernandez had a good past two offensive seasons, but take him out of the NL Central and Great American Ball Park and put him in the AL West in Oakland. That's a big difference. So while the offense isn't atrocious, it's not very good either -- and there is no bench depth anywhere but catcher. Also, Swisher's out of position in center, but, again, we don't have any other options.

Comparison to real 2011

While the rotation and bullpen are good, they are far from great, and the position players here just aren't enough. This team would be below average, an 85-90 loss ballclub. The real-life A's went 74-88, so I'd say it's just about the same result.

And we can now see the biggest problem. Of course it's tough to compete as a small-market team in a football stadium, but the A's haven't been drafting very well. They've made some good trades, sure, but also some pretty bad ones. For example, they spun Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith for Matt Holliday back in 2008, but then dealt Holliday at the next trade deadline for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson. So, yes, one reason the A's can't compete anymore in the AL West is because they don't have the money to retain or sign new expensive veterans. But another reason is they just aren't churning out draft picks like the Rays, for example, are. 

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Posted on: April 16, 2011 2:24 pm
 

Sizemore close to returning

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Grady SizemoreGrady Sizemore is back at Progressive Field in Cleveland and he could return to the Indians in the next couple of days, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.

Sizemore was scheduled to have a workout in front of the Indians' training staff on Saturday and then a determination on his readiness will be made.

"I can't rule out anything," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We don't know when, but it's going to be soon."

Sizemore has been out 11 months with a left knee injury. He underwent microfracture surgery in June.

When Sizemore returns, Michael Brantley will move to left. Brantley's certainly made the most of his opportunity, hitting .333/.400/.417 heading into Saturday's game. While the Indians' offense has been good, the team's left fielders (Austin Kearns, Travis Buck) have struggled, hitting .128 so far this season.

Siemore has played in five minor league games, hitting .353 (6 for 17) with a home run and four RBI.

"I'm not expecting to play seven days the first week," Sizemore said. "I'm sure it will be a slow progression. I would expect [Acta] will work around off-days and give me days between. But I don't want to have too many days off, because then [the knee] will get stiff."

Acta's certainly happy about adding Sizemore to the lineup.

"Regardless of what type of lineup you have, when you add Grady Sizemore to any lineup, any team in America, you're addict to it," Acta said. "Is that an understatement?"

If Sizemore's back to where he can be, it's not. But that's to be seen.

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Posted on: April 10, 2011 1:36 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/10: Pair of homers pace N.Y.

Kuroda

By Evan Brunell

3 UP

Russell Martin, Yankees -- Russell Martin's two-home run day early on proved a harbinger of things to come later that night with the other New York team. Martin delivered a soul-crushing blow in the fourth inning with a three-run blast off Clay Buchholz that erased the lead Boston had just taken. He would later cap off the 9-4 victory with a solo home run in the seventh for a total of four RBI out of the nine spot. He was helped by Eric Chavez's three-hit night in front of him.

Carlos Beltran, Mets -- Carlos Ruiz's pinch-hit grand slam probably belongs here as it was instrumental in taking out the Braves, but this was a game Beltran sorely needed after coming into the game with a paltry .190/.292/.286 mark in 24 plate appearances. Now, he walks away with a .240/.321/.560 mark. Yes, things change that fast in the early going, and Beltran's two home runs against the Nationals completely changed everything for the new right fielder, who tacked on three runs and three RBI as well.

Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers -- An absolute masterpiece tossed by the Japanese import completely blanked the Padres as Kuroda came within one out of a complete game. He ended up with 8 2/3 innings pitched, giving up just six hits and two walks along with four strike outs and of course, no runs earned. With 117 pitches on his resume and having coughed up consecutive singles, Kuroda's night was done. While Johnathan Broxton made it scary by loading the bases on a walk, he was able to nail down the win for Kuroda.

3 DOWN

Travis Buck, Indians -- Buck had the worst batting line on the day as his ofer included three strikeouts. Buck is tring to battle for playing time in the outfleld and cling to a spot after Grady Sizemore's eventual return. While the oft-injured outfielder has talent, one has to wonder if the years of stops and starts due to said injuries have sapped all his potential.

Jake Arrieta, Orioles -- Arrieta followed up Zach Britton's shining example set in the first game of a doubleheader by falling flat with a dud. In just 3 1/3 innings, the rookie coughed up six hits and two walks en route to eight earned runs, including two home runs. While he did save face with five strikeouts, that's really searching for a silver line. Could Arrieta and his 8.68 ERA be jettisoned to Triple-A instead of Britton when Brian Matusz returns?

Fernando Abad, Astros -- Bud Norris was cruising and his Astros had a 4-1 lead entering the sixth. Norris would go on to surrender the lead by coughing up three runs, but at least it was still tied, right? Except reliever Fernando Abad came in for the seventh recorded an out and then gave up three straight doubles. No wonder, then, that two runs scored and Abad couldn't finish out the inning. Florida would go on to win 7-5.

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Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:14 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/22: Fox strikes again

Jake Fox

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

1. Orioles bats -- Jake Fox, pictured, hit his eighth homer of the spring for Baltimore, but he wasn't alone in peppering Yankees pitching on Tuesday. Luke Scott hit a shot over the scoreboard in right-center. J.J. Hardy also homered. The Orioles are slugging .445 this spring, the best mark by an American League team in Florida. The Phillies at .447 are the only Grapefruit League team with a better slugging percentage.

2. Wandy Rodriguez, Astros -- Sidelined the last two weeks with left shoulder tendinitis, Houston's left-hander allowed three hits and an unearned run in four innings, throwing 40 strikes in 60 pitches. Rodriguez is scheduled to start again on Sunday and then face Cliff Lee in the Astros' second game of the regular season.

3. Travis Buck, Indians -- The Indians outfielder had two homers in Tuesday's game against the Diamondbacks, raising his spring total to four. He had four total homers in 177 at-bats between the minors and the A's last season.

3 DOWN

1. Adam Dunn, White Sox -- Chicago's new slugger struck out three times on Tuesday in an 0-for-4 performance, giving him 22 strikeouts this spring. He's hitting .208/.311/.358 this spring with one homer in a team-leading 53 at-bats.

2. Mike Leake, Reds -- The day after it looked like Leake had his ticket to Cincinnati punched thanks to Johnny Cueto's injury, the A's took BP on the Reds' right-hander. Leake gave up single runs in each of the first two innings on Tuesday and then allowed five in the third, while recording only one out. In all he gave up six hits, seven earned runs, walked four and saw his ERA rise to 9.39. Daric Barton and Coco Crisp both hit solo homers off of Leake.

3. Welington Castillo, Cubs -- A rough day for Castillo, who nearly beat out an infield single, but showed his catchers speed and was thrown out in his only plate appearance of the day. Sure, lots of folks went 0 for 1 on Tuesday, but not many saw their average drop from .706 to .667. Castillo has 12 hits in 18 at-bats, plus two walks, so his on-base percentage is still .700. For those of you not used to that statistic, it's officially "not too bad."

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Posted on: December 3, 2010 12:28 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:37 am
 

Russell Martin among those non-tendered

The deadline to tender contracts was Thursday night at 11:59 p.m., and here's the players who were not tendered contracts and are now free agents:

A's: Edwin Encarnacion, Jack Cust, Travis Buck

Angels: Kevin Frandsen

Astros: Sammy Gervacio

Blue Jays: Jeremy Accardo, Fred Lewis

Braves: Matt Diaz

Brewers: Todd Coffey, Joe Inglett

Diamondbacks: Blaine Boyer, Ryan Church, Augie Ojeda, D.J. Carrasco

Dodgers: Russell Martin, George Sherrill, Trent Oeltjen

Giants: Eugenio Velez, Chris Ray

Mariners: Ryan Rowland-Smith

Marlins: Jose Veras, Ronny Paulino

Mets: Chris Carter, Sean Green, John Maine

Nationals: Wil Nieves, Joel Peralta, Chein-Ming Wang

Orioles: Matt Albers

Padres: Scott Hairston, Tony Gwynn Jr., Luis Perdomo, Matt Antonelli

Pirates: Lastings Milledge, Argenis Diaz, Donnie Veal, Brian Burres

Rangers: Dustin Nippert

Rays: Lance Cormier, Willy Aybar, Dioner Navarro, J.P. Howell

Red Sox: Hideki Okajima, Taylor Buchholz, Andrew Miller

Rockies: Manny Delcarmen

Royals: Josh Fields

Tigers: Zach Miner

White Sox: Bobby Jenks, Erick Threets

Yankees: Alfredo Aceves, Dustin Mosley

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 5, 2010 3:10 pm
 

What are the Blue Jays thinking?

Miguel Olivo
What's the deal with the Blue Jays? First they trade a player to be named later to the Rockies for catcher Miguel Olivo, then they promptly decline the 2011 option on Olivo's contract, paying a $500,000 buyout. So at this point, they are out a PTBNL and half a million dollars, and they have nothing to show for it.

Well, that's not entirely true. Olivo is now their property, so if he signs elsewhere, they get the compensatory pick for him as a Type B free agent, which is a sandwich pick after the first round. Is a sandwich pick worth $500,000? Actually, it might be, especially in a year when the draft is as deep as next year's is shaping up to be.

Let's look at the last really deep draft, in 2005. Sandwich picks that year included Clay Buchholz and Jed Lowrie, plus others who have seen time in the majors (Travis Buck, Garrett Olson, Ryan Tucker, Cesar Ramos). Is it worth $500,000 to have a Buchholz or Lowrie under control at low cost for six years? Definitely. But the Jays would have to hope they pick well there.

So maybe the Jays aren't nuts. Except, now general manager Alex Anthopoulos says the draft pick was not the reason he made these decisions. Actually, his comments in a conference call with reporters didn't leave things completely clear.

"No [on making the moves to get the compensation pick], and I've been reading a lot of that today. There's a lot of components with that. We didn't talk about the players that we pursued last offseason. When we signed John Buck, we were really agonizing over -- at the time -- Miguel Olivo and John Buck. ... Collectively, we elected to go with John Buck. Knowing that John's a free agent and, as we continue to gather information, whether it's just getting a sense of a market and so on, it seems to be, and rightfully so, that the market for John Buck is going to be incredibly strong."
OK, so the Jays acquired Olivo so they could keep him as insurance because they think Buck is going to end up out of their price range. And they definitely need a veteran catcher as they work Catcher of the Future J.P. Arencibia into the majors next season. So why not just pick up Olivo's $2.5 million option? If they are able to bring back Buck, they could just trade Olivo. If they do lose Buck and then try to sign Olivo, it's not like the catcher's agent is going to give them credit for the $500,000 they already paid him -- that's a sunk cost. Now every dollar over $2 million they pay him for next year would be money they might as well have set on fire. And it's almost certainly going to take more than $2 million to sign him.

Another danger: In order to get the sandwich pick, a team has to offer a player salary arbitration and the player has to decline. So the Jays will have to offer, and what if, Buck or no Buck, Olivo accepts? After batting .269, the second-highest average of his career, he's not going to get less than his $2 million 2010 salary in arbitration, plus he's already got half a million in his pocket. It's a win-win for Olivo.

And it looks like a lose-lose for Toronto. Maybe they've got an end game we're not aware of yet, but this is a curious series of decisions.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 4, 2010 4:19 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Bruce, O'Day among Super Twos

Brad Ziegler, the right-handed sidearmed reliever, is the lucky winner of the Super Two cutoff date this year with two years, 122 days of service time, according to the list sent to agents by the MLB Players Association. Super Two qualify for salary arbitration early.

The cutoff this season is lower than it has been in recent years, perhaps indicating that teams are getting more and more careful about how soon they bring up players in attempts to put off arbitration as long as possible.

Leading the list is Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria, who has already been signed to a long-term deal, a deal that's looking better and better by the day for the Rays.

Here's the list:

Jay Bruce Player 2009 Club Total Service
Evan Longoria Tampa Bay 2.170
Jim Johnson Baltimore 2.165
Felipe Paulino Houston 2.163
Josh Fields Kansas City 2.159
Kyle Kendrick Philadelphia 2.159
Sean White Seattle 2.156
Ian Stewart Colorado 2.154
Dana Eveland* Pittsburgh 2.152
Luke Hochevar Kansas City 2.151
Armando Galarraga Detroit 2.148
Burke Badenhop Florida 2.143
Ross Ohlendorf Pittsburgh 2.139
Chris Perez Cleveland 2.136
Alberto Gonzalez Washington 2.135
Jensen Lewis Cleveland 2.133
Darren O'Day Texas 2.128
Jay Bruce Cincinnati 2.125
Chase Headley San Diego 2.123
Travis Buck Oakland 2.123
Brad Ziegler Oakland 2.122
*outrighted

It appears that this is the best news for Bruce, O'Day and Perez, who will likely get the biggest bumps in salary from 2010 to 2011.

Of all those players, Bruce (pictured) may have had the best season, hitting .281/.353/.493 with 25 home runs. Perez recorded 23 saves and had a 1.71 ERA as the closer for the Indians once Kerry Wood was sent to the Yankees. O'Day was a valuable member of the Rangers' bullpen, appearing in 72 regular-season games and 11 postseason games. During the Regular season, he had a 2.03 ERA.

All three of those players made $440,000 or less last season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com