Is it time for Ryan Cook to close? Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
It's no secret that the Athletics' feast-or-famine offense could use something.
A past-his-prime DH with greying dreadlocks does not appear to be the solution. Manny Ramirez, 40, is hitting .268 against AAA pitching with one extra-base hit: a double. He's also battled injury problems.
Beane said he's not disappointed that his project hasn't produced. "What we said from the beginning is that if it becomes a situation where he can help us, then he's an option," Beane said. "But until he starts playing and starts hitting, that's not the case."
Could it be that Manny simply can't be Manny in the minor leagues? There's a school of thought that Ramirez is in an unfamiliar environment: stick him in a big-league clubhouse facing big-league pitching and the old Ramirez might emerge.
"That's a little bit of hope being a strategy and not necessarily being a good one," Beane said. "Had he just played last September you could certainly apply that logic. But we're talking about a guy who hasn't played for a year and a half. There needs to be some balance. You can't just say, 'Let's try it out.'"
What do you think? (More stuff about the A's closer situation after the jump)
I was (mercifully) asleep by the time Brian Fuentes entered the game last night. I think the time has come to see what Ryan Cook can do with the ninth inning. What harm is it doing? The closer role isn't exactly a sacred spot on a team that has a 0.8 percent chance to make it to the playoffs. "Tito" seems like a likeable enough guy, but at this point in his career, he is likely better suited for a LOOGY role.
Stiglich said that A's manager Bob Melvin was asked about the closer spot after the game.
A’s manager Bob Melvin was asked about the closer issue after the game but answered: "I don’t make decisions like that two minutes after a game."
CSN Insider Casey Pratt (who is a must-follow on Twitter, by the way) wrote after the game that it's likely time for Cook to close.
He has the lowest batting average on balls in play -- or BABIP -- in Major League Baseball (.105). He also has the lowest line drive against percentage in the league (9%). Simply put, no one is making solid contact against him.
Cook has the stuff to be a closer. Right now hitters are batting just .119 against his fastball, and .032 against his slider. His fastball averages 94.9-mph. Fuentes' averages 90.4.
The A's unwillingness to make Cook their closer is easy to understand. He is just 24, and this is just his second season in MLB. He is just now coming into his own as a professional baseball player, and the team is wary of thrusting him into the ninth inning. The A's showed earlier this season that they aren't afraid to make a change though. They already demoted Grant Balfour, in favor of Fuentes.
Who should close?
Brian Fuentes (8 votes)
Ryan Cook (312 votes)
Grant Balfour (55 votes)
Josh Reddick (102 votes)
477 total votes