Rosales Isn't The Problem

"A thousand 9, a thousand 10..." - Thearon W. Henderson

There has been some disgruntlement lately -- and very little gruntlement -- around Adam Rosales and his light-hitting, hole-in-the-lineup ways. And for apparent good reason: Rosy, for all his hustle and grit, is batting all of .198 thanks in large part to his absurd .104/.173/.229 line against RHPs.

However, there is a reason the A's continue to find a spot on the roster for Rosales. He is the A's only good defensive SS and each time you see one of Jed Lowrie's one-hop throws, Eric Sogard's concept of turning a DP, Lowrie's Jeteresque attempt to field a ball 10 feet away from him, or one of Sogard's three-hop throws, you are reminded of how important up-the-middle defense is.

As for Rosales' bat? Well, basically it sucks. It Brendan Ryan sucks. Rosy is utterly meh against LHPs and should be pinch hit for by Mark Belanger against RHPs. You can absorb a bat like that in the lineup in order to get good defense at an important defensive position.

What you can't afford is to have your 2Bman also hit that badly -- while not being a plus defender, either. It's not "Rosales" that is the problem, it's "Rosales and Sogard together". Last night, with 2 outs in the 9th and Josh Reddick at 1B, the A's were faced with needing an XBH from Rosales, or two successful at bats, with Rosales and Sogard due up. Unable to pinch hit Coco Crisp twice, Melvin opted to save Crisp for Sogard and let Rosales bat against the LHP Oliver Perez. It failed, as Rosales failed, but even if you didn't like the way Bob Melvin played it (and I didn't -- I would have sent up Crisp and then if need be, Moss, even if it meant Moss at 3B, Lowrie at SS, and Jaso at 2B in a 10th inning), let's face it: Melvin had no good options.

One black hole in the lineup, in trade for excellent defense at an important defensive position, is one thing. Two black holes in the lineups, in trade for excellent defense at two important defensive positions, is another. What the A's have is yet a third thing: Two black holes in the lineup, and the second one isn't even your only adequate defender at that position.

In other words, Rosales serves a useful purpose in being the A's only true defensive SS. But if Oakland could pry away, say, a Gordon Beckham to play 2B then Rosales would not be a liability as a backup-and-sometimes starting SS.

Of course, the A's would have to give up some talent in order to upgrade 2B and perhaps they have calculated that they can win just fine with the status quo. So far, they're right. But if they're not, or when they're not, Rosales isn't really the problem. He's the one black hole you can succeed with, because when he's at SS Lowrie isn't and that's a good thing. It's when the A's put two black holes out there that they're getting exposed.


See you at 4:15pm for AJ Griffin against Felix Hernandez...

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