Current Series

7/30, 5:05 PST
Oakland (Lucas Harrell) @ Chicago (Brett Anderson)

7/31, 1:10 PST
Oakland (John Danks) @ Chicago (Dallas Braden)

8/1 1:05 PST
Oakland (Gavin Floyd) @ Chicago (Gio Gonzalez)

Previous Series:
Texas 3, Oakland 1
Oakland 3, Texas 1
Texas 7, Oakland 4

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Opening Day Eve Roster Shenanigans

I guess tonight is technically Opening Night, but the real Opening Day is tomorrow when the A's and 25 other teams open 2010.

There's a few developments with the A's roster, most shocking of which is Jack Cust being designated for assignment.  This means that Jake Fox, Adam Rosales, and Eric Patterson will all make the team, and with Coco Crisp starting the year on the DL with a fractured pinkie finger, so will Gabe Gross and Travis Buck.  The A's are saying that Eric Chavez is going to be the every day DH, but I don't quite believe that.  I'm thinking it will be more of a platoon between Chavez and Fox, allowing Chavez to sit against lefties and to rest a couple times a week. 

So did the A's make the right choice in DFA-ing Cust?  David Golebiewski at Fangraphs has a good analysis of Cust's hitting from 2007-2009 noting that he seemed to trade in some power for increased contact last year.  This resulted in a season where he had a slightly higher average than in 2008 (but not has high as 2007), but his lowest OBP and SLG of his career.  There was hope that he could bounce back to his '07 or '08 levels of production, but perhaps the A's saw something this Spring to indicate that this wasn't likely.  After all, a 31 year old with an extreme old player skillset is more likely to regress than improve.  Even though Cactus League stats are largely meaningless, his .216/.333/.373 line could not have helped his chances.

The A's may be able to keep Cust in their system.  If he clears waivers, the A's will almost certainly offer him a minor league assignment.  If Cust were to accept he'd receive his whole $2.65 million salary while playing in Sacramento.  He could decline the assignment and become a free agent, but the A's would be off the hook for his contract.  I don't think that any team will claim Cust.  Each club's major league roster was due earlier today, so the A's release of Cust comes at a bad time for him.  Add in the fact that the market for DH only types like Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon, and Jim Thome were lukewarm at best and it's hard to see Cust catching on somewhere.  Even Elijah Dukes, a younger, more multi-faceted player with more upside has yet to catch on after being released by the Nationals (although I'm 100% certain personal issues are a factor in Dukes still being available).  Golebiewski considers the White Sox to be a logical destination for Cust, but their reluctance to sign Thome or Dye to be a full time DH meams its likely that they'll pass on Cust as well.

It's tough to tell what to expect from Chavez.  He's played only 31 games the past two years and his 2007 season was no great shakes either.  Chavez' spring numbers are worse than Cust's (.234/.265/.404) and acceptable offensive output is the best one can reasonably hope for.  If you squint real hard and wish with all your might you could hope that he returns to his career average line of .268/.345/.482, but he hasn't hit that well since 2004.  What is most likely is that Chavez, Fox, and perhaps Buck rotate through the DH spot for a few months.  Should Chris Carter or Michael Taylor (or, less likely, Adrian Cardenas) mash in Sacramento, they could force their way into the A's lineup.  Should the DH situation remain unsettled, with no internal options available (and assuming the A's remain in contention) they could look to the trade market for help.  And if they find themselves out of contention they could give the ABs to Fox or Buck to find out once and for all what they have in those players.

The other pieces of news come on the pitching side of things.  Trevor Cahill will start the year on the DL with LEFT (NON-THROWING) shoulder soreness.  This means Gio Gonzalez will be the fifth starter, though it's not clear that he wouldn't have won the job outright anyways.  Also making the big league club will be Tyson Ross.  This is something of a surprise, as he was not on the 40-man roster until today and got a big league job with the help of an impressive Spring and injuries to Cahill and Michael Wuertz (and the A's insistence on carrying 12 pitchers).  Ross pitched 9.2 innings this Spring, striking out 12 and walking 2.  He's an extreme groundball pitcher who's had decent K/rates in the minors, though control has been an issue.  We'll see how he transitions to the bullpen, but its entirely possible that he'll return to starting in Sacramento once Devine or Wuertz come back.

The A's Opening Day roster is as follows:
C - Suzuki
1B - Barton
2B - Ellis
3B - Kouzmanoff
SS - Pennington
INF- Fox
INF - Chavez
INF - Rosales
UT - Patterson
OF- Davis
OF - Sweeney
OF - Buck
OF - Gross

SP - Sheets
SP - Anderson
SP - Braden
SP - Duchscherer
SP - Gonzalez

RP - Bailey
RP - Devine
RP - Breslow
RP - Blevins
RP - Gaudin
RP - Ramirez
RP - Ross

No comments:

Post a Comment