Are there players who are simply "too good not to acquire, but too bad to actually keep"? I can't be the first person to anoint Sandy Rosario with the nickname "Hurricane Sandy" -- not for his destructive slider or anything, but rather for how he his tearing through the major leagues at speeds formerly known only to Octavio Dotel.
If you're playing "Where's Sandy" along with the rest of us, Rosario has most recently turned up (probably upside down in the upper right-hand corner) with the San Francisco Giants. You may remember Rosario as the pitcher Oakland acquired, ever so briefly, from the Boston Red Sox (who had just claimed him from the Marlins). However, if you blinked you might have missed his subsequent time with the Cubs -- kind of a "stopover in Chicago," if you will -- before the Cubbies decided they hated his pitching even though he hadn't done any, and now it's on to SF and who knows where else before pitchers and catchers actually "report and do stuff".
Granted, Rosario is 27 years old with a career big league ERA of 15.26, so it's easy to understand the part where teams aren't signing him to a guaranteed six-year deal. Frankly, I find it less troubling than amusing that in just 7.2 big league innings Rosario has managed to give up 22 hits. That might actually make the very short list of "things major league players have done that I could actually do".
On the flip side, in AAA last season Rosario put up a 1.04 ERA in 25 games. So there are reasons to think he's worth a flier, and reasons to think he should just stay on the next plane and try being a flight attendant. Apparently, so many teams are ambivalent that they are doing both: Acquiring and dumping him. Does anyone know the record for "number of teams a player has been on in between actually doing anything"? For all we know, Hurricane Sandy may be a first-ballot Hall-of-Transients candidate.
"5 More Years! ... 5 More Years!..."
Meanwhile, speaking of "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" the latest news on the A's search for a home has Lew Wolff asking the Oakland Coliseum for a 5-year commitment, and in return the A's would promise not to move to San Jose before the 2018 season even if they could.
The A's current lease with the Coliseum expires after 2013, which could render the A's homeless after next season. That sounds a bit more ominous than it is when you consider that the A's and the Coliseum have been down the same road many times before, and each time the lease has been extended.
Still, what if it weren't? Wolff isn't saying where he might look if he has to relocate the A's on a temporary and emergency basis, which means that officially, on the internet -- a place of idle speculation, where rumor becomes credible if you just yell loud enough -- anywhere is possible.
Perhaps the Oakland Zoo is a candidate, where there is ample space and even an elephant already on site. Other animals could be kept along the perimeter to pad the "official attendance," and could sometimes be released to help Bob Melvin argue especially poor calls. And we already have games periodically delayed by a cat running on the field, so the occasional tiger shouldn't be a big deal.
Where else could the A's house themselves? I noticed that a pretty large restaurant in Berkeley recently closed down. Listed "maximum occupancy" is 112, so that might be perfect (except for Monday night games against the Astros, but what can you do?). You'd have to get a bit creative with the ground rules, but maybe anything that breaks a window is a "ground rule double". Cue Vince Cotroneo: "That fastball really got in his kitchen! No, literally."
All seriousness aside, though, where exactly would the A's be able to play if they suddenly found themselves needing a 2014 venue on short notice? It would have to be a stadium that is ready for a team now and does not need to go through the building process that is accompanied by EIRs and permits. Good luck with that.
The Knock On Jima
Is Hiroyuki Nakajima's arm strong enough for SS? Put me down as officially being a fan of Nakajima working on, and refining, the "one hop throw on grass/dirt" as part of his regular game. First of all, it's not unprecedented. Eric Chavez used it post surgery, and some of the game's best shortstops in history, such as Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel, have been creative in finding the most efficient way to complete plays.
Reportedly, Nakajima has very good range to his left, where his arm will not be a huge issue on balls he gets to. Balls to his right (into the SS hole) will be another issue, and if he is just able to complete enough of the plays on the balls he gets to, he should be fine overall. Mastering the one-hop throw could go a long way to meeting this goal.
I also won't be surprised if Nakajima tends to shade towards 3B in his regular set-up. The more balls he can circle around, charge, or field to his left, the better off he'll be. And those areas appear to be strengths as compared to ranging to his right or making the long throw.
Happy Holidays, everyone! I've offered three possible topics to discuss -- the fourth one, as always, is "anything else".