By Jason Wojciechowski on June 1, 2012 at 10:30 AM
Tyson Ross has been demoted again. Like Graham Godfrey, he's simply been too bad to stick around in the big leagues, even on a rebuilding team. If the A's want to tank, then he's perfect for them, but they've never been interested in tanking. Instead, Ross will take his 57 FRA+ (that is, he's been 43% worse than average by FRA, Baseball Prospectus's pitcher-value rate metric) to Sacramento, where he can work on harnessing what remains a very good arm. He's got good velocity and he gets wicked movement, but he just can't do anything with it right now. He's still just 25, so there's a little time for him to figure things out, maybe eventually in a bullpen role. I can't imagine him ever becoming a top-half starter, though.
Taking Ross's roster spot is Yoenis Cespedes. Hooray! He's apparently been playing left field during his rehab stint, so the A's may have decided that it's time to put him in a corner,1 having seen his defense in action and having shifted Coco Crisp back to center during Cespedes's absence. You don't put a guy who had a .263 TAv last year and a rest-of-season PECOTA projection for .251 this year in center just to make him feel good about himself, but if the difference between Crisp's range/hands and Cespedes's is as big as it seems to my eyes, then it's a worthwhile move.
Now, the more worthwhile move is probably to put Collin Cowgill in center 80% of the time. He hasn't hit this year, either, but he's hit better than Crisp (not hard), and PECOTA, working mostly from his minor-league numbers, figures him to basically hit the same as Crisp (.254 TAv). If Cowgill is going to be on the roster anyway, then I'd rather see Crisp as the fourth outfielder. This has been true all along, but it's actually feasible now that Bob Melvin has apparently convinced Billy Beane to hold on to Cowgill as long as possible. FREE COWGILL.
NOBODY PUTS YOENIS IN A CORNER. ↩