Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:56 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 2:18 pm
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What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional?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 ...
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
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.
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.
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.
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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Tags: Andrew Bailey, Athletics, Barry Zito, Billy Beane, Cliff Pennington, Dallas Braden, Eric Chavez, Gerald Laird, Henry Rodriguez, Homegrown, Huston Street, Jason Giambi, Jemile Weeks, Joe Blanton, Joel Peralta, John Buck, Kurt Suzuki, Mark Teahen, Miguel Olivo, Nick Swisher, Ramon Hernandez, Rich Harden, Ryan Ludwick, Sam Demel, Santiago Casilla, Tim Hudson, Travis Buck, Trevor Cahill, Tyson Ross
Posted on: September 30, 2011 5:18 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 6:32 pm
By Matt Snyder
Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...
Team name: Oakland Athletics
Record: 74-88, 22 games back in AL West
Manager: Bob Melvin
Best hitter: Josh Willingham -- .246/.322/.477, 29 HR, 98 RBI, 69 R, 26 2B
Best pitcher: Gio Gonzalez -- 16-12, 3.12 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 197 K, 202 IP
With injuries to the pitching staff, more lack of offense, the most exciting thing happening for the A's this season came at the box office, not the ballpark. But hey, I rather enjoyed "Moneyball" -- I'd only advise going to the movie with the understanding that Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez were completely ignored. If you know that going it, it's enjoyable.
2011 SEASON RECAP
They started off losing four of their first five, but didn't give up by any stretch. In fact, the A's were 22-20 and tied for first place in the AL West on May 17. Then a seven-game losing streak sunk them and a week later they began a season-killing 10-game losing streak that cost Bob Geren his job. Bob Melvin took over and went 47-52 the rest of the way. Considering how bad the offense was and that both Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson were lost for the season, that's pretty fine work and general manager Billy Beane agreed -- giving Melvin a three-year deal.
The A's finished 12th in the AL in runs scored. They don't even get on base anymore, as the .311 OBP was also good for 12th in the AL. Meanwhile the staff ERA was the third best in the AL. So it's the same old story in Oakland. They can pitch, but not hit.
If Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden come back strong from injuries, the A's have a very solid 1-5 rotation. Trevor Cahill will need a bounce-back season, but Gonzalez and McCarthy figure to be similar to this season. Full seasons out of Joey Devine and Andrew Bailey will make the bullpen better as well. But they were already good at pitching, as the numbers show. And they're still young enough to count on the staff being good for the next several years. So, just as it has the past several seasons, everything is going to boil down to what the A's can muster on offense. Young Jemile Weeks showed he's ready to take over at second base, but many other young players still haven't shown they can be consistent offensive threats at the big-league level. There's promise with the Chris Carter/Brandon Allen/Michael Taylor group and some prospects are getting closer to joining the fray. The 2012 season will not be a complete rebuild as much as it will be preparing for 2013.
David DeJesus, OF
Josh Willingham, OF
Coco Crisp, OF
Hideki Matsui, DH
Rich Harden, SP
Brandon McCarthy, SP
The A's have to focus entirely on the offense and should probably make an effort to get younger instead of throwing out a group of veteran cast-offs. Sure, the "Moneyball" movie had the "island of misfit toys" line, but remember, they ignored the strong foundation of youth in place. We can't do that in real life.
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Posted on: May 20, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 7:26 pm
By Evan Brunell
The Oakland A's made a blizzard of moves Friday, playing starters Tyson Ross and Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list as the most notable transactions.
Ross (pictured) suffered an oblique strain (surprise!) and could miss over a month, while McCarthy has a stress reaction in his shoulder that has bothered him for a few years and apparently has flared up. That's 40 percent of the rotation -- gone. And those were some pretty valuable members, too.
Ross had a 2.75 ERA in six starts and three relief appearances, with the rookie backing up his production with a 3.66 xFIP. McCarthy, meanwhile, had revitalized his career in Oakland out of the No. 5 spot in the rotation, throwing up an identical 3.39 ERA and xFIP although you wouldn't know it from his 1-4 record.
Josh Outman, Bobby Cramer and Guillermo Moscoso are potential replacements in the rotation, although Outman has been hit around in Triple-A as he returns from Tommy John surgery; Cramer has his own injury concerns to work through; Moscoso seems to be the one most likely to get the call -- or at least one of the two calls. There isn't a need for a No. 4 or 5 starter until Monday, so the A's will delay a decision until then.
Reliever Trystan Magnuson was also optioned after coughing up six runs over two innings Thursday. To replace the three open spots, Joey Devine, Jerry Blevins and Fautino de los Santos were recalled. De los Santos, acquired in the Nick Swisher trade way back in 2008, was converted to relief for the 2010 season and is making his major-league debut after coughing up just three runs in 15 1/3 innings split between Double- and Triple-A. The 25-year-old added 21 punchouts and eight walks. Blevins, meanwhile, was with the team just last week before being sent down to work on control problems, but events necessitated his return. Blevins gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A, so he's really nothing more than filler and can be expected to be sent back down shortly.
Devine will return to the majors for the first time since 2008, when he had a sterling 0.59 ERA in 45 2/3 innings. Injuries have robbed him of the years since, only returning to a mound this season for Triple-A and contributing 12 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out 17 and walking one. In other words, looking just like the Devine of old. It's been a long road back for the 27-year-old.
And here's what McCarthy had to say about his DL trip on Twitter:
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Posted on: May 19, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2011 4:54 pm
By Matt Snyder
Ross has filled the vacant rotation spot left by Dallas Braden quite admirably this season, but Lady Luck was not on Ross' side Thursday afternoon.
After just over one batter -- seven pitches -- he was forced from the game with an oblique injury. Denard Span led off the game with a single. On the third pitch to No. 2-hitter Trevor Plouffe, Ross unleashed a pitch that got by catcher Kurt Suzuki -- a passed ball, it would be ruled -- that would prove to be Ross' last pitch of the game. He wandered around the pitcher's mound for a few moments holding his left side before trainers came to the mound and Ross was pulled from the game. He walked off the field under his own power.
David Purcey took over for Ross.
The last Oakland starting pitcher to leave the game without recording a single out was Omar Olivares in 2000. (Buster Olney on Twitter)
The best bet would be a disabled list stint, but there's no word of that just yet.
The 24-year-old right hander entered the day with a 3-2 record and 2.50 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 36 innings. As a starter, he sported a 2.32 ERA in five outings. Those numbers get touched up a bit, because Span came around to score.
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Posted on: April 6, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 12:58 pm
UPDATE (12:57 p.m. EST): Dallas Braden is still expected to start for the A's tonight in Toronto, even though right-hander Tyson Ross is expected to join the team.
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Dallas Braden may or may not be making his scheduled start tonight.
The A's have called up right-hander Tyson Ross, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser (via Twitter), but his exact role is unclear at this point.
Slusser says the team rarely announces player moves until the player actually reports to the team. The A's are in Toronto for the second game of a three-game series.
Braden is scheduled to start opposite Jesse Litsch. Slusser tweets she's heard Braden is fine, while others have reported Braden has a neck injury.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 13, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:35 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Remember when Alex Gordon was the next George Brett? Royals fans sure do.
Now, though, the former second-overall pick in the draft, is an afterthought in the deep, talented Royals system.
Taken ahead of the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki, Gordon has a career line of .244/.315/.355 in 1,641 plate appearances in the big leagues and has since been moved from third base to the outfield.
While no longer one of the core building-blocks of the Royals rebuilding job, Gordon still has some talent (and a little trade value). He's also starting to get hot in the Cactus League, going 8 for 12 in his last five games. He's also shown good plate discipline, drawing 11 walks.
"The timing was off. I was seeing the pitches good, I was just late and not making solid contact," Gordon told MLB.com. "Lately, I've been getting easy earlier and seeing pitches better and making good contact, and that's what it's all about. So definitely a big change in the last week."
Gordon, 27, spent his offseason working with Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, someone who knows a little bit about living in the shadow of the Royals' lone Hall of Fame player. Seitzer's emergence at third base moved Brett from third base to first in 1987 and even made the All-Star team as a rookie. Seitzer has been the team's hitting coach since 2009.
"I think I've pulled my hands back so I'm loaded instead of trying to find the load during the swing. I'm ready to go right off the bat," Gordon said. "I think that's helped, and I'm not late on pitches anymore, and I'm being aggressive."
With the Royals throwing out a placeholder roster for 2011 before the prospects begin to trickle in later this summer, Gordon may be getting his last chance to prove he's more than a Four-A player. Soon, that Royals influx of talent could make him the next Clint Hurdle in Royals history.
According to Levine, the Nationals and Yankees have had scouts at each of Silva's outings. Both teams are looking to fill their rotation and could afford Silva's $12 million salary.
"I encourage the growth of follicles," Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. "I want them all to go nuts with their hair this year."
Although Ramirez is known for his long dreadlocks and Damon is now sporting a fauxhawk, the inspiration for his goal of being "the hirsute club" was bench coach Dave Martinez's bushy beard (pictured).
"Sometimes I just go with my instincts, and I just think it could turn into a lot of fun for the group," Maddon said, noting he'll let his hair grow out as much as possible. "So whatever keeps you focused on the field and having fun off it, I'm all for it."
FORMER CUBS OK: The Chicago Tribune caught up with former Cub Micah Hoffpauir, who is now playing in Japan.
Hoffpauir, now a member of the Nippon Ham Fighters, was in his room on the 26th floor of his hotel in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, approximately 250 miles to the north.
"It felt like someone started shaking the whole country of Japan," Hoffpauir said. "At one point I thought, this building is going to fall down. But I was assured later that [swaying] is what the building was supposed to do."
He said he was evacuated from his hotel and was able to contact his wife in Texas to let her know he was OK. He said he has also been in touch with former Cub teammate Matt Murton, who was training further south in Osaka, and he was OK.
GARFOOSE FUNDRAISER: Author and Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst will call you up and thank you personally if you donate $50 or more to Mercy Corp Fundraising for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. (DirkHayhurst.com)
HIDDEN TREASURE: Investigators found a jackpot of 1986 Mets memorabilia in a Port St. Lucie storage facility following their case of former Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels.
Samuels is accused of theft and illegal gambling.
Among the treasure found in the storage facility was signed uniforms from the 1986 Mets team that defeated the Red Sox in the World Series. The collection is reportedly worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars." (New York Daily News)
SIZEMORE GETTING CLOSER: Indians manager Manny Acta said he thinks center fielder Grady Sizemore is scheduled to start running bases today and could be cleared to play in games sometime in the last 10 days of spring training. (MLB.com)
D-TRAIN OFF THE RAILS: Dontrelle Willis left Saturday's game with a sprained ankle, tripping on a bat after backing up the plate on Bobby Scales' two-run single. Willis had a rough outing, allowing two hits and two walks while recording just a single out. (MLB.com)
THANK YOU, COME AGAIN: Commissioner Bud Selig said Saturday that the stake in the Diamondbacks once owned by Padres chief executive Jeff Moorad has been sold. Current Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick absorbed the eight percent of the Diamondbacks for $21 million. Moorad's group owns 49 percent of the Padres. (MLB.com)
HARDEN OUT OF ROTATION MIX: Rich Harden is officially out of the race for the Athletics' fifth-starter sport. Harden could still find a spot in the bullpen, but it's getting crowded too. Brandon McCarthy, Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer are still competing for the fifth starter spot, with the losers then looking to make the bullpen. (San Francisco Chronicle)
STATS FOR DUMMIES: The great Joe Posnanski gives you a primer on advanced offensive statistics. (JoePosnanski.com)
LINEUP CONSTRUCTION: Little has more breath and keystrokes wasted on it more than lineup construction. It's a fan's favorite nitpick to show why their manager is an idiot, yet it doesn't really matter that much in the long term. (Although, it makes the most sense to get your better hitters at the the top of the order, because they get the most at-bats). But anyway, Astros manager Brad Mills discusses his philosophy for filling out his lineup card. (Houston Chronicle)
RAYS RESURRECTION: Former top pick Matt Bush is making a comeback in Tampa's training camp. (Tampa Tribune)
BASEBALL PROJECT: If you missed our Ear on Baseball podcast with the Baseball Project, what's wrong with you? Seriously?
Anyway, you can catch up with Scott McCaughey, who says despite touring the world with various rock bands, he's always kept up with baseball because it's a "a sort of zen thing for me" and reading boxscores is "like meditation" -- I think we can all understand that. (Athens Music Junkie)
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alex Gordon, Astros, Athletics, Baseball Project, Bobby Cramer, Brad Mills, Brandon McCarthy, Bud Selig, Carlos Silva, Cubs, Cubs, Dave Martinez, Diamondbacks, Dirk Hayhurst, Dontrelle Willis, George Brett, Grady Sizemore, Indians, Japan, Jeff Moorad, Joe Maddon, Johnny Damon, Ken Kendrick, Kevin Seitzer, Manny Ramirez, Matt Bush, Matt Murton, Mets, Micah Hoffpauir, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Padres, Rays, Reds, Rich Harden, Royals, Ryan Braun, Ryan Zimmerman, Scott McCaughey, Troy Tulowitzki, Tyson Ross, Yankees