3 OAKLAND ATHLETICS

March 26, 2012

ENEMY LINES

A rival scout sizes up the A's

The reality is that until they get their stadium situation settled, the A's are going to be in limbo. Everything they're doing is aimed at the future, to when the stadium is built, around 2015.... I think it was wise for them to trade guys like Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey. Pitching was the strength of the organization, but if you looked at both the minor and major league levels, there were not a lot of impact players. Coco Crisp is their number 3 hitter. Enough said.... The system had been real thin, but they retooled and it's suddenly a lot better. Jarrod Parker is the ace of the staff right now. This guy is six feet tall, but he gets an incredible downhill plane on his fastball, which makes it very difficult for hitters. His changeup almost seems like it stops at times, and his slider is another out pitch.... Signing Yoenis Cespedes from Cuba was a great gamble. It's refreshing to see them spend money and get someone who isn't a marginal player. He's looked amazingly mature and calm in his approach at the plate, and he plays all three outfield positions. I'm not yet saying he's going to be an All-Star, but I don't see why he won't be the best hitter in that lineup right away.... I love Jemile Weeks. No one expected him to do what he did last year, but the fans at the Coliseum haven't really seen this kind of athlete in a while—hitting triples, making things happen.... They're going to score more runs. But they're going to have to score a lot more because the pitching is not as good, and the defense was as poor as it has been in years and won't be much better. This is a 75-win team at best.

THE LINEUP

With 2011 Statistics

MANAGER BOB MELVIN

2nd season with Athletics

[originallink:10882171:1009531]

ROTATION W L ERA WHIP
RH BRANDON MCCARTHY 9 9 3.32 1.13
RH BARTOLO COLON 8 10 4.00 1.29
LH TOMMY MILONE (R)† 12 6 3.22 1.03
RH JARROD PARKER (R)† 11 8 3.79 1.28
LH DALLAS BRADEN 1 1 3.00 1.28
BULLPEN W SV ERA WHIP
RH GRANT BALFOUR 5 2 2.47 1.03
LH BRIAN FUENTES 2 12 3.70 1.23

NEW ACQUISITION (R) ROOKIE *CUBAN NATIONAL SERIES STATS †TRIPLE A STATS ††2010 STATS

PROJECTED PAYROLL

$53.1 million

THE NUMBER

11.99

Plate appearances per walk by A's hitters in 2011, sixth best in the AL but the franchise's worst since 1985. The lack of freebies wasn't due to a lack of patience. Oakland ranked first in the majors in percentage of pitches taken (57.5%) and lowest in percentage of pitches swung at and missed (18.3%).

MODEST PROPOSAL

An already difficult season for the A's got harder when third baseman Scott Sizemore blew out his knee on Feb. 25, putting him out for the season. Oakland is looking at utility infielders Eric Sogard and Adam Rosales, as well as converted catcher Josh Donaldson, to fill the hole. But perhaps a better answer lies outside the organization. The signing of Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes created a logjam in centerfield because the A's had previously re-signed Coco Crisp to play there. Meanwhile in Miami, the Marlins have blocked former No. 1 pick Matt Dominguez by moving Hanley Ramirez to third base. The Marlins themselves are using a utility player, Emilio Bonifacio in center, so why not see if they would take Crisp for Dominguez? Dominguez is a glove-first cornerman who fits the Athletics' current emphasis on defense, and he's cost-controlled though 2017. There's a question as to whether he will hit; however, the A's have nothing to lose by giving him a season to find out. The team would also get out from under a now redundant deal with a veteran centerfielder and allow them to commit to Cespedes.

TWO PHOTOSBRAD MANGIN

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)