Posted tagged ‘Oakland Athletics’

MLB Hot Stove: Moves that get overlooked so far this winter

November 25, 2013

When it comes to the MLB offseason and Free Agency everyone looks to the Jhonny Peralta’s new 4 year contract with the Cardinals or the big trade swap between Texas and Detroit involving Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler. While those deals are significant for the 2014 season, there are moves that go on throughout the winter that doesn’t get everyone’s attention on television or in the newspaper that should be noted to all baseball fans.

Nick+Punto+Arizona+Diamondbacks+v+Los+Angeles+JTUk13Yrdh4xLet’s start with infielder Nick Punto signing with the Oakland A’s. In Los Angeles last season with the Dodgers, he had a very good defensive year at 3rd Base and Shortstop. But let’s start off with his value. He had a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 2.2 and 22 RAR (runs above replacement). He had a line of .255/.328/.327 in 335 plate appearances for the Los Angeles Dodgers but it wasn’t his bat that makes him so important because he defense makes up for that line. His Rdrs/year (Defensive Runs Saved) at 3rd and SS was 11 which is very good at the hot corner including 48 double plays turned and a .974 fielding percentage. Note, this is a utility player who will bring leadership and depth to a team that was lacking that in the postseason. Like I said, this is not a sexy signing but it is very influential to the Oakland A’s ball club in 2014.

Colby+Lewis+Toronto+Blue+Jays+v+Texas+Rangers+kQR2Vtq3VDmlNext is a signing that occurred today with Colby Lewis and the Texas Rangers. He signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. If Lewis makes the major league team, he’ll make $2 million in base salary and can earn up to another $4 million in incentives. He won 26 games for the Rangers in 2010-11 and in the playoffs he was 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA. Here is the important part, he started 200 innings in both of those years and had a winning record in a ballpark that is tough to pitch in. The Rangers will lose Matt Garza and lack veteran leadership in their rotation. If he can get it right after shoulder surgery in 2012, he can be an innings eater and can be that important back of the rotation guy at a very low cost compared to the Royals signing Jason Vargas for 8 million a season with a career 4.30 ERA. At the age of 34, he shouldn’t be the same pitcher we saw 3 years ago but I expect him to be effective and help the club get more wins this season. Watch for his story when Spring Training arises. I like his comeback potential.

penaCatchers are at a premium in baseball, especially defensive ones. When the Cincinnati Reds signed Brayan Pena and the Tampa Bay Rays signed Jose Molina on two-year contracts, I thought they were extremely smart moves from both clubs.

For the Tigers last season, Pena had a good percentage catching 30% of runners stealing bases. He also presented some pop in his bat with a .297 average, 4 home runs, and 11 doubles in 71 games. Not many backups catchers have those types of numbers in the big leagues and the Reds lacked a catcher with home run power and strong defense behind the dish.

molina raysOn the other side, Molina is a defensive wizard and is essential for Tampa Bay’s pitching staff. During the 2012 season he held the staff to a 3.22 ERA and a 3.74 in 2013. He had a value defensively of 6.2 compared to the league average of 0.9 in 2012 and 3.9 compared to league average 1.4 in 2013. In his two years with a Rays uniform he has had 55 runners killed on the base paths which shows how valuable he is compared to any other catcher in the market. Plus, he ranks first in framing runs above average with 33 which is 5 better than his brother Yadier Molina who is the best defensive catcher in the National League.

As for the offense, he has batted a poor .228 with the Rays but his defense is more valuable than his offense and you could see that in the 2013 Wild Card game against the Indians as he led Alex Cobb to 6 2/3 scoreless innings and striking out five.

So after reading this I hope you realize that while adding a player like Robinson Cano can make a huge difference in wins for any roster in the major leagues, it is the buying low and getting high reward players that fans don’t know about going into spring training. I hope I have kept you informed on smart deals for teams that needed improvements at those positions.

Photo Gallery: Yankees vs. Athletics on July 22, 2011

August 22, 2011

Here is a photo gallery of the New York Yankees 17-7 victory over the Oakland Athletics at new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. The biggest part about this game was the fact that it was 101 degrees at the stadium, Texiera hit a grand slam, and rookie 3rd Baseman Brandon Laird (brother of Cardinals catcher, Gerald Laird) got his first major league hit. We were sitting in section 332A Row 4 Seats 1-4 and lets just say they were right by the foul pole in left field. To get the shots on my new Cannon Rebel Camera are phenomenal. I hope you enjoy the pictures and would love to hear your comments about them…

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What if the Diamondbacks didn’t make this trade?

April 20, 2011

Via MLBTradeRumors:

Former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes made many trades that dramatically altered the team’s future, but none more so than the 2007 deal to acquire Dan Haren.  Hindsight is always 20/20, but what would the team look like if we undid this trade?

On December 14th, 2007, the Diamondbacks shipped Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Carter, Aaron Cunningham, Dana Eveland, and Greg Smith to the Athletics for Haren and Connor Robertson.  At the time I called this a win for the Diamondbacks, failing to fully realize what Gonzalez and Anderson would become.  So I can’t knock Byrnes for pulling the trigger, especially since he was adding a second ace to pair with Brandon Webb without hurting his big league club.  Plus, Haren was signed at a third of his market value for three seasons.  You have to give up a ton to get a guy like that.

Still, let’s undo the Haren trade and put CarGo in left field for Arizona.  We can also take Joe Saunders out of the rotation and slide Anderson in.  Those are a couple of huge upgrades.  WAR might peg the total upgrade over what the Diamondbacks have now at five wins or so, but I have to admit that intuitively it feels like the difference would be about twice that.  Just undoing the one Haren deal, the D’Backs have a fantastic, affordable front three of Anderson, Kennedy, and Hudson in their rotation plus a pair of superstars at the outfield corners. 

What else would be different right now?  Would Byrnes still have his job?  Would Mark Reynolds still be manning third base?  Would the team have made a more serious offseason push toward contending in 2011?  It’s fun to wonder, unless you root for the Diamondbacks.

…This is interesting because I still think it was the right move in the end. They made the playoffs in 2007 and went all the way to the NLCS beating a very good Cubs team that year. I think it was the right move to make this trade and go with the pitching because honestly, you never know what could happen to these prospects. No one knew that #1 pick Jeremy Reed would be a bad bench player or that Josh Hamilton would be out of the league due to a drug issue. Evaluating talent is so hard to do because sometimes it is just luck of the draw and which situations you are fortuanate enough to be in. It’s interesting that the writer Tim Dierkes brings this up because would the Diamondbacks be competing every year with Gonzalez and Anderson? It’s an interesting thought…

AL West Preview

April 1, 2011

Donnie Dwyer of the Sports Cycle breaks down the American League West with projections and players to watch out.