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The Value Of Sitting On The Bench

Nothing drives A's fans crazier than having Aaron Cunningham sit on the major league bench when he could be starting for the A's or starting for the Rivercats, but is doing neither. Thing is, the A's have done this numerous times -- with Cunningham, with Buck, with Barton -- where they have called a player up only to play very little before being sent back down.

But in some of those instances, the A's must have known what they were doing. In other words, it wasn't as if circumstance got in the way of "the best laid plans," it was that it must have been the plan. Cunningham is a good recent example. When he was called up, the A's knew he could be getting ABs every day in Sacramento and knew he was on the roster as they rather consistently passed him up for three other choices and relegated him to "defensive replacement duty." He could have started every day for Oakland, he just didn't; he could have been left in Sacramento to play every day for the Rivercats, he just wasn't.

In today's Chronicle, in a blurb titled "Everidge now a pine-time player," Susan Slusser notes that Barton's return, coupled with Nomar's presence, likely means bench time for Tommy Everidge. Now granted, Everidge is older and not the prospect that these other examples are, but perhaps he can still reap the benefits of whatever it is the A's feel are the benefits of sitting on a major league bench. Everidge says he used the first two games of the series for picking some of the veterans' brains, specifically asking Bobby Crosby about handling a bench role. So that's certainly useful -- Everidge probably now has a better understanding of how to get your father to whine on your behalf even though the real problem is that you haven't performed well for 5 years. But seriously...

My question today assumes that the A's must believe that for a young player, sitting on the major league bench soaking up whatever you can soak up by sitting on the major league bench, can at times be more useful for a young player than playing every day in Sacramento for those 2-3 weeks. Is there any validity to this?