There isn't much to be deduced from what you see during the spring. For example, veteran pitchers almost always have bad springs. I remember for several seasons that Hudson, Mulder and Zito almost always seemed to get hit around down in Arizona and then the season started and a switch almost always turned on.
Course things are different when you're someone like Carlos Gonzalez or Greg Smith and you're trying to show the team that you deserve to break camp with the team. Or that you could even potentially replace someone like a Joe Blanton if need be. I don't think Beane would make a decision based solely on a stellar spring training performance, but it can definitely make him feel more confident about making a deal if he has several auditioning pitchers showing major league readiness.
So it's four games in, the A's are 3-1 and have been blown out once, blown out the Brewers and Giants and then followed that up with a come-from-behind win today.
The things we've been able to learn so far:
- All the king's horses and all the king's men haven't been able to fully put Eric Chavez back together again. Yep, Chavy seems like he might not be ready for opening day in Japan, which is fine with me for now. Hannahan proved himself to be an adequate replacement for Eric last year. I wouldn't mind seeing someone who is trying to recover from back surgery on a plane to Japan. Just get fully healthy, Eric. I'm pretty sure that you'll still have a hot corner waiting for you when you come back.
- Jack Cust is obviously a man on a mission. He gained 27 pounds of muscle this offseason which has led to a 3.000 OPS for the three games he's played. He's got an atypical Cust line in that he has three walks and two home runs and no strikeouts, so you can't read too much into it. But it seems like he's unbelievably motivated.
- Carlos Gonzalez looks like he wants to stay. Not only from his bat, but he had an amazing (at least according to those who saw it) throw to the plate today to gun down Colorado's Garret Atkins. It would be really nice if the A's got a stellar outfielder making the big club two years in a row. I'm not counting on it happening especially because the A's will probably want to give a few different players like Ryan Sweeney every opportunity and camp is shorter for the A's because of the Japan trip. But I'm kind of hoping the kind has it in him to excel every moment he's in there. If you're going to rebuild and he seems ready, let him get acclimated in the bigs.
- In some ways related to Gonzalez, I really don't want Emil Brown to have a good spring. It sounds bad, but Brown making the club doesn't make the A's more exciting to me. Sure, he has a lot more experience than some of the other A's options and I know that this is being selfish, but I just want to see the rebuilding really impacting this year. I probably need to learn to be patient.
- SB Nation writers have fantastically talented brother in laws. Well, OK, so it's only Dex from Gaslamp Ball whose brother happens to be Brooks Conrad, but we'll take it. Conrad is tied for the team lead in total bases with 12. He's tied with Cust.
- Finally, Rich Harden makes his first start of the spring tomorrow. I plan on sacrificing three chickens and consulting the ouija board tonight while burning incense.
Ultimately, you can't really draw any conclusions from spring training, let alone four games into the spring, but believe it or not, this seems like a really fun spring already. Not because the A's are winning, although smacking around Zito is fun no matter when, but because it seems like there are so many question marks up in the air and a lot of exciting potential answers.