First off, apologies to emperor nobody for the quick hook of today's recap -- please make sure to check it out so you can join in making Airplane jokes.
Having spent the last 3 days watching the A's and seeing some of the newer faces, I have figured out what I would do, in the A's shoes, to get the roster to 25 with the team's current state of health.
First off, Daric Barton is the starting 1Bman. He is easily the best defensive option the A's have, Chavez included (you can't master a new position that fast no matter how good a defensive player you were somewhere else on the field), and he is quite possibly their best hitter too. In fact unless the combination of Chavez/Fox have 25 HRs in them, which they don't, it's almost a certainty. Barton has done everything right so far in Spring Training and it's time for the A's to figure out whether he has turned the corner -- because if he has, he could be a big asset for several years.
Next, let's take a look at Jake Fox, whom I've now seen. Defensively, it took a sample size of one for me to conclude that he's probably a worse OFer than Jack Cust. You didn't let me finish -- Jack Cust's grandmother. On the first ball in the first inning, he took a bad route, staggered around and then slipped and fell down -- as the ball was landing a good 15 feet away from him. It was pretty pathetic. At the plate, I saw him all weekend and the guy does not take pitches. He basically hopes every pitch will be a fastball down the middle, decides before the pitcher delivers the ball that he will swing, and the one time he was right he launched it. Most of the time, he swings and misses.
Remember that when the A's acquired Fox, Cust and Kouzmanoff were not on the A's. With Cust, Chavez, and Kouzmanoff now in the mix, I believe the A's should send Fox down and expose him to waivers. It's not that big a deal. He is Kouzmanoff without the defense, which is a bit like Mozart without the musical talent. And with Chavez under contract and still healthy, and with Patterson out of options, I think it's a mistake to value Fox any more than as insurance against Chavez, or someone else, breaking down before the A's have to set their roster.
Coco Crisp starts the season on the DL -- he hasn't even played the field yet and now he's out a week altogether with a bad hamstring. That buys 2 more weeks to let the rest of the roster sort itself out.
If Joey Devine is ready, you go with a 7-man bullpen and 4-man bench (with Gabe Gross starting in LF for 2 weeks):
If Devine isn't ready Opening Day, go with 5 short relievers plus Jennings as the long man and now you can add Fox, who will probably be dumped when Crisp gets back unless by then the A's prefer to dump Gross or Patterson.
Spring Training doesn't mean a lot, unless you're Jake Fox and you show your true colors to your new team. I was very unimpressed with what I saw and it helped me to decide that the roster crunch isn't that crunchy after all.