By Jason Wojciechowski on November 17, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Yesterday, or maybe Thursday, or ... who even knows, at some point in the last week, the A's traded Tyson Ross to San Diego. The A's traded Tyson Ross to San Diego along with A.J. Kirby-Jones and got players back who might be useful.
I'll say that again: the A's moved Tyson Ross off their roster and still got something useful back.
I don't like saying mean things about players. They're human beings, first of all, and they have Internet access to boot. I strongly doubt any players are reading this piece in particular or are regular readers of the blog (though, hey, drop me a line at email@example.com if you are -- I'd love to hear about it), but I also figure that over the course of nine years and 1500-ish posts, some front office type, coach, or player has actually read something on my blog, even if only by accident, and I'd hate for the post they stumbled across to be the one where I'm making snarky comments and generally just being rude.
But the thing is that Tyson Ross simply hasn't performed at the big-league level. In just short of 150 innings over three seasons, Ross has fewer strikeouts and more walks than the league average and a runs-allowed per nine innings over 5.5. (For context, the 2012 American League scored just under 4.5 per game, which includes extra innings.) In my head, and I'd bet in your head as well, Ross is a guy who gets whiffs but who beats himself with bad control, but, as I mentioned, he actually hasn't been that -- the only thing keeping him from falling off into the void entirely are his ground balls, which he induces at a well-above-average rate with a heavy sinker.
Ross actually did throw the ball in the strike zone at an above-average rate in 2012, but the price he paid for that was a .360 BABIP -- in the context of an A's team with a .721 defensive efficiency (essentially: the rate at which it turned batted balls into outs), that's terrible. It could have been luck, certainly, since we're talking about fewer than 250 balls in play total, but my memory contains a whole lot of hard-hit balls. Without going back and watching all 250, for which I would need an intern, and without data like HITf/x, for which I would need like a million dollars, I'm just running on vague recollections and impressions. (I could quote line drive percentage, I guess, but it's been strongly suggested that that data just eats its own tail -- do line drives fall more often for hits, or are hits more often classified as line drives?) Still, it's what we have, and it seems the A's and Padres felt the same way -- look into the stats of Andy Parrino and Andrew Werner all you want, but these are guys who have not been slotting into Kevin Goldstein's top-20 for the Padres in the last few years. Oakland was not able to insist on more and San Diego wasn't willing to give up more.
I will be rooting for Ross to figure things out in San Diego. I don't imagine it will happen -- his mechanics are just too awful, too inconsistent for me to have any faith that he can make some tweaks here and there and harness his stuff. But I'm rooting.
Tamara Davis isn't sure whether she's in denial that Parrino could be the A's starting shortstop in 2013, but I'm with her that I certainly hope Oakland can do better.
David Wishinsky saw Kirby-Jones play in the Cal League and figures that the A's will not be in a position where Parrino has to be the starting shortstop come spring.
Susan Slusser has an unnamed scout/front-office person ("talent evaluator") who calls Parrino "a crazy-good athlete," which is fun.
Chris Kusiolek is higher on Parrino than the rest of us, in part because of his very good walk rate.
Unrelated links now!
Chris writes about the awards, and he's mostly right. I will note, though, that he's hung up on Alex Rios getting a fifth-place vote, which is not the vote to get hung up on. Rios finished sixth among hitters in WARP this year. He slugged .516, had a solid OBP and both plays good defense and runs the bases well. Rios is not the guy to get upset about.