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Baseball Gods Give Rich Hill, A’s The Middle Finger

Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros
“Hey, I’m running as fast I can...feel like. running”
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Next year he’ll be Rich but this year won’t amount to a Hill of Beanes for the A’s if they can’t trade their ace SP in the next two weeks. Jemile? Rickie? No, sorry, we’re fresh out of puns for this paragraph. We are, however, expecting a fresh batch to come in soon.

Some random notes on this penultimate Sunday in July except for the fact that there’s actually two more but whatever...

- I’m perplexed by the A’s decision to make a public announcement that Danny Valencia will be getting reduced playing time. If you want to reduce his playing time in order to get a long look at Ryon Healy, wouldn’t the best way to do it be to quietly seek to trade Valencia and figure the problem will resolve itself within two weeks?

Reportedly the market for Valencia is soft, which is puzzling given the number of teams that desperately need a bad fielder who only runs when he feels like it. Still, is it so soft that you can’t get something of value back for a .301/.352/.490 hitter? You can’t shut up and DH him while you shop him?

It’s almost as if the A’s have concluded that Valencia not tradeable and while I never thought he would bring back a ton of value I have to say I’m surprised if there is no market for him. Yet that’s how the A’s are playing it. So then let’s DFA Billy Butler, stick Danny at DH for the next 1.5 years and move on, shall we?

- Mad props to Sean Manaea for coming in unexpectedly — and by unexpectedly I mean two full days before he thought he was going to pitch — and doing a yeoman’s job throwing 5 IP in relief, allowing 2 ER and giving the A’s a chance to win.

I am very encouraged by Manaea’s progress of late, which includes back to back appearances without issuing a walk. I think most impressive to me is that Manaea is showing an ability to succeed without relying on throwing mid-90s. (Which is good because he is vacillating wildly between 90MPH and 95MPH from inning to inning.) These days Manaea can sit at 90-91 MPH and still use a surprisingly good changeup to keep hitters off balance and make his fastball look quicker than it is — and then of course it’s gravy when he dials it up to 94-95 MPH.

- So far so good on Ryon Healy at 3B, even if his frame suggests he will have limited lateral mobility. At the plate the Eyeball Scout has noted that Healy is too pull-happy. Perhaps Healy can take a page out of Mark Canha’s playbook, letting pitches get in deeper and stroking them hard to right-center. It looks like Healy’s swing is well suited to driving the ball deep the other way and I look forward to his first drive in that direction. It will be a step forward, I believe, in his development as a legitimate big league hitter.

- OK we get it: Khris Davis cannot throw the ball. So on a ball like Josh Donaldson’s 9th inning double, why is Davis chucking a rain-making lollipop vaguely in the direction of the pitcher’s mound? The A’s need to have Marcus Semien go way out into LF field as the cutoff man and give Davis a very short throw to make. Let Semien take it from there and it will be both quicker, and far more accurate, to get the ball near a base. But that throw Khris unkhorked should never happen because there is no way it can end well.

- Did you know that the A’s have been tied, or ahead, in the 9th inning 8 games in a row? They’re only 5-3, but still...They could easily have an 8-game winning streak going right now and be just 6 games under .500. Bollocks.

- 14 days to rest a blister, fully heal, make a terrific start and get dealt for a good haul. You’ve got this, Rich!