Yoenis Cespedes: As Chico Escuela might say, "Baseball been berry berry good to him!"
The A’s shocked the baseball world on Monday when news broke that the team had signed Cuban free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The team reportedly inked the 26-year-old to a 4-year, $36 million contract that will keep him with the A’s through the 2015 season. The right-handed slugger set a single-season home run record in Cuba last year, clubbing 33 homers in 354 at bats to go along with an impressive .333/.424/.667 slash line.
The prized prospect is considered a 5-tool player, but how his talents will translate once he’s transplanted into the major leagues is anyone’s guess. But we should find out soon enough as Cespedes, who played center field in Cuba, is expected to open the season in either center or right field for the A’s. The slugger could be counted on to be the cleanup hitter that general manager Billy Beane recently said he was looking for, with recently acquired outfielder Seth Smith slotting in the #3 spot right behind outfielder Coco Crisp and second baseman Jemile Weeks, who’s expected to bat leadoff.
Cespedes’ power is clear (hitting 1 home run every 10.7 at bats in Cuba last year), and he also possesses some speed, but his plate discipline and ability to hit for average are likely to be the biggest question marks. Experts seem to be expecting something like a .250-.260 batting average from him with somewhere between 20-30 home runs per season. With those sorts of numbers, he could have a career that profiles something like Vernon Wells or, for old school A’s fans, perhaps George Hendrick.
After the Cespedes signing, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted that the A’s are still interested in signing Manny Ramirez. And the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that the A’s are likely to sign Manny and give him a shot once his 50-day suspension is over in mid-May.
Manny says: "Let Yoenis be Yoenis!"
Beyond the obvious reasons, the Cespedes signing, along with the continued talk about Manny, is also interesting for what it says about how the A’s view other players on their roster. While the team seems willing to put plenty of faith in their young pitching prospects’ ability to step up and perform in the majors this season, they clearly seem reluctant to want to put much faith in most of their young hitting prospects at this point.
At this point, barring a trade, the A’s will open the season with five outfielders on the major league roster – Cespedes, Crisp, Reddick, Smith and Gomes (with Smith and Gomes likely getting most of their at bats in the designated hitter spot – at least until Manny Ramirez’s potential arrival).
Mitchell isn’t likely to be fully healthy at the start of the season, and Hunter is still young enough that he could be sent back down to Double-A. That leaves two left still to be trimmed. Spring injuries could take care of one or both of those spots, as could potential trades. But of the ten names listed above, you’d expect the A’s to give priority for Triple-A outfield at bats to Cowgill, Taylor and Green, and priority for first base and designated hitter at bats to Carter and Ka’aihue.
So it seems like minor league free agent signees Brandon Moss, Jason Pridie and Jeff Fiorentino, all of whom signed on with the A’s when the only experienced major league outfielder on the roster was Ryan Sweeney, might end up regretting their decision since they could very well wind up out in the cold. And it’s safe to assume that Cuba’s loss is bound to leave Taylor, Carter and Cowgill on the outside looking in as well.
A’s owner Lew Wolff told Bloomberg Television today that General Manager and Vice-President Billy Beane and team President Michael Crowley have both agreed to extensions that will keep them with the team through the 2019 season.
Beane, who has been general manager of the A’s since 1997, is the longest-tenured GM in the American League. And Crowley signed on with the team just one year later. The 76-year-old Wolff told Bloomberg, “If they are here another 30 years, that’s fine with me.” Then he joked, “Somebody said the reason I am doing it is I want one or the other to be able to wheel me into the new stadium.”
And what’s most important in this story for A’s fans is what’s not said about what it means for that new stadium. As everyone knows, the A’s are eager to build a new stadium for themselves in San Jose and have been awaiting a decision from Commissioner Bud Selig granting them permission to do just that.
Wolff and the A’s brass have basically described a decision that would block their proposed move to San Jose as a death sentence for the team. Unconfirmed rumors have been circulating that the fix may be in and that Selig will grant the A’s permission to move before long. And today’s news only seems to make that speculation more credible.
Why would the team’s two top executives choose to commit themselves for the next eight seasons to a team that may have no future? They wouldn’t. The announcement that Beane and Crowley have committed to the A’s through 2019 means that they clearly see a bright future for the A’s – in San Jose – through the end of the decade and they want to be around to see it!
A's owner Lew Wolff: Look, no Mt. Davis! (AP Photo/San Jose Mercury News, LiPo Ching)
Adrian Cardenas: You're going to be needing a jacket in Chicago
The Chicago Cubs claimed infielder Adrian Cardenas off waivers from the A’s today. The team had designated Cardenas for assignment 10 days ago after signing free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes.
Cardenas was originally acquired from the Phillies, along with pitcher Josh Outman and outfielder Matt Spencer, in the Joe Blanton trade. The 24-year-old hit well in Triple-A last season, posting a .314/.374/.418 slash line at Sacramento. Cardenas never got a major league at bat with the A’s though, and Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectustweeted today that, “He’s a really bad infielder.”
Cardenas started out as a second baseman and shortstop, but the A’s eventually shifted him to third base, and then to left field last season. And the team obviously had a hard time finding a position they felt was right for him.
The loss of Cardenas opens up the second base position at Triple-A Sacramento this year for Wes Timmons, who will be teaming up with the loser of the A’s utility infielder battle – Eric Sogard or Adam Rosales – at shortstop, with Stephen Parker at third, and most likely Kila Ka’aihue at first, to form the 2012 Rivercats infield.
Adam Rosales (photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Eric Sogard (photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Former top prospect Jemile Weeks - who will be the next to make it big? (photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
It seems like there’s a new top prospect list popping up from someone everyday for A’s fans to chew over and debate. There are usually certain similarities amongst them that you can count on, like Jarrod Parker and Michael Choice being somewhere in the top tier. Each of them usually has its own particular peculiarities though, like slotting someone in the top 10 whom no one else even bothers to mention.
For the purposes of this list, I’ve looked at the top ten picks from each list and assigned points to each player as follows: 10 points for each first place finish, 9 points for second, 8 for third, all the way on down to 1 point for each tenth place finish.
You’ll notice that half of the consensus top ten prospects are pitchers, including four of the top five prospects. Half the list is also made up of new players acquired in the deals with the Diamondbacks, Nationals and Red Sox, showing just how much these deals served to rejuvenate the A’s minor league system.
Interestingly enough, all four of the prospects acquired in the Gio Gonzalez deal with the Nationals made the consensus top ten, showing that no matter how reluctant some A’s fans were to accept life without Gio, his trade could really end up forming the basis of a highly effective A’s starting rotation for many years to come.
Since some of these players also appeared in a recent “new prospects” roundup on this blog earlier in the week, some of these player profiles might seem a little familiar to you. But hey, you might as well start getting familiar with these guys ‘cause, with any luck, you’ll be looking at them for a long time to come! So without any further ado, let’s take a look at the A’s consensus top ten prospect list…
#1 Jarrod Parker (photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Arizona’s first-round draft pick in 2007, Parker missed all of the 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery, but came back in 2011 to post a 3.79 ERA with 112 strikeouts in 130 2/3 innings at Double-A Mobile. Acquired in the Trevor Cahill trade, the 23-year-old clearly has the stuff to eventually end up as a top-of-the-rotation starter for the A’s, but he could still benefit from a little more seasoning. There’s no need for the team to rush him, but it’d be a surprise if Parker didn’t lay claim to his spot in the A’s rotation by 2013.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Sacramento Rivercats
#2 Michael Choice (photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The A’s first-round draft pick in 2010, Choice has done little to disappoint since his signing. The 22-year-old hit 30 homers and posted a .285/.376/.542 slash line while playing center field for Class-A Stockton last year. His 134 strikeouts provide the only potential cause for concern. But he’s worked to shorten his swing and, as the best pure power hitter in the organization, the slugging outfielder should be able to quickly move up through an A’s system that’s not currently clogged with power-hitting outfielders.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Midland Rockhounds
#3 Brad Peacock (photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
The lowest draft pick on the A’s consensus top ten prospect list, Peacock was selected straight out of high school by the Nationals in the 41st round in 2006. But he’s definitely found a way to turn heads, posting a stellar 2.39 ERA and striking out 177 in 146 2/3 innings between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg in 2011. Any pitcher who manages to go from the 41st round to the top three prospects of any organization obviously has a pretty good idea what he’s doing out there on the mound, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Peacock in the A’s rotation before the 2012 season is through.
Another high-school draft pick, the lanky, 6’4” Cole appears to be all arms and legs. But his right arm seems to have the power mesmerize mortal men, striking out batters at a rate of 10.9 per 9 innings over his short minor league career. Acquired from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade, the Florida native could turn out to be the gem of the deal. Like most 20-year-old pitching prospects, Cole still has a few things to work on. But at his young age, he’s got plenty of upside and plenty of time to maximize it.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Stockton Ports
#5 Sonny Gray (photo by Michael Zagaris/Getty Images)
The A’s first-round draft pick in 2011, Gray has already managed to log 5 starts at Double-A Midland, giving up just 1 run in 20 innings while striking out 18. The 5’11” right-hander has been compared to Tim Hudson in that while he’s not all that physically impressive, his confident, gritty and fearless attitude sets him apart from the competition. With a good fastball and curve, it shouldn’t take long for the tough 22-year-old to fight his way into the A’s starting rotation.
The fourth first-round draft pick on the A’s consensus top ten prospect list, Green was selected by the A’s in 2009 as a shortstop but has since been moved to the outfield. Midway through the 2011 season, Green took over in center field for Double-A Midland, where he turned in a .291/.343/.408 slash line. But his home run numbers dipped from 20 at Class-A Stockton in the 2010 season down to just 9 last year. His plate discipline has been an issue too, as he’s struck out three times as often as he’s walked in his minor league career. Still, he hits the ball hard and Green could earn a shot in the A’s outfield before long.
The only hitter the A’s picked up in the Gio Gonzalez deal with the Nationals, Norris certainly fits the A’s mold in that he’s a power hitter who has a propensity for drawing walks. His career minor league OBP of .403 no doubt got the A’s attention. But while he slugged 20 home runs at Double-A Harrisburg last season, he managed to hit only .210. If he can just keep his average above the Mendoza line, Norris could serve to bridge the gap between Kurt Suzuki and young catching prospect Max Stassi.
Acquired in the Dan Haren deal with the Diamondbacks, it was originally hoped that the slugging first baseman would be anchoring the heart of the A’s lineup by now. He’s put up big power numbers in the minors, clubbing 31 home runs at Triple-A Sacramento in 2010 and posting a career minor league slugging percentage of .540. Carter could finally have a legitimate shot at showing what he can do in the majors at either first base or designated hitter for the A’s in 2012.
The oldest and most experienced pitcher on the A’s consensus top ten prospect list, Milone is probably the most ready to step into the A’s major league rotation in 2012. The left-hander was acquired in the Gio Gonzalez deal with the Nationals after he posted a 3.22 ERA in 148 1/3 innings while walking a paltry 16 batters at Triple-A Syracuse last season. Milone won’t blow anyone away with his stuff, but he’s a smart lefty who knows how to make the most of what he’s got, and he should get a shot to show the A’s what he can do in 2012.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Oakland A’s
#10 Michael Taylor (photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Along with Carter, Taylor had lots of expectations thrust upon him as soon as the A’s managed to pry him away from Philadelphia. And while the 6’5” outfielder put up stellar numbers in the Phillies system, his progress has stagnated a bit since coming to the A’s. But Taylor does still have a .296/.371/.476 career minor league slash line along with some good tools. At 26 though, 2012 may be his last real opportunity to show the A’s just what’s he’s capable of.
Looking at this list, if the A’s are able to move into a new stadium in 2015, the team could be looking at an extremely talented starting rotation consisting of Jarrod Parker, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone, Sonny Gray and A.J. Cole, along with a promising outfield made up of Grant Green in left, Michael Choice in right and either Josh Reddick or Collin Cowgill in center. And if things go according to plan, that seems like a pretty good plan to me!
Dallas Braden takes time out from his rehab to show how pumped he is about A's Farm (AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Carlos Avila Gonzalez)
Thanks to everyone who’s stopped by for making A’s Farm one of the top 50 MLBlogs in its first month out of the box! It just shows the dedication of A’s fans not just to supporting the team at the major league level but to understanding the organization at every level. Stay tuned for more great stuff on all the A’s up and coming young players as the season, and spring training, get underway!
As every A’s fan who doesn’t spend the winter hibernating already knows, the A’s acquired a major haul of young prospects in this off-season’s deals that sent away popular players Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney. In return, the A’s restocked their organization with six young pitchers and four young hitters, not a one over the age of 25.
But who are these talented youngsters that the A’s are pinning their future hopes and dreams on, and where will they end up in the coming year? Well, wonder no more! Without any further ado, let’s meet this year’s freshly-minted Athletics…
Crafty lefty Tom Milone (photo by Ed Wolfstein/Icon SMI)
The oldest and most experienced of the A’s young pitching acquisitions, Milone had a 3.22 ERA in 24 starts at Triple-A Syracuse and a 3.81 ERA in 5 major league starts for the Nationals in 2011. A master of control, the California native walked a paltry 16 batters in his 148 1/3 Triple-A innings last year. At this point, he’s probably the most ready to step into the A’s major league rotation. The talented Mr. Milone is certainly not going to blow anyone away with his stuff, but he’s a smart lefty who knows how to pitch. And how many guys have had a very long career with that kind of profile? Paging Mr. Jamie Moyer, please pick up the crafty lefty courtesy phone!
Likely To Start 2012 With: Oakland A’s
Strikeout machine Brad Peacock (photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Of all the young hurlers the A’s acquired who pitched above Single-A last year, Peacock had the lowest ERA and the best strikeout rate of them all, turning in a stellar 2.39 ERA and striking out 177 in 146 2/3 innings between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg last year. He earned a late-season call-up with the Nationals and gave up only 1 run in 12 innings of major league action. The lowest draft pick of the bunch, the Florida native seems to be another smart pitcher who’s figured out how to put it all together. And it’d be surprising if he didn’t get a chance to be pitching in the majors before the season’s through.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Sacramento Rivercats
Future star Jarrod Parker (photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Probably the most talented of all the A’s young pitching acquisitions, Parker was a first-round draft pick in 2007 who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 and ended up missing all of the 2010 season. He returned to Double-A Mobile in 2011 and turned in a 3.79 ERA in 26 starts, striking out 112 in 130 2/3 innings. After earning a late-season call-up with the Diamondbacks, he gave up no runs in his only major league start. Parker should eventually end up as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher for the A’s, but he could probably benefit from a little more seasoning. And if the A’s are going to treat any of their new young pitching prospects with kid gloves, it’ll probably be Parker.
Along with Parker, Cole is considered one of the best raw pitching talents in the A’s off-season prospect haul. At 6’4”, the young right-hander appears to be all arms and legs. But his right arm seems to have the ability to mesmerize mortal men, striking out batters at a rate of 10.9 per 9 innings over his short minor league career. Like most 20-year-old pitching prospects, he needs to work on developing his secondary pitches. But the lanky right-hander has tremendous potential and, at his young age, plenty of time to achieve it.
The youngest of all the A’s new pitching prospects, the team was reportedly willing to include Ryan Sweeney in the Andrew Bailey deal in order to get their mitts on this talented youngster, who checks in at just 19 (let’s hope his Dominican birth certificate checks out!). Alcantara’s shown impeccable control for his age, walking just 20 batters in 125 2/3 minor league innings. Like Cole, he needs to work on his secondary pitches. But he’s another hurler with tremendous upside and plenty of time to get where he needs to go.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Burlington Bees
Man in the middle Ryan Cook (photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The only reliever the A’s grabbed in their off-season prospect haul, Cook turned in a nifty 2.21 ERA while striking out 62 batters in 61 innings between Triple-A Reno and Double-A Mobile last season. The Fresno-area native struggled a bit in his brief audition in the Diamondbacks bullpen last year, giving up 6 runs in his 12 appearances. But Cook did manage to strike out 7 major league batters over 7 2/3 innings. He throws hard and could ultimately prove to be an effective set up man behind future A’s closer Fautino De Los Santos.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Oakland A’s
Hustler Josh Reddick (photo by Kelly O'Connor/SittingStill.net)
The key piece of the Bailey deal with Boston, Reddick compiled a .280 batting average while playing in 87 games for the Red Sox last year, primarily as a right fielder. Reddick has shown good power in the minors, clubbing 14 homers in just 191 at bats at Triple-A Pawtucket last season. And he did manage to hit 18 doubles in a part-time role with the Sox last year, so he could be counted on to chalk up a few more two-baggers in the slightly more spacious Coliseum. He does tend to strike out a lot more than he walks though. The Georgia native has been characterized as a gritty, go-go, Eric Byrnes type of player, as well as a colorful character – and he does seem to be slightly fond of crazy hair! Reddick will be given the first shot at spending the 2012 season as the A’s primary right fielder, so he should get a chance to win over the A’s faithful and show the A’s brass just what he’s capable of.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Oakland A’s
Over-achiever Collin Cowgill (photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
A speedy right-handed hitting outfielder who throws with his left hand? Could it be the second coming of Rickey? Probably not. But Cowgill could end up finding a spot in the A’s outfield this season, even if it’s just as the A’s fifth outfielder. The team has had their eye on Cowgill for quite a while, attempting to draft him and trying to trade for him once before. He hits for average, steals bases and has shown surprising pop for his 5’9” / 185 lb. stature. Cowgill hit .354, stole 30 bases and hit 13 home runs for Triple-A Reno last season. And the good news is his numbers have improved each of the last few years as he has moved up the ladder from South Bend to Visalia to Mobile to Reno, his OPS rising from .705 to .819 to .825 to .984 last year at Triple-A. He got 100 at bats in the Diamondbacks outfield last season, turning in a .239 batting average in his time with Arizona. Cowgill should get a chance to come to the plate more often for the A’s in 2012, most likely serving as the fifth outfielder and getting some starts in right field behind Josh Reddick.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Oakland A’s
Walk machine Derek Norris (photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Norris certainly fits the A’s mold in that he’s a power hitter who has a propensity for drawing walks. He has a career minor league OBP of .403, which no doubt got the A’s attention. But while he clubbed 20 home runs at Double-A Harrisburg last season, he managed to hit only .210. The previous year in the Single-A Carolina League, he hit just .235. In each of the last two seasons though, Norris managed to chalk up more walks than hits, so he’s found his way on base one way or another. Expect him to try to improve on his batting average at Double-A Midland this year. If Norris can just keep his power numbers up and manage to get on base enough, he could serve to bridge the gap between current A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki and the A’s even younger catching prospect, Max Stassi.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Midland Rockhounds
Young slugger Miles Head (photo by John Sullivan/Daily News)
Head is a talented, but still very young, hitter whom the A’s decided to target in the Bailey trade with Boston. Last year while playing in Single-A, he opened eyes by hitting .299 with 37 doubles and 22 HRs to go along with an .887 OPS. Originally drafted as a third baseman, he’s spent most of his time in the Red Sox system playing first base, but the A’s are planning to return him to third. Some are skeptical about the 6-foot / 215-pounder’s ability to stick at third, but it can’t hurt to give it the ol’ college try! Just 20, Head’s still a few years away from making an impact at the major league level, but if he continues to hit, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to move up through the A’s system pretty quickly regardless of his ultimate position.
* The A’s are open to giving Manny Ramirez a test drive in the designated hitter spot once he serves his 50-day suspension.
* Three of the following five pitchers will join Travis Banwart and Carlos Hernandez in the Sacramento Rivercats’ starting rotation in April – Graham Godfrey, Tyson Ross, Tom Milone, Brad Peacock, Jarrod Parker.
* Two of the following three players are likely to join Michael Taylor in the heart of the Rivercats’ lineup in April – Chris Carter, Brandon Allen, Kila Ka’aihue.
* If the A’s do get the go-ahead to move to San Jose, they probably wouldn’t be able to have a new stadium ready to go there before 2016.
What an A's game might look like in 2016. Wait, where's Mt. Davis?
Adrian Cardenas: Where's old clubhouse barber Rajai Davis when ya need him?
In order to make room for newly-signed free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes on the roster, the A’s have designated prospect Adrian Cardenas for assignment. The A’s now have ten days to either trade or release Cardenas– unless he clears waivers, in which case the A’s can then send him to the minors.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser tweeted that the A’s are hoping that Cardenas clears waivers so that they can hold on to him by assigning him to Sacramento, just as they recently did with Landon Powell.
Cardenas was considered a top infield prospect when he was acquired by the A’s, along with pitcher Josh Outman and outfielder Matt Spencer, from Philadelphia in exchange for Joe Blanton. The Miami native has a career minor league slash line of .303/.368/.413 and hit .314/.374/.418 in his first full season at AAA last year. But the A’s have had a hard time finding a position they feel is right for Cardenas.
In his first three seasons in the minors,Cardenas served exclusively as a middle infielder, playing all his games at second base and shortstop. In 2009, the A’s started getting him in a few games at third base. Then in the 2010 season, the A’s played him exclusively at second and third and eliminated shortstop from his repertoire altogether. Last season though, the A’s chose to have Cardenas start the majority of his games in left field, with most of the rest of his starts coming at third. Clearly, the A’s have been a bit uncertain about what exactly to do with Mr. Cardenas, whose defensive abilities Baseball America has referred to as “fringy.”
Cardenas is a solid contact hitter who hits for a good average but doesn’t draw an above-average number of walks and hasn’t hit more than five home runs in any of his last four seasons. Combined with his lack of defensive prowess, it’s obvious that the A’s brass have come to view him as a bit of a one-dimensional player. On the other hand, his ability to consistently put the bat on the ball and play a number of different positions (even if he doesn’t impress at any of them), could make him a suitable utility player in the future. And considering that he only turned 24 just a few months ago, one can assume he’s still got a few years of potential improvement ahead of him.
If he remains with the organization, then Cardenas should be the leading second base candidate for the Rivercats in 2012. If he ends up being traded or claimed on waivers though, then Wes Timmons probably steps into that role, with Eric Sogard or Adam Rosales (whichever one doesn’t make the major league roster) likely ending up at shortstop for Sacramento. Some had been hoping that Cardenas would be in the mix for the A’s utility infielder role this season, but now it looks like Cardenas fans will be lucky if he’s still in the organization come opening day of 2012!
It was announced today that Moneyball has received 6 Academy Award nominations, including nods for best picture, best adapted screenplay, best actor for Brad Pitt‘s portrayal of Billy Beane and best supporting actor for Jonah Hill‘s portrayal of Paul DePodesta (aka Peter Brand).
Not only has the film grossed over $100 million worldwide, but it’s received the most nominations of any baseball-themed film since The Pride of the Yankees garnered 11 in 1943 (yes we’re still trying to catch the Yankees!) – easily out-distancing the Oscar nods for other baseball-themed films like The Natural, Field Of Dreams and Bull Durham.
This year’s Academy Awards will be handed out February 26 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood – just a few blocks from the home-base of this humble blog. You can read my original review of the Moneyball book for ChinMusic! from 2003 here – ChinMusic!-Moneyball
Jonny Gomes: Could his 707 swag be giving Dallas Braden's 209 swag a run for its money?
As we speculated in the last edition of this blog, the A’s have reportedly come to terms with Petaluma-born outfielder Jonny Gomes on a one-year deal worth approximately $1.1 million. Since the deal comes hot on the heels of the Seth Smith trade and both players have strong lefty/righty platoon splits, popular speculation has it that the right-handed hitting Gomes will primarily serve as a left field platoon partner for the left-handed hitting Smith, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see Gomes picking up some at bats in the designated hitter slot as well.
The signing of Gomes follows rumors that the A’s have been actively shopping first baseman Brandon Allen. So it could be safe to assume that a Brandon Allen trade could soon be the next shoe to drop and that Gomes will essentially end up taking over Allen’s roster spot. That would likely leave Chris Carter as the A’s leading designated hitter candidate – that is, unless the other recent rumor is true!
Enrique Rosas of ESPN Deportes has been reporting that the A’s are very interested in signing Manny Ramirez as a designated hitter. That would spell trouble for Chris Carter, and likely land him back at Sacramento. The only hitch with Manny is that he would likely have to serve a 50-game suspension for drug violations before he could play for the A’s.
In addition to the Smith and Gomes deals, trading Allen and signing Manny could really serve to shake up the A’s outfield/first base/designated hitter picture. Right now, if Allen is indeed dealt, it looks like the A’s would plan on starting the season with Daric Barton at first, Carter as the primary designated hitter and back up first baseman, and five outfielders on the roster – Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, Seth Smith, Jonny Gomes and Collin Cowgill.
That would put Kila Ka’aihue at first base in Sacramento, and five outfielders in the four outfield and designated hitter spots – Grant Green, Michael Taylor, Brandon Moss, Jason Pridie and Jeff Fiorentino. And if the A’s did end up adding Manny, then that might land Chris Carter back in the first base/designated hitter mix at Sacramento as well. Till the next time, stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Oakland A’s roster roulette…