Posted on: February 27, 2012 8:54 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 9:01 pm

Scott Sizemore out for season with torn ACL

By Matt Snyder

The Oakland Athletics have suffered a big blow to their prospective infield. The club announced Monday night that third baseman Scott Sizemore will miss the entire season, as he's torn the ACL in his left knee. Due to swelling in the knee, Sizemore will be re-evaluated in two weeks to see if a surgery date can then be set.

“I really feel badly for Scott,” manager Bob Melvin said in a release. “He’s worked extremely hard and was ready for a breakout season this year. We were counting on him to provide some much-needed power from the right side of the plate. Now his total focus has to be on a successful surgery and rehabilitation so he can return stronger than ever. In his absence, we feel we have some viable options in Adam Rosales, Eric Sogard and Josh Donaldson. They can all bring something to the position.”

Obviously, season-ending injuries to starters are always big blows, but the A's could have better handled it to an outfielder, where they have Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, Jonny Gomes, Brandon Allen, Collin Cowgill and several others. At third base, the A's were paper thin before this injury.

Melvin mentioned three options, but none are good ones.

Rosales is a 28-year-old utility infielder who logged just 43 innings at third last season. Worse yet, he hit just .098/.162/.197 and is a career .226 hitter who doesn't walk much or have power.

Sogard, 25, hit .200/.243/.329 in 74 plate appearances for the A's last season. He played just 70 innings at third. He's a career .298 hitter against Triple-A pitching with marginal power at best.

Donaldson is a 26-year-old catcher-by-trade, but appeared in 27 games at third in Triple-A last season -- where he hit .261/.344/.439 with 17 homers in 503 plate appearances.

Otherwise, the A's are left scraping the bottom of the barrel -- if they aren't already doing so with Rosales, Sogard or Donaldson -- or searching outside the organization.

Sizemore, 27, hit .249/.345/.433 with 11 homers and 52 RBI for the A's in 93 games after coming over in a late May trade from Detroit.

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Posted on: February 26, 2012 11:50 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 11:59 pm

Moneyball swept on Oscar night

By Matt Snyder

"Moneyball" entered Sunday night with six Oscar nominations. It went home with zero wins. Call it the postseason after a glowing regular season, if you will, with the movie came up empty-handed.

It was only fitting. Billy Beane's Athletics made the playoffs five times in a seven-year span, yet never won a single game in the ALCS. Four times they lost three games to two in the ALDS and they were swept in their only ALCS appearance (2006).

Complete CBSNews.com coverage of the Oscars

The nominations were for best picture, best actor (Brad Pitt as Beane), best supporting actor (Jonah Hill as "Peter Brand" aka Paul DePodesta), best screenplay, best achievement in editing and best achievement in sound mixing.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:51 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 9:52 pm

Manny Ramirez: Meet Brett Anderson

By Matt Snyder

It didn't take long for Manny Ramirez -- a.k.a. Manny Being Manny -- to make his humorous mark in A's camp Friday. See the following tweet from injured A's pitcher Brett Anderson:

I'd say this easily qualifies as my favorite tweet of the year so far. Pure hilarity.

There is a huge age difference here, as Anderson is only 24 while Ramirez is 39. Still, Anderson has 62 major-league starts under his belt, so it's not like he's a rookie. Unfortunately, the two have never faced each other in a game, otherwise it would have been even funnier -- not that any extra humor is necessary.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 4:15 pm

Manny just the latest A's retread

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The A's adding Manny Ramirez was hardly a surprise -- it had been rumored for a while.

But it should be even less surprising considering the track record of A's general manager Billy Beane. Beane, of course, is probably the most famous general manager since Branch Rickey thanks to Moneyball (the book and the movie), in part because of his eye for a bargain. While the biggest bargains in baseball are usually young players under team control, there's also value in older players that other teams don't want anymore. Beane's had more than his share of those types of players.

In Moneyball (again, both the book and the movie), Beane's addition of a declining David Justice paid dividends as the 36-year-old hit 11 homers in 118 games (not to mention putting up a .376 on-base percentage). Last season Beane picked Hideki Matsui out of the bargain bin along with a Stephen King novel at Barnes and Noble. This season, it's Ramirez, who will get $500,000 contract with the big-league club after serving his 50-game suspension.

Manny RamirezUsually it's former corner outfielders or first basemen who can add a little slugging and some decent on-base skills (two things Ramirez should be able to add), to be used at DH and in the field in a pinch. Sometimes it works, like with Justice, other times it doesn't -- like with Eric Karros in 2004. But it's cheap, so these veterans are as disposable as a cheap razor.

Here's a list of significant players near the end of their career signed by the A's since Beane took over in 1998, followed by the season they played in Oakland, how old they were that season, their slash line, home runs and RBI.

Rickey Henderson 1998, 39, .236/.376/.347, 1, 14 (led the league with 66 stolen bases and 118 walks)
*Kevin Mitchell 1998, 36, .228/.279/.346, 2, 21
*Tony Phillips 1999, 40, .244/.362/.433, 15, 49
Tim Raines 1999, 39, .215/.337/.341, 4, 17
*Mike Stanley 2000, 37, .268/.363/.464, 4, 18
Ron Gant 2001, 36, .259,.344/.420, 2, 13
*David Justice 2002, 36, .266/.376/.410, 11, 49
*Ron Gant 2003, 38, .146/.182/.220, 1, 4
*Eric Karros 2004, 36, .194/.243/.311, 2, 11
*Mike Piazza 2007, 38, .275/.313/.414, 8, 44
Mike Sweeney 2008, 34, .286/.331/.397, 2, 12
Frank Thomas 2008, 40, .263/.364/.387, 5, 19
*Nomar Garciaparra 2009, 35, .281/.314/.388, 3, 16
Jason Giambi 2009, 38, .193/.332/.364, 11, 40
**Hideki Matsui 2011, 37, .251/.321/.375, 12, 72

* retired after their year with the A's
** Matsui is currently an unsigned free agent

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 1:53 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 2:25 pm

Manny Ramirez to sign with A's

Manny Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Manny Ramirez and the A's have agreed to a minor-league deal, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports. Ramirez will earn $500,000 with the big-league club, according to Heyman.

Ramirez, 39, will be suspended the first 50 games of the A's season, but will be able to take part in spring training. Ramirez missed all of last season after a positive drug test resulted in his second violation of Major League Baseball's drug policy. He had his 100-game suspension reduced to 50 after sitting out all of last season. He played in just five games for the Rays before his suspension.

He will not be paid during his suspension. The A's 51st game is June 2 at Kansas City.

Ramirez will be 40 on May 30.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:27 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 9:45 pm

Report: Uehara trade could lead to Oswalt signing

Roy Oswalt

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rangers' possible trade of reliever Koji Uehara may be enough to give the team enough salary relief to go ahead and sign free-agent right-hander Roy Oswalt, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.


Oswalt had reportedly favored signing with the Rangers, but after shelling out big bucks for Yu Darvish, the Rangers didn't have enough left in their budget for what has been rumored to be his $10-million demand.

However, since Oswalt hasn't found a team that was on his wish list with enough money to meet his demands, he may have lessened those. Uehara is scheduled to make $4 million this season and has reportedly used his limited no-trade clause to nix two trades this offseason.

Wilson writes the Rangers may be looking for a utility infielder in return for Uehara, with the A's preferring to deal Adam Rosales rather than Eric Sogard.

Oswalt, 34, met with the Rangers last month and it is believed he told them he only wanted to start, not come out of the bullpen. He was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA for the Phillies last season in 23 starts. He was twice put on the disabled list because of lower back problems.

The Rangers have said they wanted to move move Neftali Feliz in the rotation, but he -- or another starter -- could find themselves back in the bullpen if Oswalt signs. The team signed Joe Nathan this winter and he will close if Feliz starts.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 2:37 pm

A's close to trading for Koji Uehara

By Matt Snyder

The Oakland A's are close to acquiring Rangers relief pitcher Koji Uehara from the Rangers, CBSSports.com Danny Knobler has confirmed. The news was first reported by Bay Area News Group.

Earlier this offseason, Rangers reliever Koji Uehara nixed a trade to the Blue Jays by exercising his no-trade clause. We learned that there were six teams on his no-trade list and that the Jays were one of them. Still, this didn't mean the Rangers intended to keep Uehara.

With closer Joe Nathan, setup man Mike Adams and Alexi Ogando, Scott Feldman, Mark Lowe, Yoshinori Tateyama, Mark Hamburger and more, the Rangers hardly need Uehara. Dealing him for pretty much anything would provide salary relief, as Uehara's set to make around $5 million in 2012.

The A's, on the other hand, have lots of questions in the bullpen. It appears Brian Fuentes is set to be the closer, though he'll have to deal with Grant Balfour, Fautino De Los Santos and Joey Devine (as we pointed out in the AL West position battles). And the rest of the bullpen is an unknown.

Uehara, 36, was excellent for the first part of the 2011 season. He had a 1.72 ERA and 0.70 WHIP in 47 innings for the Orioles. For the Rangers, though, he had a 4.00 ERA and gave up five home runs in just 18 innings (he only allowed six homers for Baltimore). He was awful in the postseason, too, giving up five hits, five earned runs, three home runs and two walks while recording only four outs.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:14 pm

Only a 'demigod' can 'outshine' Coco Crisp in CF

By Matt Snyder

Cespedes to A's
One of the better quote machines in Major League Baseball is A's outfielder Coco Crisp, and we've got an absolute beauty to pass along on this Wednesday afternoon.

The only background you need here is that the A's just signed Cuban import Yoenis Cespedes and it's possible Cespedes profiles as a big-league center fielder. Crisp is the incumbent in center.

Coco, take it away (via Susan Slusser at SFGate.com):

"I'm going to make all the plays," Crisp said. "If someone feels there's someone better than me, it's hard for me to believe. Unless he's a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field."

Yes, the only way to be better in center field than Coco Crisp is to be half-man, half-god. Coco then laid down the gauntlet for his new teammate (again, via Susan Slusser at SFGate.com): "I'm excited to play alongside Cespedes - no matter what side that may be."

The funny thing is, Crisp is a very good defensive center fielder. As usual, though, his quotes far exceed any talent he has on the baseball field.

Hat-tip: Hardball Talk

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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