Is it the dawn of a new era in Oakland, or is it just a different Bob? Who knows, but here's what I've observed following the flurry of moves on the roster and at the helm...
Sure, it's hard to think about Sizemore at this moment without focusing too much on his most recent at bat, but I'm looking at a much bigger sample...which is still a really small one...But from what I've seen of Sizemore, I think he has the best chance of being a legitimate 3B option of anyone since whenever Eric Chavez was last in one piece.
I really like his swing, which looks short and compact, quick, and is combined with a good eye and strong plate discipline. And in contrast to Daric Barton, Cliff Pennington, and Ryan Sweeney, his swing seems to generate some "ball jumps off the bat" force that might generate surprising power instead of surprising lack of power.
Defensively, Sizemore figures to be quite the work-in-progress, which was evidenced by his poor decision last night to make a throw -- and not a good one as it turned out -- when he should have held onto the ball. However, he looks to me like he has the quickness, hands, and arm to be a decent 3Bman, so I'm putting him into my "cautiously optimistic" category: I like what I've seen so far.
At the plate, so far he has been oft far too impatient but when he hasn't hacked at the first pitch to swing at a "pitcher's pitch" he has shown a decent eye and patience thereafter. It will be interesting to see what his plate discipline looks like once he has settled down and pitchers have learned more about his strengths and weaknesses.
On the bases he is exactly what the A's have so desperately needed: Someone who can create energy and excitement but who, unlike Rajai Davis, hasn't shown a particular propensity to act like a dunderheaded mule out there.
In the field, even when he makes a play you can easily visualize how Mark Ellis would have made the same play look so much easier. Weeks' footwork needs attention, especially on turning DPs, as he does not use the bag in anything approaching the wizard-like way we are accustomed to seeing with Ellis. Weeks needs to learn how to come to the home plate side at times, use the base as a shield other times, and so on -- and who better to teach this than Ellis? Here's hoping the A's will transition Ellis from every day starter to mentor, rather than just sending Weeks back to AAA in a week or just cutting ties abruptly with Ellis. How they would do this, however, is unclear since Ellis does not have potential to be a backup utility infielder. Weeks' throwing motion also looks awkward to me, like he could be using his body better to set up his throws.
Overall, Weeks looks both raw and talented, as well as unfazed by being in the big leagues, but what stands out most is that he brings a kind of spark that happens to be just what the doctor ordered for this team right now.
I don't want to read too much into too little, because let's face it: Matsui's line drive in the 9th inning last night could have carried a little farther to Alex Rios and the A's would have lost 5-3 without even much of a tease. But I recall early in the rally, Kurt Suzuki was sitting next to where Melvin was standing when Melvin clapped encouragement and Suzuki, seeing this, echoed it with claps of encouragement he wasn't planning to offer.
What does that all signify? Who the heck knows? But allow me at least one day to bask in the glow of a manager who came aboard choosing to speak of the need for energy and the promise of more energy, who has modeled a different persona than the one the team was dying slowly -- or should I say quickly -- alongside, and whose team snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in day two of the Bob Melvin era.
I really don't know if Bob Melvin is good, but I do know that Bob Geren had sucked the very life out of the Oakland A's and that Melvin -- whether by being change for change's sake or by knowing CPR -- has given the A's a pulse. As has Weeks, and as did Sizemore with a memorable swing that has capped a promising first week.
What have you seen from these guys, or from others worth discussing? See you at 4:10pm for first pitch!