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  • September 30, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    I know you've been desperately awaiting my Internet Baseball Awards ballot. Here it is. Josh Donaldson is on there.

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  • September 25, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    I don't read Q&A's as a rule because I generally hate them, but this one with Brandon Moss (and drop-in Statler and Waldorf commentary by Adam Dunn) by Eno Sarris of FanGraphs is fantastic. Moss is frank and fully understanding of what kind of player he is and what kind of pitches are his pitches to hit. He also describes himself as sabermetrically oriented and watches a ton of video. (Also, tidbit: Jon Lester watches a ton of video as well.)

    Dunn is a jokester.

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  • September 24, 2014 at 11:47 PM

    Susan Slusser reports that Brandon Moss has been dealing with a severe right hip injury. (That's the front hip for the lefty batter.) She uses the phraes "bone-on-bone," which is always alarming as hell, and says that he'll be having microfracture surgery after the season to correct the problem.

    Moss, as players often do, wouldn't blame his second-half shittiness on his hip, but that's a pretty obvious explanation for him to suddenly stop being able to hit. If you've ever read any swing analysis (Ryan Parker at Baseball Prospectus, for instance, or Jerry Brewer at Athletics Nation) you'll have noticed a lot of focus on what the hips are doing, how powerfully they're doing it, the timing of the movements, and so forth. I'm the furthest thing from a doctor, and even if I were a doctor, I haven't seen Moss' MRI, but it's still pretty easy to imagine how, whether through decreased mobility or simply pain, Moss' swing could have become completely fouled by this injury.

    Also alarming is Moss' prospects going forward. As a late bloomer, the A's were never going to be able to count on him for years and years and years (he's already 30), but as an immobile slugger, perhaps a gentle decline into his early 30s in time for him to become a free agent in 2017 would have made for a nice confluence of skills, cost, and team control. Now the skills part of that equation is in question. A quick google shows that Moss can be expected to be on crutches for eight weeks after the surgery, so being ready for spring training shouldn't be an issue, but what about his mobility and power? Will they come all the way back?

    On the other hand, if Moss is bone-to-bone at this point, is it likely that this is a sudden condition? Or did Moss post a 146 OPS+ from 2012-13 with partially degraded hip cartilage as it was, such that the surgery doesn't need to return him to 100 percent hip effectiveness for him to get back to his All Star–caliber hitting? Maybe Moss will address these questions with the media in the coming weeks or in the offseason. Maybe we'll be left speculating. For now, we're speculating about speculation, but one thing seems very likely: The A's probably cannot count on Moss to suddenly snap out of his "slump" in the next few days and, hopefully, in a deep run into the playoffs. The Moss we have is, for now, pre-surgery, the Moss we most likely have.

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  • September 24, 2014 at 1:52 AM

    Turns out that Billy Beane was the best of trade partners and the worst of trade partners for Kevin Towers. (The worst, coming as it did in the Trevor Cahill trade, weighs quite a bit more heavily, and should only continue to look worse from here on out.)

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  • September 24, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    John Hart is apparently on the verge of coming back to baseball as a general manager for the first time since October 4, 2005. This time it would be for the Braves. It really has been that long since he invented some of the modern concepts of everyday general managing, and it really has been that long since he stepped down to let Mark Shapiro take over as GM in Cleveland.

    Which, come to think of it, may be considered another move he pioneered, the grooming of the understudy, though Sandy Alderson had done the same thing, leaving to a position in MLB's offices, letting Billy Beane take over the top chair in Oakland. In any event, if Hart were to take the reins in Atlanta, it would apparently be with the idea that he would groom yet another successor, after Shapiro and Jon Daniels, this time John Coppolella, a young jack-of-all-trades type with both stats and scouting savvy and an incredible reputation as an up-and-comer within the game.

    It has, just to hammer this home, been so long since Hart left Cleveland to Shapiro that Shapiro himself has already bumped upstairs to the President job (speaking of now-popular front-office moves), with Chris Antonetti taking over as GM. This was Antonetti's fourth season in that role.

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  • September 16, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Grant Brisbee, you will be shocked to hear, is right about bunting to break up a no-hitter: it's just not a big deal in 99 percent of situations. Occasionally it's a weenie move, but the most that should happen is we call the guy a weenie. And in the fifth inning of a close game with the defensive shift on?

    N
    O
    P
    E

    A's fans already have a position on bunting vs. the shift thanks to the stupid Bo Porter - Jed Lowrie contretemps (and let's just take a moment to savor Jed Lowrie being the A's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award), but just in case you didn't already: if you take your third baseman away from third base, it would be a dereliction of duty for a hitter not to at least ponder the possibility of bunting the ball that direction, regardless of score or anything else. It's the great trade-off, and you don't get to have it both ways. (As Sam Miller has noted, though, that's entirely the point of unwritten rules: using shame to get the other team to act against their self-interest.)

    Anyway, I think a good article to pair with Grant's is Zachary Levine's recent piece at Baseball Prospectus about when a potential no-hitter starts getting real. He uses stats. In this case, we learn from those stats that in games played since 1950, teams have completed no-hitters 2.05 percent of the time when they've not allowed a hit through four innings. That's a pretty miniscule shot that Domonic Brown "took away" by bunting for a hit against Andrew Cashner.

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  • September 16, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Marc Normandin has the writeup over at SB Nation.

    My HOT NON-A'S TAKE is that prosecuting a mere user of drugs, particularly these drugs, would be completely out of step with anything resembling good drug policy and would be hard to justify as a matter of prosecutorial and investigative time and resources. Rodriguez seems like one of the lamest baseball players around, but wishing jail on him isn't going to fix that and it isn't going to fix the game (assuming you think it's broken in the first place, which is a tough argument to make).

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  • September 15, 2014 at 1:19 AM

    David Schoenfield thinks the wild card lead is (relatively?) safe at this point after a couple of very important wins in Seattle. Objectively, I might agree that the A's are in a good position over their final 13 games, as 10 are against Texas and Philadelphia, with just three against the Angels. As a fan, the last month has been so horrifying that I'm counting on the team going 0-13 and will color myself pleasantly surprised with any other outcome.

    My Mets fan father-in-law today expressed sympathy. It's been a tough time, A's fans.

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  • September 12, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    The A's last seven losses have been by exactly one run. I asked Data Wizard Andrew Koo to help me research that, and he gave me a list of the 15 teams since 1950 that have also experienced periods where their only losses were by one run. And then I wrote 4,000 words about them at Baseball Prospectus. It's free.

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  • September 11, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    Forget this year. I'm done with it. Instead, read this nice profile of Daniel Robertson, the new shortstop of the future and maybe the new best A's prospect.

    Question, though: Addison Russell's calling cards aren't exactly his range and speed, right? So when comparing their tools, knowing Robertson doesn't have Russell's bat (because no middle infield prospect does), isn't it pretty damning to say Robertson doesn't even have Russell's range and speed?

    The flip side is that even if each of Robertson's tools is a touch below (or more) he can still be an excellent prospect because Russell is that good. Like, if you're only 60 percent of Barry Bonds, you're amazing too.

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  • September 9, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Grant Brisbee looks at five mistakes the A's made to wind up in the position they're in. (Specifically, as to that position: to wind up shitty.)

    Well, that's not quite right. The idea is more generally five mistakes they've made in the last two months, so Brisbee is able to include trading Addison Russell even though that trade (or, specifically, who they gave up in that trade) has nothing to do with their doing well or not. But in any event, it's hard to argue with any of his five points:

    • Jeff Samardzija isn't an ace and paying an ace price for him was probably a mistake (though he's likely an upgrade on whoever would have pitched those innings if they hadn't acquired him, whether that's a tiring Jesse Chavez, an overmatched Dan Straily, or someone else);

    • Leaving their sub-replacement second-base situation alone was probably a mistake, though Billy Beane was likely betting on upward regression from his existing players, and it was justified in the case of Eric Sogard, who's hit .277/.373/.362 since July 20th, with the problem being that a fair amount of that goes on the shortstop portion of the ledger because of Jed Lowrie's injury (which coincided with Nick Punto's, thereby decimating the A's middle-infield offense and defense simultaneously);

    • The A's have probably been unlucky, both in the classic sense of misdistribution of runs and close games not going their way and in the particular distribution of talent across the league in such a way that the three best teams in the American League might all be in their division. Of course, they were probably playing over their heads in the first half, in terms of certain players outproducing their talent, but the Baseball Gods aren't supposed to let individual regression happen simultaneous with a rash of injuries simultaneous with unfortunate distribution. That ain't right, Baseball Gods.

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  • September 6, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    David Schoenfield looks at the history of teams who led baseball in wins at the All-Star break. None of them failed to make the playoffs. Which just means the A's can set a new record if they keep doing shitty!

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  • September 5, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    Zachary Levine looks at the A's propensity under Billy Beane to sign (or, in the case of Adam Dunn, acquire) aging sluggers to play designated hitter. Sometimes it works (Frank Thomas, David Justice), sometimes it doesn't (Eric Karros, Nomar Garciaparra), sometimes it's whatever (Frank Thomas the second time, Mike Piazza, Jason Giambi, Mike Sweeney, Hideki Matsui).

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  • September 4, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Good stuff from Alex Hall over at Athletics Nation on where Adam Dunn's playing time is going to come from.

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  • September 2, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    The A's may not win the West, but at least they're 1/25th of the way to 25 Adam Dunns.

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  • September 2, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Here's R.J. Anderson's Transaction Analysis, which includes a paragraph on the Adam Dunn trade and notes the possible difficulty juggling the roster if John Jaso makes it back. Color me pessimistic.

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  • September 1, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    David Schoenfield raises a couple of names of interest to A's fans as possible replacements for Bo Porter in Houston: current Mets bench coach Bob Geren, who A's fans of course know and love (it is love, right?) as the manager who took over for the much-maligned Ken Macha and presided over a four-plus-year run of mediocrity that saw the team finish at .500 just once and make the playoffs no times; and current A's bench coach Chip Hale, whose coaching experience also includes Triple-A managing and third-base-coaching for the Mets.

    Geren managed under Billy Beane, of course, and his current job has him working for Sandy Alderson and his crew of stat nerd front office folks (Paul DePodesta, J.P. Ricciardi, Peter Brand), so he can at the very least go along to get along with a the Luhnowians in H-Town. Hale the same, and furthermore he's probably just about due for a gig in any event.

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  • September 1, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    We're starting to see how the roster is going to shape up for September. Most notably, Bryan Anderson, a lefty-swinging catcher, has been added to the expanded roster, so the A's now have literally 17 catchers on the roster. (Proof left as an exercise for the reader.) Also up are Billy Burns for pinch-running and defense and Fernando Rodriguez as a bullpen arm. Nate Freiman and Drew Pomeranz will return tomorrow.

    By the way: Geovany Soto is starting at catcher today rather than Derek Norris, or even rather than Stephen Vogt, which you could do if you wanted Brandon Moss to play first and Craig Gentry to play left. In the latter case, we perhaps see the trading of defense for offense, which may make sense given that the A's have scored four total runs in their last 17 games. (Proof left as an exercise for the reader.)

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  • August 31, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    Hard to argue with David Schoenfield here: the West looks awfully tough to win at this point.

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  • August 31, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    Here's one look at the Adam Dunn trade from the White Sox perspective.

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  • August 31, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    As David Schoenfield writes, unless Yoenis Cespedes was actually the team's mascot and prime motivational force, they're not playing well now because they're not playing well, not because Cespedes is in Boston.

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  • August 29, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    Hey, guess who's hurt again?

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  • August 25, 2014 at 1:30 AM

    Hey. Did you hear the A's have some injuries? We'll Sam Fuld is day-to-day after banging his knee in the outfield. How you like them injuries?

    sobs

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  • August 24, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    Maybe if I'd checked Susan Slusser's blog first, I wouldn't be sitting here guessing at who's going where. She says that John Jaso is indeed hitting the disabled list because of (ugh) concussion symptoms. This is the second time in as many years that Jaso had missed time with a concussion, and one can only hope that he's able to recover. If his bad catcher defense weren't enough, his newfound proneness to concussions should hopefully spell the end of his days behind the plate. He hasn't played a ton of first base in his career, but maybe he can learn the position this offseason (assuming he's able to recover enough from the concussion to actually work out).

    It's all terrible. All of it. It's terrible.

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  • August 24, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    But hey, on the other hand, the A's acquired Geovany Soto in a trade with the Rangers. Oakland gave up noted prospect Some Bucks. It's not entirely clear why the A's need four catchers except insofar as Bob Melvin is tired of watching John Jaso and Stephen Vogt's attempts to receive pitched baseballs. The A's will need to make a 25-man roster move, and I'm really not sure what those are going to be unless maybe Jaso, who hasn't played the last three games (two of which were against lefties) is hurt. That he didn't start Sunday's game after so much time off might be an indication.

    It appears the 40-man move was transferring Kyle Blanks to the 60-day disabled list. He went on the DL on June 23rd, so the move is purely procedural; he's already been out for 60 days, so this doesn't say anything about how much longer we should expect him to be out.

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  • August 24, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    I missed before just now that Sean Doolittle's "eh, no big deal" twinge in his side has magically transformed into an intercostal strain that has sent him to the disabled list. The sky, she falls. She falls, friends.

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  • August 24, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Last week, Christina Kahrl had this look at the A's struggles in the last month (or closer to a month and a half now). It's not wrong and it's terrifying.

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  • August 23, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    Sometimes teams are all, "we're not afraid of our rival and we're not going to let them dictate how we behave," and sometimes teams are smart and realistic and recognize that some games matter more than others and swap their rotation around to make sure their best four starters pitch in a critical four-game series against the team that could bump them from the division title into the dreaded anything-could-happen (what what say what) wild card crapshoot game.

    The A's, bless Jobu, are doing the latter.

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  • August 22, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    In checking in on the enemy news, Nathan Aderhold has this look at the Angels' best options to hold down the fort after Garrett Richards sadly went down with what is known in the halls of medicine as a jacked-up knee.

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  • August 22, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    It looks like Kyle Blanks won't be back for a while. On the one hand, the A's have, at least at the corner spots, more players than they know what to do with. On the other hand, Blanks is more versatile than Nate Freiman and likely a better hitter, too. Freiman has options, so the A's wouldn't be losing anything if Blanks completed his rehab as he was scheduled to do. Assuming Blanks does play again this season, I'm curious to see how Bob Melvin balances his time with Freiman, given that we're looking at expanded September rosters before too long.

    Also: big guys just have such a hard time of it with their feet, huh?

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  • August 21, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    Jeff Moore has a scouting report on Billy McKinney. He's big on the hit tool, which he says will take him to the majors, where the rest of his development will determine whether he fits as just a guy or A Guy. (My stealing from Keith Law, not Moore's.)

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  • August 21, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    There are arguments to be made against the shift. This, which essentially boils down to "waaahhh," isn't those arguments.

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  • August 14, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    From a few weeks ago, here's MLB.com's updated ranking of A's prospects. Note that Daniel Robertson has jumped into the overall MLB top 100 on the basis of his all-around-solid game. New draftee Matt Chapman clocks in fourth while middle infielder Chad Pinder and pitcher Seth Streich have made big jumps up the rankings. Billy Burns has dropped all the way to 17th after beginning the year at no. 9.

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  • August 7, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    Benjamin Morris looked at how much the Red Sox may have lost out by not offering Billy Beane whatever amount of money it took to get him. There are assumptions here, including in particular that Beane's [stuff] would work just as well in Boston's financial environment as Oakland's, but the scale of the numbers means that you can apply a lot of discounts for how dubious you are about the method and still come out to the conclusion that Boston should have made Beane an offer he couldn't refuse.

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  • July 29, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    Chris Mosch looks at changing defensive alignments with two-strikes to better defend hitters with both strong pull tendencies and good bunt abilities. The case study is Coco Crisp.

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  • July 29, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    This isn't A's-related but it is a nice elegy for Ryan Howard by Paul Boye.

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  • July 24, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Jim Bowden's piece (Insider only) a week ago had the A's aggressively looking for a second baseman but unwilling to part with Daniel Robertson. Apparently some A's scout types like him as much as Russell, which sounds ludicrous unless you think that maybe Russell is like a Derek Jeter type on defense who's going to take away 15 runs on defense even as he provides ___ at the plate. In any event, Renato Nunez, by contrast, is apparently very much on the table.

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  • July 22, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    Michael Baumann's piece on the Astros / Brady Aiken situation is worth a minute. I'm justifying putting it here on this A's blog because the Astros are a division rival. For some definition of "rival," anyway.

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  • July 22, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Katie Sharp at ESPN has a look at how Sonny Gray has turned it back around after a rough June.

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  • July 19, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Let's give Huston Street a warm welcome back into the American League West, ideally by hitting about 12 homers off of him in the event he pitches August 22-24, 28-31, or September 22-24. "The unlikely event," he said, smugly, implying that the Angels aren't going to go to the ninth inning with the lead against the A's, thereby dooming Oakland to lose all 10 games by the magic of baseball blogger karma.

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  • July 18, 2014 at 12:59 AM

    The similarities between the swings of Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson are intentional. It's become one of my favorite things to say about the current iteration of baseball: swinging real real real hard may be something like a market inefficiency on the player level.

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  • July 18, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    In even more important ex-A's news, Brett Wallace is now a Blue Jay. Toronto acquired him from Baltimore, where I did not even realize he had been.

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  • July 17, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    In always-important ex-A's news, Trevor Cahill is back from his excursion in the minors. He's still walking the entire world and is probably never going to be the pitcher we hoped he'd be, but at least he's in the majors again.

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  • July 17, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    The basic takeaway from this analysis of Mike Trout's swing by Blake Thomsen is that his mechanics match up perfectly with what pitchers have been taught to do since time immemorial. "Keep the ball down!" say the coaches, except that Trout does all his damage on low pitches and none on high pitches. You adjust your approach to different batters, but it's one thing to throw more sliders or more to one side of the plate against some batters and a whole other to work up, up, up when with almost literally everyone else in baseball you're better off working down. The mechanics of pitching are geared toward delivering the ball down in the strike zone. It's hard to just make that adjustment for one hitter.

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  • July 16, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    This is a fascinating look at the history of "options" in baseball (with Tom Milone as the lede, though the A's link here is shaky -- I'd recommend it regardless of who was in the header image).

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  • July 13, 2014 at 12:22 AM

    Boy, the A's farm system is, uh, not elite in terms of current talent on hand, is it?

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  • July 13, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Did I say anything here about the Jeff Francis trade? I don't think I did. Big up to Billy Beane for getting something for Francis from the Yankees, even if that something is like $25,000 or a fourth-rate 27-year-old reliever in High-A.

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  • July 13, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    Sam Miller finds the best defensive game of June and it stars our own Josh Donaldson. He uses this as an excuse to look at how Donaldson went from Auburn infielder to Auburn catcher to minor-league catcher to major-league third baseman to incredibly good major-league third baseman. Well worth the click if you have a subscription to BP.

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  • July 12, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    Alberto Callaspo went on the disabled list with a hamstring strain. Andy Parrino is up. I predict that this injury will cost the A's approximately 0.07 percent in their playoff odds.

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  • July 7, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    And the Baseball America midseason top 50 has Russell fifth, ahead of even Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez.

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  • July 7, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    The blogfather, David Schoenfield, looks at the Samardzija trade after Sunday's excellent start.

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  • July 7, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    The Baseball Prospectus midseason top 50 prospects ranking is here and Addison Russell is sixth. /sobs

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  • July 3, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    It's Eric O'Flaherty time in Oakland, finally. Or maybe "finally" is unfair given that he made it back from Tommy John surgery even before (if barely before) the All-Star break. Either way, it's the end of the A's road for Jeff Francis, who was designated for assignment. A variety of things could happen, including him staying in the A's organization, but the odds of that seem low. Given that he wouldn't be on the 40-man roster if he stuck around, in case of injury you'd have to figure that Joe Savery would be ahead of him in line for a 25-man spot if the team is looking specifically for a lefty, and Fernando Rodriguez if they just want a good reliever.

    At least he got that save.

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  • June 28, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Meet the A's newest shortstop and starting pitcher acquired in the most Billy Beane of fashions.

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  • June 24, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Mike Petriello has this good look at Sean Doolittle's success and how he's done it at FanGraphs.

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  • June 24, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    Some nice news for Renato Nunez, who made the World Futures Game team. Nunez isn't a big-time prospect (he was ranked sixth in the mediocre A's organization by MLB.com and 10th by Baseball Prospectus), though he does have big-time power. Hopefully this isn't his career highlight, but it's always a possibility. The 2006 Futures Games, for instance, featured Joe Koshansky, Eric Patterson, Josh Fields, Jason Hirsh, Eric Hurley, Nick Pereira, Josh Sharpless, Salomon Manriquez, Yung Chi Chen, Joel Guzman, Anderson Gomes, Trent Oeltjen, and Davis Romero, among others. It also, to be fair, had Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, Joey Votto, and an assortment of others ranging from solid to well-above-average. My point isn't to throw shade at the organizers of the event, but simply to note that the future, as it were, is still incredibly speculative.

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  • June 23, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    The mystery of Josh Reddick's activation (specifically, who would need to be cut to make room) has been solved, as Kyle Blanks has a strained calf that has put him on the disabled list. In the 20 games in which Blanks recorded a position played, 17 of them were at first base. He basically started against lefties, though it wasn't a strict platoon (as has been Bob Melvin's wont this year).

    With Reddick returning, this would seem to leave the team some options. Of course, when Reddick plays, he'll be in right field. And when he plays with a right-handed pitcher on the mound, Brandon Moss will 100 percent be in the lineup, most likely at first base. The difficulty is that this leaves one of The Catcher Trio sitting (with the other two splitting catcher and designated hitter), which is a shame given how Reddick has hit the last year and a half, but is not nearly as much of a shame when you consider his defense versus the try-real-hard galumphing of Vogt. I appreciate the hell out of the guy, and I love having him on the team, and it's fun watching him hit, but he's not Reddick in the pasture.

    The question is what to do against lefties. I'd be in favor of Craig Gentry starting over Reddick with Moss and Alberto Callaspo splitting first base and DH. That's not nearly as fearsome a lineup as the one against righties, but that's exactly how you want to build your team, right? Why sign a bunch of lefty mashers when you're only going to get to use them one day in four?

    Once again, though, we're just talking about base lineups, not the everyday configuration. Check out the A's calendar of defensive assignments this year -- players get rest, players have owies, players get pulled for matchup reasons, it's all there. Really, though, all I ask is that we give Reddick a break against lefties.

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  • June 20, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    The A's are first in baseball at turning batted balls into outs and it's not particularly close, so if platooning is hurting their defense, then it must be because they're superhuman at defense normally. I appreciate the theorizing, but a little actual data (no, error totals don't count) can go a long way.

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  • June 20, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    And just like that, here's your 25-man answer -- Evan Scribner is headed back to Sacramento. Relatively predictable. If he wasn't good enough to beat out Jeff Francis for a roster spot three days ago, why would he be good enough now? See you next time, Scrumbles.

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  • June 20, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    The mystery of who would be removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Brad Mills (who is starting today) has been solved: the A's waived Justin Marks and lost him to [drumroll] the Rangers. Duh. It's frankly almost a little creepy at this point, the Rangers claiming everyone the A's waive.

    The 25-man roster move to get Mills on is still a mystery. The lineup card for 22 men listed (nine batting starters, four benchies, eight bullpen, and Mills), which either means a typo (e.g. forgetting to take Jeff Francis off the card), a late-breaking move (e.g. they haven't actually optioned Evan Scribner yet because they haven't decided whether they want to), or, most disastrously, a starting pitcher is going to go on the disabled list.

    I'm not sure what the deadline is to set your 25-man roster before a game, i.e. I don't know whether the second option above is even possible.

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  • June 19, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Here is why the A's aren't getting Ben Zobrist.

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  • June 14, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Here is the Baseball Reference page for the pitcher the A's got in return for Michael Taylor. He's 24 in the South Atlantic League and signed as an undrafted free agent. He's a very long shot, good peripheral numbers this year aside. There's real danger of this line of a long trade tree that includes Brett Wallace and Matt Holliday and Carlos Gonzalez and so forth being snuffed out if Sanchez gets released by the A's without ever making enough of a dent to be traded again.

    Good luck to Taylor, though. I don't know that he couldn't be a useful part-timer for a few years if the opportunity arose. He seems, human being-wise, like he deserves it.

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  • June 12, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    I don't want to be mean, but this Yoenis Cespedes piece is like a master class in how not to evaluate defense.

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  • June 11, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    The frame for this piece by Jen Mac Ramos is Justin Duchscherer, but I'd share it regardless -- it's an important blend of personal history and reporting on mental health and baseball. Those of us fortunate enough to be free of anxiety, depression, or other disorders should be aware of what people without such luck go through, and in particular it is nice to see, maybe, little by little, the culture inside baseball turning from "that guy is soft" to "we need to support that guy so he can try to get better."

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  • June 10, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    Sam Miller's take on the Manny Machado suspension (he did not get enough because of the particular tool involved in the fracas) seems right to me. (He would also have suspended Abad, which I agree with as well because I would try to legislate throwing-at-hitters out of the game. Even in the context of the situation as it stands, I'm not sure why he didn't get one game at least. He clearly tried to hit Machado, right? Chen's HBP of Donaldson was at least ambiguous, if suspect.)

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  • June 9, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    David Schoenfield has an appreciation of Sean Doolittle, the ridiculous work he's done, and the completely absurd way in which he's done it (all fastballs, all up in the zone). Don't let it become routine, fellow fans. Baseball is ephemeral, life is fleeting, joy never lasts, it's all darkness and pain in the not-even-very-long run. Embrace Doolittle and celebrate his accomplishments every day. Peace be with you.

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  • June 9, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    Grant Brisbee's take on the Orioles nonsense from this weekend looks right to me. Even the part where he doesn't know the difference between Eric Sogard and Alberto Callaspo. Cut him some slack, he's a Giants fan, the expectations are lower.

    Also: check out the Bert Campaneris GIF at that link. Doesn't it seem like Campy just doesn't react at all until the ball has already smacked him? Did he not see it? Did pitchers throw super-deceptive back then? Mysterious.

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  • June 9, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    In case you missed it, the Diamondbacks have designated Trevor Cahill for assignment. It's too bad, and it evokes weird feelings as a fan -- you're happy that Billy Beane made the trade when he did, taking the heat for trading a supposed young stud for speculative pieces, but you're not happy about why you're happy because Cahill seemed like a nice guy, a good player to root for. Not a goofball like Brett Anderson or a big personality like Grant Balfour, but just a solid dude.

    And so now, after one mediocre season in Arizona followed by one horrific start to a season and then a demotion to the bullpen, he's just an extra piece, someone you designate when you need the 40- or 25-man roster space. He's Evan Scribner.

    I'll be curious to see whether Arizona can swing a trade or get someone to bite on waivers to get out from under his contract. He's got about $5 million still coming to him over the rest of this year and $12 million next year! Plus $800,000 worth of buyouts. So it seems likely that he could get through waivers on price tag alone.

    The new market inefficiency is signing bad players to huge contracts and then DFAing them so you know they won't get claimed. You'll never lose Trevor Cahill unless you want to.

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  • June 9, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    This Ken Rosenthal piece on Brandon Moss has a lot of great bits in it. Moss signed with the A's because he was frustrated with the Phillies and because he wanted to go to the PCL to boost his power numbers so he could get a contract in Japan.

    Moss plays first in part because of Farhan Zaidi (a story that's been told) and in part because Darren Bush, his Triple-A manager, asked him how he could help Moss get to the majors, Moss replied that he'd like to add some versatility by working in at first base, and Bush readily agreed.

    And finally, Moss appreciates the A's stats department, talking about how stats give you the larger picture of a player, in sharp contrast to the sort of "we're just numbers to them" rhetoric you sometimes hear, including from the direction of Houston recently. Surely that's in part Moss' appreciation for Zaidi's role in giving him his shot, but it may also speak to the A's ability to communicate what the stats people are doing and why to the players (and coaches and scouts?).

    Thus is an All Star-caliber first baseman made.

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  • June 8, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    I can't really find much to disagree with in David Schoenfield's take on the Manny Machado dust-up.

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  • June 8, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Here's a profile of the A's 14th-round pick and how he became a top-notch catcher.

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  • June 8, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    I like the scout's insight that the A's could use a second baseman.

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  • June 7, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    Agent Joshua Kusnick recounts some post-draft negotiations.

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  • June 6, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    Good op-ed in the New York Times from Emma Span on the sexism of softball.

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  • June 6, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    The A's have paid a little money to get Justin Marks, a lefty pitcher, from the Royals. Kansas City had designated him for assignment. He'll head to Sacramento, so no 25-man move, but there will need to be something done on the 40-man roster. Your Official Beaneball Prediction is, in order: Evan Scribner; Joe Savery; Kent Matthes. With the quasi-imminent return of Eric O'Flaherty, another 40-man move will be needed in the not-so-distant future, and with Marks and O'Flaherty both being lefties, I can't imagine that Joe Savery's time in this organization is long.

    Marks, by the way, was an A's third-rounder in 2009 who they sent away in the David DeJesus trade. He's toiled in the minors since then, with just one big-league game (this year) to his credit. He's already 26, and his numbers in the high minors (8 K/9, 4 BB/9, 10 H/9) are nothing to get excited about. He's only this year made the switch to the bullpen, though -- 11 of his 13 appearances in Omaha were in relief, after starting 88 (of 100) games from 2009 through 2013.

    In short, this is nothing to get excited over, which you probably already knew.

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  • June 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    I don't normally link to tweets, but Iron Mike Gallego's find from Groupon in his inbox is too delightful not to share.

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  • June 6, 2014 at 1:57 AM

    This is a good rumination by Liz Roscher on why you stick with a losing team. It's obviously not relevant to A's fans these days, but our time will come again, surely, and perhaps unexpectedly soon. Hell, ask Phillies fans how quickly it can all turn around.

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  • June 6, 2014 at 1:49 AM

    Here are your MLB.com profiles of the first two A's picks of the 2014 draft. Matt Chapman, the first-rounder, seems a little cocky. Just a tad. Also he throws 98, so of course Sean Doolittle is mentioned.

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  • June 5, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Countering my wild-ass guess that Jim Johnson won't be traded, Susan Slusser says that it's a lot closer to "when" than "if." She adds that the A's are willing to pick up a big chunk of his salary to send him out, which does change things. A $2 million struggling ex-closer is a lot more intriguing on the trade market than a $10 million struggling ex-closer. And if he's really essentially the eighth option in the bullpen, which he might be when Eric O'Flaherty returns, then not keeping him around just because he used to be good is the right move.

    Of course, that's the question: what's his true talent level right now? What is his likely production over the rest of the year? (And did the A's home fans break him and also what kind of amazing shitstorm is there going to be over how the fans drove him out when he does get traded?)

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  • June 4, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    Ken Rosenthal's story about how the A's nearly traded Jim Johnson to the Marlins for the 39th pick in the draft is very intriguing. It would have cost the A's some cash, but they'd also have been getting a player back. As Rosenthal tells it, translated into my own words, the A's aren't shopping Johnson, but the Marlins came with an offer they couldn't refuse. With Ryan Cook now back, Eric O'Flaherty coming back, and Fernando Rodriguez being squeezed out to Sacramento, Johnson is looking more and more like a spare part.

    That said, this deal having fallen apart (in favor of the Marlins acquiring Bryan Morris from the Pirates, which tells you a lot, maybe, about where Jim Johnson's stock is), I'd be reasonably surprised (say 55 on the 20-80 scale) to see Johnson traded anywhere else.

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  • June 2, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    Mike Bates writes what in my opinion should be an uncontroversial piece about how ballplayers shouldn't call other ballplayers "girls" in public as an insult and, well, hey, it's sports, so you can guess what the comments section is like.

    (And in case it wasn't clear: don't use "girl" as an insult.)

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  • June 1, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    Maybe the reason Yoenis Cespedes' greatness is understated is because he has a sub-.300 on-base percentage.

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  • June 1, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    The call-up of Stephen Vogt and the simultaneous demotion of Fernando Rodriguez apparently answers yesterday's Ryan Cook question, and the answer does not appear to be "Jim Johnson."

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  • May 31, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    John Shea has a couple of injury rehab updates, including that Ryan Cook pitched a rehab appearance in Stockton tonight. But who loses their spot? The Fernandos (Abad and Rodriguez) have pitched well, Dan Otero shouldn't be going anywhere, and without Jeff Francis, the team has no long man, which may not sound like a big deal to us, but it's something managers fret about, so the team may as well appease Bob Melvin on that front whether the front office feels it's necessary or not.

    Which leaves Jim Johnson. He's an obvious candidate to go get himself sorted out, and count me as not at all a believer in the reality of his home/road splits -- it's always possible the fans have gotten in his head, but it's more likely random variation. It appears that Johnson was optioned in 2007 and 2010, which would mean that he has one more option year for the A's to exploit. However, per the MLB collective bargaining agreement, a player with more than five years of service time has the right to refuse an assignment to the minor leagues. Johnson entered the year just days shy of six years, so he falls in that category. Could the A's convince him to hit Sacramento with a vengeance and get himself ready to return as soon as he proves himself able?

    Maybe! But maybe the pending free agent thinks he's about to turn a corner and sees his future market value as taking a sizable hit if he winds up spending a month in Triple-A. In which case we're probably back to Fernando Rodriguez, which would be a shame.

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  • May 30, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Ben Lindbergh details the A's five-point challenge communication system after talking with bench coach Chip Hale, though it's starting to look like it'll be more of a two-point challenge system sooner rather than later.

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  • May 29, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    Nothing groundbreaking here for A's fans or anyone else, really, and you'll want to ignore the bits about how the A's have "traditionally" won with platoons and how apparently the only signal for hitting regression is BABIP, but if you want to see the update on how the Jorek Norso catcher platoon is hitting, hit that link.

    I would add that I'm happy that Bob Melvin has essentially been forced by Norris' hot hitting to run with the Jaso-DH / Norris-C lineup I spent way too much time advocating for this winter.

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  • May 29, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    At Baseball Prospectus today is a very optimistic quote from an anonymous scout about Daniel Robertson, essentially saying that his skills and acumen overcome a lack of tools. Second baseman of the future? It would be nice to have some stability at the position, to the extent stability is ever a thing the A's have anywhere.

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  • May 28, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    Meanwhile, Addison Russell is back, and that's nothing but good news. He'll play in extended spring training for a while before heading back to Double-A, where, with any luck, he will pick up where he left off and prove himself ready to take over shortstop in 2015. (With Jed Lowrie re-signing with the A's for three years and $39 million to play second base.) ((Right?))

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  • May 27, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    Reginald J. Anderson examines the A's success the last two years at trading prospects for veterans, a method that is in certain circles frowned on, as RJA notes -- the consensus stat nerd Right Way to Win is to develop your prospects and let them succeed in the majors. As the A's, Yankees, Braves, Rays, Red Sox, and Giants have shown over the last 15 years, though, there is no Right Way to Win.

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  • May 27, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Russell Carleton looks at the draft and determines that things are even more of a crapshoot than the popular narrative might have it, especially after the first round, when teams basically appear to have no ability, on the whole, to tell who's deserving of what money, at least within tiers (e.g. they might be good at deciding who is a second-round talent vs. tenth-round, but within the second round, who knows). See also the comments from MGL.

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  • May 27, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Well hey, neat, Josh Donaldson could get voted in to the All-Star Game. Even as a non-homer and even as someone who believes in voting for the best players rather than the best first halves, I'd be for that. He's leading the American League in bWAR and was a legit MVP candidate last year. I wouldn't be mad at Texas and Tampa fans for voting for Adrian Beltre or Evan Longoria, though.

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  • May 22, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Grant Brisbee points out a couple of the "where'd he come from?" projects that have made the A's so successful.

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  • May 22, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    David Schoenfield queries the Play Index after the A's one-hit win. Turns out this happens only about 2 of every 3 years.

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  • May 21, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    In which Jane Lee has apparently decided to advocate on behalf of Derek Norris. And in which Norris uses the word "comfortability."

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  • May 20, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    Now that's how you do a short piece on baseball fights.

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  • May 19, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    SweetSpot's fearless leader David Schoenfield looks at the A's run of dominance (all year and in particular in the last ten games) and sees a team with 100-win upside. As he notes, you don't project a team to win 100, but if you're looking for a roster in a division where that can be accomplished, you might well be looking for Oakland.

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  • May 19, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    Ray-Jay Anderson reviews the Kyle Blanks trade among a variety of others in his latest Transaction Analysis. He's bullish on it without proclaiming Blanks a franchise savior or anything of the sort.

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  • May 18, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    I don't hate adding Jeff Francis to be the last guy in the bullpen over Joe Savery. It's fine. If he's pitching in a situation where he can have a true effect on the win probability, then things have gone badly wrong in any event. And who knows -- he used to be good!

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  • May 17, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    David Temple's father-son dialogue about where UCLs go when they break is great, A-level work, but the first comment, by Mike Green, brings the whole thing up to A++++.

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  • May 17, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    What has made Jesse Chavez successful? Using the pitches that make him successful.

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  • May 16, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    David Schoenfield doesn't quite consign the Rangers to the dustbin in light of the injuries to Martin Perez and Matt Harrison, but close enough. Much as I don't like feeling cocky about the A's chances (karma!), it's hard to see the Rangers as a threat.

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  • May 12, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Reggie Anderson covers the A's recent set of pitching moves in his latest Transaction Analysis. (Full disclosure: he linked to this blog.) ((Fuller disclosure: I'd have linked his piece whether he linked to mine or not.)) Read the whole thing if you've got a sub. He's a gem, and he's punchier than usual in this edition of the TA.

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  • May 12, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Today's Ten Pack at Baseball Prospectus leads off with a nice write up from Jason Parks on Shane Peterson. Parks acknowledges that Peterson isn't a classic hype prospect, but sees future big-league value.

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  • May 11, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    David Schoenfield takes a look around the league at five questions after the first quarter of the season. One fifth of one of the questions is whether Josh Reddick should give way to Craig Gentry even more. At least against lefties, I'm pretty convinced that Gentry-Crisp-Cespedes should be the default outfield.

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  • May 7, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    Russell Carleton on how much to trust early-season run differential. Particularly relevant to the A's, of course.

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  • May 4, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    Russell Carleton finds a statistically significant but surprisingly small effect on pitcher arm injuries from innings count.

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  • May 4, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Raul Alcantara, who is arguably the A's best pitching prospect (though Baseball Prospectus has him behind Bobby Wahl), is done for the year with, you guessed it, Tommy John surgery.

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  • May 2, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    David Schoenfield has ten reasons why the A's were April's best team.

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  • April 22, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Jeff Sullivan says all the things I'd say about the Jed Lowrie-Astros contretemps, except calmer because he's not an A's fan.

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  • April 22, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    Interesting piece from Russell Carleton, prompted by a Peter Moylan tweet about not letting relievers pitch further after they've worked out of a jam.

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  • April 22, 2014 at 7:38 AM

    Here are the details of the Sean Doolittle extension. The dollars are contingent on which side of the Super Two line he lands on this offseason, so we still can't say with any certainty how much it's worth, though the approximate discount should be the same either way.

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  • April 19, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    The thing is that nobody scores runs against elite pitching. That's the whole point of elite pitching.

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  • April 18, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    Jack Moore cuts right to the heart of the B.S., as usual.

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  • April 18, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    I'm telling you guys, the Jim Johnson trade was all a trojan horse to implement the permanent closer-by-committee, i.e. the sensible bullpen. Billy Beane and Bob Melvin are evil geniuses.

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  • April 18, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    David Roth on the particulars of Eric Young's therapist.

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  • April 18, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    "But I firmly believe baseball is better with fewer player ejections and fewer old man histrionics on the field." Well said, Jack Moore.

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  • April 12, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    I don't want to react with too much triumphalism because I hope Sam Fuld gets a major-league job and I'll feel bad for my fellow human being if he doesn't, but I'm just glad the A's stuck with Josh Reddick despite 31 bad plate appearances over keeping Fuld now that Craig Gentry is back.

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  • April 10, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    The A's moved quicker to take the ninth inning away from Jim Johnson than I thought they would. All hail the closer committee!

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  • April 10, 2014 at 2:22 AM

    The A's had a rhubarb tonight, which they don't do very frequently but which they seem to do only in close or important games. Jane Lee's best quote in her story is definitely the one from Bob Melvin at the end. I also like the Rashomon aspect of Donaldson's version of the events compared to Perkins'.

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  • April 10, 2014 at 2:16 AM

    I'm 100% any movement to get Derek Norris more playing time, but in my opinion it has to push John Jaso to DH, not the bench. I just can't see any argument for lefty Callaspo over Jaso.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    I don't usually post actual minor-league news here, but Addison Russell missing at least a month of what is supposed to be his final warm-up for the big leagues is a pretty big deal.

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  • April 9, 2014 at 1:24 AM

    /Josh Reddick puts up 2.7 WAR in 2013 /fans demand Reddick be sent down because he isn't producing

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  • April 8, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    The A's are 15th in this week's ESPN Power Ranking. My blurb is about Jim Johnson and is not very well written.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 2:32 AM

    Guhhh, so the "let's option Josh Reddick" stuff has been given the SuSlu stamp of approval? I just hope the front office knows as well as the rest of us that this is all over Sam Fuld.

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  • April 8, 2014 at 2:26 AM

    If it were anyone but Jed Lowrie (okay, or Coco Crisp), this bruised leg from a hit-by-pitch wouldn't even be a concern. But hey, his name is Jed Lowrie. Who knew?

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  • April 8, 2014 at 2:22 AM

    To make sure we're all on the same page, Coco Crisp missed a day after getting a cortisone shot in his left (glove) wrist. I've hurt my glove wrist before. Squeezing the glove is a mother.

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  • April 4, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Bryan Murphy has requested that I call him a dick, so here we are.

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  • April 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Am I still laughing about the A's signing Joe Blanton? Yep! (Even if it is a minor-league deal.)

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  • April 1, 2014 at 2:33 AM

    A good roundup by RJ Anderson of some 25-man roster randos. ($)

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  • March 31, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    This is good perspective on the Trout extension, particularly the idea that he should have gotten more.

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  • March 31, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    The first ESPN MLB power ranking of the year is out. The A's clock in eighth.

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  • March 31, 2014 at 1:42 AM

    This is a test of posting from the iPad and Dropbox.

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  • March 30, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    I'd been hoping an Effectively Wild listener would examine the win-total predictions by the season-preview guests. This one did. Superb.

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  • March 29, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    I made a guest appearance at Baseball Prospectus, previewing the AL West with RJ Anderson.

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  • March 26, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    A collection of the best stories by and about Brandon Moss. I love it. The Jed Lowrie one especially -- he talks about "Sugar Salt Fat"! These Stanford guys, man.

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  • March 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    Jack Moore's reaction to that weird nonsense faux-analytics piece in ESPN the Magazine.

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