FanPost

A Few Observations of the Early Season

1) I've been fairly mum on the possibility that Eric Chavez is truly, without-a-doubt, start-digging-the-grave "done" with being a productive player...well, I'm pretty close to making that concession after watching him play the past few weeks. I understand that Chavez indicated he would need a month or so to get his timing back to where he used to be at the plate, but I don't understand how he's supposed to get that timing back when he can't stay on the field for any lasting amount of time. His recent quip that he's "day to day, probably for the whole year" is classic Chavez...and I'm kind of annoyed by it now.

Nomar has been okay as a platoon partner for Chavez, but he's got his own issues and is clearly just a one-year stop-gap. I'd really like for the team to go out this coming off-season and get someone reliable to, at the very least, play 3rd against EVERY left-handed starter out there, since Chavez is completely useless against lefties at this point. Maybe Beane can swing a deal for Kevin Kouzmanoff (hacktastic/no patience, but good pop against lefties and decent fielder) or could convince Miguel Tejada to come back to be a utility infielder.

Long-term, I'm glad that Adrian Cardenas has gotten off to a fast start at Midland. By most accounts, he won't be a major league-caliber shortstop, but many scouts seem to think he could handle 3rd base defensively and while he likely won't be a really big-time slugger, he seems to hit a lot of doubles and hit for a high-average against both righties and lefties. I'd take someone like that at 3rd base any day of the week for the next few years, please...

 

2) I find it fascinating that Beane has assembled such a strikeout-averse starting rotation (top 4 starters are averaging 4.37 strikeouts per 9 innings) while at the same time he assembled such a high-strikeout bullpen group (top 6 relievers are averaging 9.17 strikeouts per 9 innings). There's no doubt that the starters as a whole are a lot more likely to pitch to contact as a matter of efficiency, but even so, that's a pretty big discrepency between the two groups. Does Beane look for completely different characteristics in relievers than he does in starters? Or is it just simply a matter of pitchers doing what's best for the situation: starters trying to last deep into games by forcing early contact and relievers just trying to blow everyone away while they have the chance?

3) I really hope that Beane finds a way to keep Jack Cust for the next couple of years (he's under team control, but arbitration eligible, through 2011). As we've seen the last few seasons, it takes a special type of hitter to not only produce in Oakland but to thrive there and those types of hitters don't exactly come along very often...but Jack Cust has shown that he's exactly that type of hitter, with or without "protection" from the rest of the lineup. He's always gonna strikeout a lot, but he's also pretty much a lock for 100 walks and 25 homers and an .800+ OPS. He also STAYS HEALTHY. I'm not sure I would commit to a multi-year deal with Jack, but I'd really like the team to go year-to-year with him and just pencil him in as the DH for the next 2+ years.

4) Speaking of possible long-term deals, I'm wondering if the team will start discussing such a deal with Kurt Suzuki over the course of the next calendar year. Along with Cust, Suzuki has pretty much fueled the A's offense early in this season. He's gotten better with the bat every year he's been a major leaguer and by all accounts has been a fine reciever, defender and guide for the pitching staff. He's also an Iron Man behind the plate. In my book, he's really the only "young" player really worth a long-term deal, but I'm curious what people think he's worth. He's eligible for arbitration after 2010 and then free agency after 2013. The team has the fragile Landon Powell backing-up Suzuki and a couple of intriguing, but hardly "can't miss", prospects in the pipeline such as Josh Donaldson, Anthony Recker, Petey Paramore and Joel Galarrage...so I'm wondering if the team would make a move to buy-out all of Suzuki's arbitration years sometime in the next year or two. Maybe something like a 3-year/$10 million extension to kick in after 2010? $1.5 million in 2011, $3.5 million in 2012 and $5 million in 2013?

 

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