Results tagged ‘ Coco Crisp ’
A’s general manager Billy Beane has had a busy week – and it ain’t over yet! On Monday, the team signed free agent left-handed starting pitcher Scott Kazmir to a two-year $22 million deal. And later that same day, the A’s acquired right-handed closer Jim Johnson from Baltimore in return for second baseman Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later.
Then on Tuesday, the team traded two of its top minor league prospects, outfielder Michael Choice and second baseman Chris Bostick, to Texas for outfielder Craig Gentry and right-handed starter Josh Lindblom. The A’s then followed that up just hours later by sending outfielder Seth Smith to San Diego for right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson.
Just the previous week, the team dealt minor league outfielder John Wooten to Washington for left-handed reliever Fernando Abad. And two weeks prior to that, the A’s signed utility infielder Nick Punto as a free agent.
The A’s new outfielder, Craig Gentry – who was nicknamed “Kitten Face” in Texas – is a right-handed hitting outfielder who can play all three outfield positions. He brings excellent defense and speed and hits lefties well, so he figures to take Chris Young’s place as a right-handed platoon player and fourth outfielder who could take over full time in center field for the A’s when Coco Crisp becomes a free agent after next season.
In order to acquire Gentry, the A’s gave up their top outfield prospect, who also happened to be the team’s top major-league-ready hitting prospect, former 1st-round draft pick Michael Choice. After hitting .302 at Triple-A Sacramento in 2013, many had hoped that Choice would be given the chance to fill Young’s role on the A’s roster in 2014. But instead, he’ll get the chance to battle for a starting spot in the Rangers’ outfield this season.
Top talent evaluators are divided on Choice’s chances for success as a major league slugger. But the A’s have a history of undervaluing and trading away talented young outfielders who’ve gone on to become successful major league hitters elsewhere. And A’s fans have to hope that Choice doesn’t turn out to be the next Andre Ethier, Nelson Cruz or Carlos Gonzalez in Texas.
With Choice now gone, Shane Peterson and Michael Taylor are now the most major-league-ready outfielders at the upper levels of the A’s minor league system, while 20-year-old B.J. Boyd and 19-year-old Billy McKinney are the team’s top outfield prospects at the lower levels of the system.
The A’s also traded away their top second base prospect, Chris Bostick, in the deal. And it looks increasingly likely that shortstop Daniel Robertson might have to try to make the move to second base to provide a future double play partner for top shortstop prospect Addison Russell. With fellow second baseman Jemile Weeks now gone as well, Sacramento’s 2014 infield could be comprised of Daric Barton or Anthony Aliotti at first base, minor league free agent signee Jose Martinez at second base, Andy Parrino at shortstop, Hiro Nakajima at third base and Dusty Coleman as the utility infielder filling in at second, short and third.
Meanwhile, RHP Josh Lindblom is likely to start the season in Sacramento’s starting rotation, along with River Cats returnees Arnold Leon and Andrew Werner as well as recent minor league free agent signees Phil Humber and Matt Buschmann.
At the major league level, new acquisitions Scott Kazmir and Jim Johnson are clearly intended to take the place of free agents Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour on the A’s pitching staff. With Kazmir guaranteed $11 million this season, Johnson expected to net $10-11 million in arbitration and seven starting pitchers currently on the staff, the A’s second-highest-paid starter, Brett Anderson at $8 million, is expected to be the A’s most appetizing bit of a trade bait to be dangled at next week’s Winter Meetings. And rumors already have the Blue Jays, Twins, Royals, Yankees, Indians and Mariners licking their lips over the left-hander.
Assuming the A’s are able to complete a deal for Anderson, the team’s 2014 rotation would then be comprised of five of the following six starters: Scott Kazmir, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily and Sonny Gray. Given the general health of starting pitchers, it wouldn’t be surprising if one out of any group of six starters wasn’t 100% healthy to start the season, so I wouldn’t bother spending too much time worrying about which five of the six will end up making the opening day cut – it’ll surely sort itself out by the end of spring.
As far as the A’s bullpen goes, new closer Jim Johnson, who has saved at least 50 games in each of the last two seasons, and new RHP Luke Gregerson, who has been one of the best setup men in the National League over the past couple of years, are set to join LHPs Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins and RHPs Ryan Cook and Jesse Chavez, who is out options and whom the A’s value as a long man and spot starter.
Since the team typically likes to carry seven relievers, there’s room for one more arm in the A’s pen, and RHP Dan Otero is clearly the most deserving candidate for the final spot. But since Fernando Abad, Evan Scribner, Pedro Figueroa and Fernando Rodriguez are all out of options, it’s possible that Otero could start the season being stashed at Sacramento, waiting for someone to hit the DL while one of the others is given a shot.
Over the past week and a half, the A’s farm system has suffered the loss of outfielder Michael Choice, second baseman Jemile Weeks, second baseman Chris Bostick and outfielder John Wooten. And in the last six months, the team lost its 2007 #1 draft pick James Simmons as a minor league free agent and traded away 2008’s #1 pick Jemile Weeks, 2009’s #1 pick Grant Green and 2010’s #1 pick Michael Choice. 2011’s #1 pick Sonny Gray has already made it to the majors, while 2012’s #1 pick Addison Russell should be starting the season at Double-A Midland and 2013’s #1 pick Billy McKinney is expected to start the year at Class-A Beloit.
As previously mentioned, LHP Brett Anderson is the most likely member of the A’s roster to be the next one to find himself on Billy Beane’s trading block, with infielder Alberto Callaspo not far behind. With six other starters on the staff, a long injury history and an $8 million salary attached to his name, Anderson is clearly expendable. And with a salary close to $5 million and no definite spot in the A’s lineup, Callaspo seems to just be taking up roster and salary space at this point.
Outfielders Seth Smith, Chris Young and Michael Choice have all recently departed, with Craig Gentry being the only outfielder the A’s have acquired to take their place. So it certainly seems like there could be room for one more big OF/DH bat to be added to the A’s lineup to help boost the team’s offensive output, possibly as the result of an Anderson deal.
It’s also been reported that the A’s have been inquiring about middle infielders and catchers in trade talks for Anderson. So the team could be looking for a second baseman to take the place of Eric Sogard, or a shortstop who would then enable Jed Lowrie to make the move to second, or possibly a catcher who would allow John Jaso to take over for Seth Smith in the designated hitter role.
The A’s major league roster currently shapes up with Jaso and Norris as the catching platoon, Donaldson, Lowrie, Sogard, Punto, Moss and Freiman serving around the infield, and Cespedes, Crisp, Reddick and Gentry making up the outfield. Since the team typically likes to carry thirteen position players, that leaves one last roster spot open. At this point, it would most likely be filled by Callaspo. But if he ends up being traded, then it would be Barton, unless, of course, the A’s acquire another big bat who would end up pushing Barton back to Sacramento.
With all the current question marks, one thing seems certain – Beane and company aren’t done dealing just yet, and the A’s roster is far from set. There are surely more changes to come. But for the time being, here’s how things are shaping up for the 2014 A’s and River Cats, assuming everyone who’s out of options can clear waivers.
Wednesday, May 1st: Gray’s Complete Game Victory for Cats Leads Quartet of Quality Starts on Wednesday
A’s Farmhand Of The Day
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE (Triple-A)
Sacramento River Cats 4
Fresno Grizzlies 1
WP – Gray 3-1 / 2.61
HR – Choice (5), Peterson (1)
Farmhand Of The Game:
Pitcher Sonny Gray
(9 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win / CG)
The A’s 2011 1st-round draft pick, RHP Sonny Gray, had his most impressive performance of the season for Sacramento, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits while going the distance to earn the complete game victory on Wednesday. Outfielder Michael Choice hit his 5th home run, a solo shot, and designated hitter Shane Peterson hit a 2-run homer, his 1st, to drive in the go-ahead run for the River Cats. With Coco Crisp going on the disabled list, catcher Luke Montz was recalled by the A’s, and catcher Ryan Ortiz was promoted to Sacramento from Stockton.
TEXAS LEAGUE (Double-A)
Midland RockHounds 2
Corpus Christi Hooks 3
LP – Newby 0-3 / 2.51
Farmhand Of The Game:
Pitcher Zach Neal
(7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K)
Starter Zach Neal had another solid outing for the RockHounds, allowing just 1 run while striking out 7 over 7 innings of work. The game ultimately went to extra innings, where RHP Kyler Newby gave up 2 runs, 1 earned, to take the loss. Third baseman Jefry Marte had a pair of hits and drove in a run, while first baseman Anthony Aliotti collected 3 hits to raise his average to a nifty .350.
CALIFORNIA LEAGUE (High-A)
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 1
Stockton Ports 2
WP – Granier 3-2 / 2.81
Farmhand Of The Game:
Pitcher Drew Granier
(7 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)
Starter Drew Granier delivered another strong outing for Stockton on Wednesday, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits to earn his 3rd win, while RHP Seth Frankoff tossed 2 perfect innings in relief to pick up his 1st save. The Ports managed just 3 hits in the game, a pair of singles from outfielders Bobby Crocker and Myrio Richard and an RBI-triple off the bat of hot-hitting second baseman Antonio Lamas.
MIDWEST LEAGUE (Class-A)
Beloit Snappers 2
Great LakesLoons 3
LP – Tyson 1-1 / 8.10
Farmhand Of The Game:
Pitcher Seth Streich
(6 IP / 1 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 7 K)
Starter Seth Streich had one of his best outings of the season for the Snappers, allowing 1 run on just 1 hit over 6 innings of work on Wednesday. RHP Tyler Vail surrendered the tying run in the bottom of the 8th inning to send the game to extra innings, and RHP Drew Tyson gave up a run in the 10th to take the loss. Catcher Bruce Maxwell collected 4 hits, including 2 doubles, and drove in a run for the Snappers.
Sacramento @ Fresno – 7:05pm PT
Midland @ Corpus Christi – 5:05pm PT / 7:05pm CT
Rancho Cucamonga @ Stockton – 7:05pm PT
Beloit @ Great Lakes – 4:05pm PT / 6:05pm CT
We’re now less than a week away from opening day, and Jemile Weeks has been optioned to Sacramento, Adam Rosales has been placed on the disabled list, and Hiro Nakajima has been struggling and is now dealing with a strained hamstring. And thanks to these recent developments, it looks like the A’s opening day roster may now be rounding into shape – and along with it, the Sacramento River Cats’ and Midland RockHounds’ rosters too. Of course, plenty can still change and nothing is etched in stone. There haven’t been any official announcements from the team yet and there probably won’t be until about 24 hours before opening day, but below are our projected opening day rosters for the A’s and their Triple-A and Double-A affiliates based on what we think we know at this point…
PROJECTED 2013 OAKLAND A’S ROSTER
Brandon Moss 1B
Nate Freiman 1B
Eric Sogard 2B
Jed Lowrie SS
Coco Crisp OF
Josh Reddick OF
Chris Young OF
Seth Smith OF
Brett Anderson LHP
Jarrod Parker RHP
Tommy Milone LHP
A.J. Griffin RHP
Dan Straily RHP
Grant Balfour RHP
Ryan Cook RHP
Pat Neshek RHP
Chris Resop RHP
Sean Doolittle LHP
Jerry Blevins LHP
Travis Blackley LHP
(Bartolo Colon – SUSPENDED)
(Fernando Rodriguez – DL)
(Adam Rosales – DL)
PROJECTED 2013 SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS ROSTER
Jemile Weeks 2B
Andy Parrino SS-3B-OF
Grant Green 2B-3B-OF
Josh Horton 3B-SS-2B
Scott Moore 1B-3B-DH
Shane Peterson OF-1B
Conner Crumbliss OF-2B
Sonny Gray RHP
Andrew Werner LHP
Jesse Chavez RHP
Bruce Billings RHP
Travis Banwart RHP
Evan Scribner RHP
Mike Ekstrom RHP
James Simmons RHP
Arnold Leon RHP
Hideki Okajima LHP
Jordan Norberto LHP
Pedro Figueroa LHP
Justin Thomas LHP
PROJECTED 2013 MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS ROSTER
Anthony Aliotti 1B-DH
Tommy Mendonca 3B-DH
Miles Head 3B-1B
Jefry Marte 3B-1B
Darwin Perez 2B-SS
Tyler Ladendorf 2B-SS-OF
D’Arby Myers OF
Carlos Hernandez LHP
Murphy Smith RHP
Josh Bowman RHP
Sean Murphy RHP
Jacob Brown LHP
Brian Gordon RHP
Carlos Fisher RHP
Kyler Newby RHP
Darren Byrd RHP
Paul Smyth RHP
Nate Long RHP
Sergio Perez RHP
Frank Gailey LHP
***UPDATE: In something of a surprise, the A’s have designated LHP Travis Blackley for assignment. This opens a spot in the A’s bullpen for either Evan Scribner, Pedro Figueroa, Mike Ekstrom or Hideki Okajima. Their spot in the River Cats bullpen will be filled by RHP Danny Otero, who was claimed off waivers.
Major League Camp and Game vs. Brewers at Phoenix Municipal Stadium
The A’s beat the Brewers 9-7 on a relatively quiet day around camp. Bartolo Colon allowed 3 runs over 5 innings to earn his first win of the spring while Dan Straily gave up 4 runs in 3 innings of work. Outfielder Chris Young blasted a grand slam and infielders Josh Donaldson and Scott Sizemore each went 4-for-4, a particularly timely performance for Sizemore after his chief rival at second base, Jemile Weeks, was sent down yesterday. In his pre-game press conference, manager Bob Melvin announced it’s possible that the team could take all 36 players currently in camp back home for the Bay Bridge Series and make the final roster decisions after that.
Now that my spring training trip has come to a close, be sure to stay tuned for lots of interesting insights from Bob Melvin, Grady Fuson, Farhan Zaidi and more…
Minor League Camp at Papago Park
Major League Camp at Phoenix Municipal Stadium
Stay tuned for more from spring training in Phoenix, including interesting insights from Bob Melvin, Grady Fuson, Derek Norris and more…
Well, last week, we brought you an interview with the A’s top pitching prospect on our Top 10 Prospect List – Dan Straily. And this week, we took the opportunity to have a little chat with the organization’s top hitting prospect, shortstop Addison Russell.
The A’s top draft pick in 2012 got off to a phenomenal start last year, posting a slash line of .415/.488/.717 with 6 home runs and 9 stolen bases in just 106 at-bats in the rookie-level Arizona League. Russell was quickly promoted to Vermont in the short-season NY-Penn League, where he put up a .340/.386/.509 slash line. But after just 13 games there, the Florida native was sent packing for Burlington in the Class-A Midwest League, where he hit .310/.369/.448 over the final 16 games of the season. Russell finished the year with a combined slash line of .369/.432/.594 with 10 doubles, 9 triples, 7 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 217 at-bats at three different levels. He didn’t disappoint in the field either, showing nice range and a good arm. And by all accounts, Russell is hard-working, takes direction well and has a great attitude.
The young phenom garnered plenty of attention in the off-season, even making the cover of Baseball America. And having just turned 19 last month, Russell is the youngest player in major league camp this year. Viewed as the A’s shortstop of the future, he’s already become something of a fan favorite amongst the A’s faithful. It looks like Russell could start the season at High-A Stockton in the California League and, if all goes well, the hope is that he could be ready for arrival in Oakland by 2015. As long as he maintains a good attitude, a solid work ethic and a desire to constantly learn and improve, there’s no reason that shouldn’t be a likely scenario for Russell – and a likeable scenario for A’s fans. We took the opportunity to check in with the A’s top prospect at the end of his first week in big league camp, just a day before the A’s first spring training games were set to begin…
AF: Well, you’ve had a chance to be in camp for a week now. So what are your first impressions of big league camp at this point?
AR: It’s fun. It’s definitely a good experience. The guys are really, really nice. It’s pretty cool. I get to see some of the big league guys perform and get to learn from them. So it’s a pretty good experience overall.
AF: Is there anything you’ve seen or experienced so far that’s really opened your eyes?
AR: Yeah, just basically the work ethic. Some people think that the guys who have made it to the big leagues don’t have to work as much. But that’s definitely not true. Every big leaguer I see here and every minor leaguer I see here is working really hard to get better and get to the next level.
AF: Is there anyone in camp who’s been particularly friendly or taken some time with you or taken you under their wing a bit?
AF: And is there anything that you’re particularly focused on this spring?
AR: Yeah, I just want to learn as much as I can while I’m here. I’m just trying to see what the guys are doing to make themselves better, and then see if I can do that. I’m just trying to be a sponge and soak everything up.
AF: You’re a very multi-dimensional player. You can do a lot of things – you can hit, you can play shortstop, you’ve got speed. Is there any particular aspect of the game that you enjoy more than anything else?
AR: Playing shortstop is probably the most fun. For me, playing shortstop, it should always be a good day. Sometimes on those days I struggle at the plate, I look forward to having a good day in the field and just performing on the defensive side of things.
AF: You were primarily a shortstop in high school, but you’d played other positions too. When the A’s drafted you, did they initially say anything to you about keeping you at shortstop?
AR: I don’t recall any of that. But they drafted me as a shortstop, and I’ve been playing shortstop. I haven’t really experienced any other position here in the A’s organization yet.
AF: So I guess you’ve been pretty happy to be out there at shortstop everyday then.
AF: Once you got drafted last year and started to play, what were your first impressions playing pro ball for the first time?
AR: There’s a lot more speed in the game. There’s a lot more thinking. It’s a lot more about mental ability and being able to keep yourself composed whatever situation you’re in.
AF: Well, you obviously had a great year and were very successful in your first season. But was there anything in particular that was a challenge for you last year?
AR: Just getting adjusted. I was never really in one spot for a long time. So making that adjustment of moving from one spot to another and then also being able to perform the next day. Being able to meet all the guys and meet all the managers going through the minor league system. So that was probably the biggest thing I had to do.
AF: Things have changed quite a bit for you in the span of a year. You’re in major league training camp right now. But what were you doing at this time last year?
AR: Just getting ready to graduate, planning for prom and all that stuff.
AF: It seemed like you got an awful lot of hype and attention this off-season. That must have been nice for your family to see anyway. I imagine your family’s been very happy about the way your baseball career’s gotten going.
AR: Yes, sir. My mom and dad were probably the most excited but, at the same time, sad because their 18-year-old kid was just off on his own now. But they were happy for me and they’ve always been my biggest supporters.
AF: Are there any interests or hobbies that you have outside of baseball when you have a little free time?
AR: I definitely like to shoot my bow. I have a whole bunch of targets. Other than that, I guess just watching Duck Dynasty episodes and Prison Break episodes. But I’m just looking for some off-season hobbies now.
AF: Well I’m sure you’ll be pretty busy from now through September anyway.
AF: So were there any of your fellow draftees you got to be particularly tight with last year?
AR: Oh yeah, for sure – me, Matt Olson and Daniel Robertson were pretty much inseparable during the season until we got moved through the system. They’re actually coming out here March 10th, and Daniel has a condo set up for me and Matt to come stay with him. So it’s going to be fun.
AF: So the top three picks are sticking together then?
AR: Yeah, definitely!
* * *
Well, as you may already know, Monday was the big day for A’s pitchers and catchers to report to the team’s spring training camp in Phoenix. As usual, lots of other players chose to show up on Day 1 to join their pitching and catching comrades. The reporters covering the A’s beat showed up as well. And among the news trickling out on the first day of camp thanks to those beat writers…
*The team has reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with left-handed Japanese reliever Hideki Okajima that includes an invitation to the major league camp.
*Catcher Derek Norris has shed a few pounds and has also made some alterations to his swing.
*Third base and infield coach Mike Gallego has apparently been working Nakajima out over the past week and is “pleasantly surprised.” He also noted that the shortstop has great hands, above average footwork and an average arm.
*Top prospect Michael Choice is ready to go after missing the second half of last season with a broken hand.
*Pitching prospect Michael Ynoa is still in the Dominican Republic suffering from a case of chicken pox.
*Coco Crisp arrived with a beatbox, and it wasn’t long before the ‘Bernie Lean’ music was blasting in the A’s clubhouse.
Here’s a sampling of photos from Day 1 of spring training camp from various A’s beat writers…
See what the A’s beat writers have to say in their Day 1 columns…
There were lots of interesting quotes to come out of last weekend’s FanFest in Oakland. And based on what was said by A’s management, coaches and players, here are a few things that I think we can safely surmise…
* Coco Crisp will be the A’s primary center fielder and leadoff hitter.
* Chris Young will be in the lineup against lefties, give other starters regular days off against righties, and will move around in the lineup and see time at every spot in the outfield.
* Seth Smith will get most of the at-bats at DH.
* The A’s have a lot more confidence in Hiro Nakajima‘s bat than they do in his glove and his arm.
* Barring injuries, the A’s starting rotation will consist of Brett Anderson, Jarrod Parker, Tom Milone, A.J. Griffin and Bartolo Colon (after missing his first start while serving out his suspension).
* If the starting rotation is healthy, Dan Straily will be at Sacramento until he’s needed in Oakland.
* Top prospect Michael Choice will start the season at Sacramento.
* Everybody loves Addison Russell, and the 19-year-old will be invited to attend the major league camp in spring training.
* Josh Reddick didn’t bother wasting any money on razors this off-season.
* Chris Young is still in the early stages of his Bernie Lean lessons.
A’s Manager Bob Melvin On The Team’s New SS, Who’ll Start At 2B, And Daric Barton’s Chances Of Making The Roster
As part of A’s FanFest this past weekend, a few members of the A’s staff took some time out to attend a bloggers-only press conference in the bowels of the Oracle Arena. A’s manager Bob Melvin was kind enough to stop by between his various autograph sessions and photo ops to field a few questions. And A’s Farm was particularly eager to get the skipper’s take on the A’s current situation at second base…
Well, first and foremost, I like that we have some competition there. And I think that for both those guys, in spring training, it’s important because they’re playing for their job right there. And you want to see what kind of shape somebody comes in, what kind of desire, what kind of attitude they’re going to take towards that. Now they’re not the only two guys. Certainly Adam Rosales can play everywhere. It almost works against Rosie some that he is so versatile and can play other positions. And then we’re also going to look at Grant Green who’s going to get some at-bats over there, as well as Eric Sogard. So we have some options there. As we sit here right now, probably the two most prominent options are Weeks and Sizemore. I think it’s nice that we have some competition. And the versatility plays into our club as well, in that Scotty can play third and we can move some guys around to try to get our best lineup on a particular day. But both those guys will be in a competition type mode in spring training…In the case of Scotty, who played a full year at third, got hurt, and now he’s going back to second base, you want to make sure he gets comfortable over there first. And you don’t start evaluating right away on him, because you know it’s going to take some time for him to be comfortable. You know, it’s not uncommon for a guy who has a rookie year like Jemile had to not have as good a year the next year. And I think, even though it was difficult for him last year, he’ll probably benefit from that going forward, with his mindset each and every day coming to second base. It’s easy to read your press clippings – you know “I’m the untouchable guy,” “I’m the guy that’s the leadoff guy,” “I have the second base job.” And it’s not his fault – a lot of younger players have to go through that. That can be dangerous. But I know, I’ve talked to him here recently, and he is really looking forward and knows that he still has an opportunity and is grateful for that. I think you’ll see a different Jemile Weeks this spring…But there’s no limitations on Scotty. He’s a hard-working kid, and he put himself in the position of going to spring training this year to have no limitations based on the way he rehabbed and worked. It’s going to take probably a little time. It’s a completely different angle over at second base. The balls are on you a little bit later. You have different things that you have to do. He has experience doing it before. But there’s still going to be a learning curve for him, turning double plays and just learning the angles and the position again. And, therefore, we’ll give him some time to be comfortable before we really start evaluating him more objectively. But as far as the rehab goes, he’s 100% and looking forward to getting out there and contributing however he can.
On new shortstop Hiro Nakajima…
Well, I think it’s tougher to get a handle on an international player probably more so defensively than offensively. We do know that he has a lot of leadership qualities – that he likes to be the guy. He seems to have a great personality. And I’ve said before, it seems like the guys who were leaders in Japan seem to have the best chance of succeeding over here – whether it’s a Matsui, whether it’s an Ichiro – and we feel like he falls into that category. We’re excited about it. But until you get your hands on him and watch him on a day-to-day basis, you’re not 100% sure if your evaluation is right, certainly on the defensive end of it.
On what he’s looking for in the leadoff spot…
Well, I think Coco Crisp does a good job at that. Granted, you look at it and you look at on-base percentage and Coco’s not a .380 on-base guy, but he’s there when you need him. We do have some other guys on days that he doesn’t play. Chris Young has led off against left-handed pitchers before. Look at his numbers against lefties. He hit a bunch of homers for me in his rookie year, and he understands leading off as well. You know, John Jaso is a guy who has led off. And you look at the on-base and you look at what he does, not only his patience but batting average with balls in play, there are a lot of things that would suggest this guy can hit up in the lineup, based on his on-base and the way he handles the bat. So whether he’s hitting in the two-hole one day, or if I have some guys off, it’s not totally out of the question that he could potentially lead off too. He gives us a lot of flexibility where he can hit in the lineup. And based on some increased power last year too, we feel like he can kind of go to a different level as far as that goes and could be a production guy later in the order.
On former first baseman Daric Barton’s chances of making the roster…
Well, you know what, you make your chances. And he did years before to put himself in the position to play every day. And that’s the way he has to look at it again. I don’t want him coming in thinking, “I have no chance to make the team here.” If you look at it, defensively, he’s the only true defender at the position. And he’s a good defender at the position – very good. So we felt like it was important to keep him. I mean, if Brandon Moss goes down, it’s obviously a natural for Daric Barton to take over that position. Chris Carter plays over there some too. So coming into camp, he’s going to be fighting to make a 25-man roster again. And I know he’s appreciative of another opportunity for him. So as quickly as it can change, it can flip back the other way as well.