By Jason Wojciechowski on May 4, 2014 at 2:24 PM
With A.J. Griffin undergoing Tommy John surgery, the A's were going to be able to put him on the 60-day disabled list the next time they saw the need to use his 40-man roster spot. That opportunity has apparently arrived, as the A's claimed Nick Buss from the Dodgers. Buss was designated to make room for pitcher Red Patterson, who, despite the name, is not actually a contemporary of Old Hoss Radbourn's. Patterson came up as the Dodgers' 26th man for a doubleheader -- you get to expand your 25-man roster for the doubleheader, but you don't get to expand the 40-man, so Patterson had to be added to the latter to make the start.
The most notable thing about Buss is that his nickname is "Chili." (Depending on your source, that might actually be his given middle name, but it's not clear.) Despite having a significant age advantage over Chili Davis, I would not bet on Buss (6'2", 190) over Davis (6'3", 195 in his playing days) in a cage fight to determine who gets to keep the Chili Crown.
Other facts about Buss: he's 27; he went to junior college in San Diego and was drafted there, but ended up at USC (and improved his draft stock significantly, moving from the 35th to the eighth round); he's generally been old for his level at every stop in the minors; he bats left and throws right, as all decent humans do; he mashed the ball at Rancho Cucamonga and Albuquerque, but so does everybody; and he started his career in center, but he's played less there as he's aged and moved up.
Upshot? Here's the list of outfielders certainly or probably ahead of Buss on the depth chart:
- Coco Crisp
- Craig Gentry
- Josh Reddick
- Yoenis Cespedes
- Brandon Moss
- Shane Peterson
- Stephen Vogt?
- Michael Taylor?
Some of this depends on whether the A's were to need to call up someone who can handle center, but if there were devastation and destruction in the Oakland outfield, I wouldn't rank Buss any higher than the above list indicates, even at the expense of putting Moss in the outfield and either running with Callasparton at first or calling up Nate Freiman. All of which is to say that we oughtn't expect to see Buss in the green and/or gold any time soon.