Transactions: McCarthy, Barton, Norberto, Doolittle
I'm a couple of days behind on Brandon McCarthy being activated from the Disabled List after the minimum stint of fifteen days because of his shoulder soreness. It's really nice to see him come back without setbacks, for a third or fourth MRI not to reveal some damage that was missed the first time around, for no news reports of strange injuries that don't happen to any other pitchers.
Instead, the A's got six innings of two-run ball in Kansas City on Saturday and, hopefully, a steady rotation member back and ready to finish out the season. (Whether that will come in Oakland or another city is still up in the air. Is always up in the air, in fact.)
To make room, the A's sent Daric Barton back to Sacramento. We explored Barton's approach at the plate about ten days ago but the fact remains that, despite nineteen walks in 126 PAs, he was hitting for just a .240 TAv, a number weirdly similar to 2011, when Barton was supposed to have been limited by a shoulder injury.
It's not like Kila Ka'aihue is tearing the world to pieces or setting it on fire or whatever Titanic Wrath metaphor you prefer -- in fact, Barton was, at least before Ka'aihue's homer in tonight's game, out-hitting him, as the big Hawaiian had only posted a .238 TAv for the season. Ninety points of slugging (Ka'aihue's advantage) vs. thirty points of OBP (Barton's advantage) is a closer question than you might realize, and an illustration of why OPS doesn't really work.
Barton's the one who had options, though, and you can always cut Ka'aihue in July just as easily as you could have in June, so why not.
The big surprise today was that Sean Doolittle finished his rocket ascent at the big leagues. The erstwhile first baseman, now a lefty reliever with legit stuff, started the year in A-ball but is now in what used to be Jerry Blevins's role in the A's bullpen, with Blevins scooting up (?) to Jordan Norberto's spot. Norberto has shoulder soreness in the important (left) one, so who knows how long he'll be out.
The A's could have gone back to Pedro Figueroa, but there's probably value in rewarding a player who has dominated at every turn. Doolittle is old enough that the A's may as well find out if his stuff and command will play in the big-leagues as well as it played in the minors, and they've already seen some of Figueroa in the majors.
Anyway, I'm not entirely sure what these bullpen roles are. Blevins has been a multi-inning reliever a number of times, but he hasn't really been a long man. Similarly, Norberto hasn't pitched all the time in winning or losing causes, or in consistent innings. They're both basically middle relievers, I guess.
Either way, I'm excited to see Doolittle for the first time. As I've mentioned a thousand times before, I don't typically watch Spring Training, so I've literally never seen the man throw a pitch. It should be fun.
Beaneball by Jason Wojciechowski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.