Archive for the ‘Oakland Athletics’ category

Analyzing the Joe Blanton trade, and Mike Hampton tweaks groin again

July 19, 2008

Oakland gets:

2B/IF Adrian Cardenas
OF Matt Spencer
RP Josh Outman

Philly gets

SP Joe Blanton

A couple days ago, Oakland traded away their 5th starter Joe Blanton away to Philadelphia prospects 2B Adrian Cardenas, RP Josh Outman, and a throw in OF Matt Spencer.

In a couple years, if Joe Blanton stinks up the place in Philadelphia, this could be one of these trades that keeps us asking “why?” like Larry Andersen for Jeff Bagwell, among others. And there is very real chance that this could happen, because Joe Blanton is more of a flyball, and he could get lit up in that small park they have in Philadelphia. His home/road ERA splits are 4.63/5.73, and Oakland is a pitchers park as well. This could be a very bad trade for Philadelphia. But it could also be a good one, because Oakland’s defense hasn’t exactly been spectacular this year, and defensive ERA numbers suggest that the defense behind Blanton could be the problem, and with Utley, Rollins and others behind Blanton, his ERA might actually go down slightly. So it really depends on how Blanton will do, and the numbers are so variable, because some numbers predict he will do bad, and some predict he will be decent with the Phillies, which would justify this trade. The offense behind Blanton does not suggest much, for example, Eric Milton’s 2005 Reds season where he had the great offense behind him, but was completely awful, and we all know how good the Phillies offense is this year.

Also, let’s look who the Phillies gave up for Blanton. Although there are not that many players that the Phillies could have traded for, they gave up a can’t-miss prospect in Adrian Cardenas, hitting .310/.375/.447 in High-A, which also means current Oakland 2B Mark Ellis will be gone. Cardenas was going to be blocked by Chase Utley no matter what. They also gave up a pitcher with good HR/9 rates in Josh Outman, although he got moved to the bullpen after a mediocre 2007 where his HR/9 went up while starting, and the Phillies 2007 3rd Round draft pick Matt Spencer, who has not really done much in the pro level and is hitting .249 this year in High-A ball. Cardenas is the real gem here, and although he’s only in A-Ball and is as old as we are, he has hit well in every level thus far. He was the Gatorade state High School Player of the year in Florida in 2006, and he was teammates with Chris Marrero, who is in the Washington Nationals system right now, and was the the 15th overall pick in 2006. All Cardenas has done is hit (I think Cardenas will be in the Majors in 2-3 years, not 3-4 years like some are saying), and if he turns into something great, and if Outman turns into a decent pitcher (He needed a change in scenery after the Phillies moved him to the bullpen), then we all know who got the better end of the trade. Again, this could really be one of those trades where bored sportswriters could list as “one of the worst trades in the past 20 years,” but again, if Blanton turns into something slightly useful and the Phillies make the playoffs instead of running Adam Eaton out there every 5th day, it could also be a decent trade that works out for the Phillies. Really, it can go either way. I still think the Phillies may have given up too much.

Mike Hampton injury watch: Mike Hampton injured again

Apparently Mike Hampton tweaked his groin again during a rehab start. When will this end? Certainly one of the worst contracts in history. His arm felt fine though, apparently. It just sucks for Hampton, whose body keeps taking his baseball abilities as a league-average starter away from him, and ultimately, you have to feel bad for him. It’s still funny at his expense, with the frequency of his injuries.

Oh ####, the Cubs just got better

July 8, 2008

Oakland A’s get:

P Sean Gallagher
OF Matt Murton
OF/IF Eric Patterson
C Josh Donaldson

Chi. Cubs get:
SP Rich Harden
RP Chad Gaudin

The trade definitely lessens the number of misused players in the Cubs organization, like Matt Murton, who surely will get more opportunities in Oakland, as well as Eric Patterson, especially with Oakland’s troubles with the lack of production in the outfield. To highlight the A’s outfield troubles, you have Travis Buck, hitting .160 and slumping majorly in AAA, Chris Denorfia who hasn’t really done much, also in AAA, career AAAA player in Emil Brown, a DH in Jack Cust, and three players that aren’t really power hitters in Rajai Davis, Ryan Sweeney, and Carlos Gonzalez. Murton and Patterson won’t help the lack of power by the A’s outfield, but it will have better defense, and slightly better hitting at least… although I think Frank Thomas has been injured and Jack Cust has been at DH anyways. Patterson, although there is a chance he stays to help the outfield, would be moving to the infield, most likely second base, after not being good at all in the outfield. Patterson also can hit decently. He’d somehow replace Mark Ellis, who is great with the glove, but not so good with the bat. The bat versus the defense tradeoff is here with Patterson and Ellis. Matt Murton would be exactly the type of player Billy Beane wants, with a good combination of the bat (although he hasn’t shown it with the Cubs who keep messing and misusing him big time), and defense.

For pitching, the A’s rotation is now Blanton, Eveland, Smith, Duchscherer, and Gallagher. Gallagher will not have as many problems with fly balls in Oakland, a pitchers park, which is exacly why Joe Blanton is good with the A’s. I like the A’s getting Gallagher out of this. Gaudin has been a reliever most of the year for the A’s after starting at the beginning of the year, and Harden, 5-1 this year, has been starting after coming back from injury I think, with good results, a 2.34 ERA.

Josh Donaldson, the catcher the A’s got in the deal, was a compensentory 1st Round pick in 2007, and although he will take a while to develop, his ceiling is as a starter. He’s an interesting prospect, as he can hit, although he hasn’t been able to in A-ball yet. Note that Oakland has too many catchers though.

On the Cubs side, they get two proven players in Gaudin and Harden, and although Harden is a definite injury risk, Harden’s stuff improves the Cubs starting rotation, and it also gives the Cubs another viable backup plan for the rotation in Gaudin:

Starting Rotation when healthy

Ted Lilly (although not great this year, but pitching slightly better lately)
The suprising Ryan Dempster
Carlos Zambrano
Harden
Jason Marquis

Backup plans:
Gaudin
Rich Hill (wow, how far he has fallen)
Jon Lieber
Sean Marshall

Backup backup backup plan:

Kerry Wood

WIth the starting pitching, the Cubs get even more depth. The Cubs bullpen looks even better now with Gaudin added, especially with Carlos Marmol not as dominant as he was last year, and Bobby Howry aging quickly.

A’s Deal Harden, Gaudin for Four Cubs (Scout.com)

Harold back in TV, Big Hurt back in baseball

April 24, 2008

Everyone knows our undying love for two of our favorite black guys in baseball, Harold Reynolds, and Frank Thomas. Well, they both have jobs again.. and not illegitimate jobs like that stinkhole at MLB.com. Just kidding, MLB.com is not bad at all. Our boy Harold though, he da man at SNY now and although he ain’t givin’ no free hugs at Boston Market no more, we still respectin’ dat. Offensive imitation aside, you can hug your television monitor next time he appears on SNY. The ESPN firing against him was bad press, as he was never told why he was fired, which sucks, because Reynolds was one of the more watchable personalities in ESPN (as well as Scott Van Pelt and.. uhh… help me here).

The Big Hurt got a job with the A’s today, where he played for in 2006 and promptly, he is now the full time DH, which means the A’s have two other DHs in their bench now in Mike Sweeney and Jack Cust, although the rest of that bench is very weak. Which is cool again, because we liked Frank Thomas in the 1990s and he still hasn’t been proven for steroid use. It hasn’t been a good year for DHs, with guys like Jose Vidro, Jim Thome, Gary Sheffield, among others slumping badly to start the season. Fair to say, we were hurtin for a squrtin of more Big Hurt here.

Cool to see him back.

Opening Day Disappointment

March 25, 2008

You know what was most memorable about Opening Day 2008 memorable for me? A’s Mark Ellis’ first inning homer off Daisuke Matsuzaka. Why, you ask? Because it was the only thing I was awake for this morning, or Japanese evening. I set my alarm clock the night before for 6 AM. So I woke up at 6 AM, scratched myself, watched the first pitch, dozed off again briefly, and was awoken by the crack of Mark Ellis’ bat with a line drive home run to left field. Then I was out for the count until 9 AM chemistry lab. There is something very wrong with this (besides going to class). Opening Day games should not begin before Saved by the Bell reruns start on TBS.

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5 Non-Roster Invitees That You’ve Never Heard of Who Might Make An Impact in 2008

March 14, 2008

In Spring Training every year, players that never got an opportunity from the minors to the majors and are hitting or pitching very well. Guys like Matt Diaz have exelled like this. Of course, we all know the high-profile stories about how Juan Gone hit a homer off of Johan Santana, as well as him doing very decent in Spring Training. Of course we know about how Bret Boone might catch on in the Nationals after a battle with alcoholism. These are not big-time prospects like Jay Bruce or Evan Longoria or Indians 2007 draft pick Beau Mills on a minor league contract. If any of these guys do not play this year, then don’t sue me. These are players that you might not have heard of, but they can make an impact, or had success last year but not many are talking about. In no particular order.

Hitters

Micah Hoffpauir – 1B – Chicago Cubs

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Ok, the Cubs are stacked at first base with Derrek Lee and Daryle Ward, and it would be stupid for the Cubs to carry three first basemen, but the 28-year old Hoffpauir has been hitting .455 during spring training and also has played in every game. He should have been the Pacific Coast League MVP rather than Geovany Soto, if Hoffpauir did not go down with a knee injury mid season.

“A large part of the RBIs that Soto (the eventual Pacific Coast League MVP) was getting in the second half of the season were ones that Hoffpauir was getting earlier in the year, Bailey noted.”

If Ward or Lee get injured, then count on Hoffpauir to deliver in the Majors. He’s a great hitter that never got a chance, and my favorite player out of this bunch.

Check this out for more players you’ve never heard of.

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Division Preview: AL West

March 11, 2008

A competitive division race appears to be in store out west this season. Everyone but the A’s made major noise this off season with high profile moves, though the A’s did can Nick Swisher in one of the Moneyball, minor rebuilding efforts. Also, this division has four teams while the NL Central has six teams. I would not mind MLB making the simplest realignment in its history by moving one more team to the AL West for the sake of symmetry. Enough of that sidebar, we’ll get to the teams. (more…)

The Best Baseball Mugshots of 2008

March 10, 2008

As you might or might not know, the new baseball mugshots came out Saturday. And boy are they more awesome and unprofessional than years past (I guess Darren Daulton is right that the world is going to come to an end in 2010). Let’s count down the funniest mugshots.

5. Chris Denorfia, RF, Oakland A’s

The former Red and right field contender for Oakland has facial hair disaster written all over it. If he really wanted to look cool, he would wear a Jeff Kent ‘stache.

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