Links
  • November 25, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    DAN KANTROVITZ HAS COME BACK

    TO OAKLAND

    « »
  • November 24, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    On the one hand, Ike Davis isn't all that good at hitting baseballs relative to what major-league first basemen are supposed to do.

    On the other, neither was Brandon Moss before he came to Oakland (and Davis' major-league stat line is a damn sight better than Moss' was).

    On the other other, Moss can play the outfield, while Davis is limited to first base. Also on this same hand, Moss came on a minor-league deal while Davis, if he stays, will cost something in the low- or mid-seven figures.

    Is a deal coming? Probably, in the sense that with Billy Beane there's always a deal coming. Does this acquisition necessarily mean that a deal is coming with Josh Reddick or Brandon Moss or John Jaso? Not neces-- okay, actually, looking at the roster and looking at the fact that it might be pretty silly to give up anything of value (and losing $270,000 in international slot value is something), it probably is fair to guess that a trade with one of those players is more likely than a trade of Josh Donaldson or, I don't know, Nate Freiman.

    « »
  • November 16, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    Joel Sherman tosses out $4 million as the kind of dollar figure Stephen Drew might have to settle for. If that's true, then I'd very much desire the A's to be the team that gives him that $4 million (or even that the A's be the team that calls him and says "we're offering $5.5 right now, take it or else we'll move on and you'll wind up getting $4 somewhere else later") because by our best understandings, $4 million (or $5.5 million) is well under what teams are paying for a win above replacement on the free-agent market these days, and as utterly crummy as Drew was in 2014 with the bat, he's probably still an adequate fielder and I would bet he can put up something like a 90 OPS+, and as unexciting as all that is, it's not clear what the A's other options are going to be.

    « »
  • November 14, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Chris St. John has been building a minor-league stats system called JAVIER for a while now. The goal is to find a stats-only approach that can given a rough idea of how likely that player is to succeed in the majors. To be clear, St. John does not pretend, and we should not pretend, that this approach, or any stats-only approach, can replace scouting. The value, I think, in a system like this is to compare what the stats system says to what scouts say, perhaps to supplement the scouts, perhaps to find overlooked players whose tools don't excite anyone but who keep producing numbers such that we might expect them to produce in the majors notwithstanding no Troutian physical abilities.

    So what's at the link is JAVIER's top 25 A's under the age of 25 as rated by JAVIER. Note that this includes some established major-leaguers (Derek Norris, Jarrod Parker) but does not include their major-league stats. So Norris is at the top of the heap even without accounting for the fact that he's got a career .274 True Average and 43.6 VORP already in the majors.

    Anyway, take a gander and keep it in mind as Matt Olson, Daniel Robertson and Renato Nunez make their way up the chain.

    « »
  • November 4, 2014 at 11:53 PM

    Farhan Zaidi, who had been with the A's for the last 10 years (and who thus just postdates Moneyball), has been stolen away by the Dodgers with a flashy title (general manager), presumably more salary (as befits both said flashy title and the fact that they're the Dodgers), and a whole new type of challenge (spending gobs of money wisely and making the playoffs basically every year because if you spend $220 million on payroll you'd damn well better). Zaidi becomes, as far as I know, the first general manager in baseball history with a PhD (in economics, from Berkeley). He also becomes, of interest in a different way, the first Muslim general manager.

    The former is intriguing if a bit concerning in terms of the continuing Wall Street-ization of baseball, though it raises fun trivia questions

    while the latter is a legitimately positive step in American culture, and one that hopefully augurs other demographic breakthroughs (first openly gay, first female, etc. etc. etc.) in coming years.

    Zaidi had been the A's Director of Baseball Operations for many years, and recently had the title "Assistant General Manager" added, presumably with a concomitant pay increase, and presumably as part of an effort to keep him from being stolen away by teams eager to lure him by offering a promotion from Ops to AGM. Susan Slusser reports:

    It’s unclear if the A’s would move immediately to replace Zaidi, especially considering that longtime A’s assistant general manager David Forst, Beane’s heir apparent, remains in place.

    It's also unclear whether the A's have anyone in-house who could move up a level. On their front office page, they have a Baseball Operations Analyst, Michael Schatz, but he is quite young, so it's anyone's guess whether he's someone who could be elevated to the Director role. (The obvious rejoinder: we're seeing sub-30 GMs these days, so who's to say what "young" even is anymore.)

    It's a lot of guesswork, all of this, including the guesswork of how Zaidi will do in LA and how the A's will do without him. That he was successful in his job is clear from the fact that, without any particular obvious baseball connections (which is to say that he didn't play at a high level), he lasted 10 years in a front office, but GMing, even under Andrew Friedman, is another kettle of fish. Was he doing work that won't be easily replicated by the next man down the line such that the A's will lose some percentage of their ability to field a competitive team for bottom dollar? Who knows! Even the A's probably don't really know because assessment metrics for front-office jobs aren't exactly obvious.

    So we'll twiddle our thumbs some more the rest of this winter and hope the A's do fine. And here's what I really hope: that if the A's win in 2015, nobody says "see Chip and Chili and Zaidi and Geaney, who cares, big deal" and if the A's lose in 2015, nobody says, "oh goddddd why'd they let Chip and Chili and Zaidi and Geaney go, cheap bastards cost us the playoffs!" There are too many variables.

    « »
  • November 3, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    This counts as old, but Baseball America ran lists per minor league level of the top defensive center fielders as measured by, basically, range factor. Billy Burns does very well, ranking behind only Washington's Michael Taylor among Double-A players and behind just Taylor and the Rockies' David Dahl overall.

    Baseball Prospectus calculates Fielding Runs Above Average for minor leaguers and rated Burns at +8.5 in Midland, so the adjustments that go into FRAA don't make us think any less of Burns than his range factor does.

    « »
  • November 2, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    Susan Slusser has a report on Jed Lowrie's situation with the A's, which boils down to, "It's been fun, Jed, good luck at the next stop." Which was predictable, I guess, even if we were all twiddling our thumbs wondering what kind of odds to put on the A's making a qualifying offer to Lowrie. At $15 million, though, and with the way the QO has been destroying the market for players of his caliber (i.e. not the superstars), there's a real chance he'd accept the offer. That's great from the perspective of "now we have a shortstop" but it's not great from basically any other perspective -- even if $15 million represented a reasonable market value for his services (and it's probably a little high), the A's can't pay national market value for wins and expect to have that add up to enough to get them into the playoffs.

    Slusser has some thoughts about where to get a shortstop now, including the oft-mentioned Stephen Drew, an unnamed Cub, or a Diamondback. Slusser asserts that the Cubs have depth at the position, which is true in the sense that they have Starlin Castro and Javier Baez and Addison Russell, and they do have weakness in their starting rotation (at least until they sign Jon Lester this winter), but what does that leave the A's doing, sending them Jeff Samardzija? I don't see it.

    The Diamondbacks probably present a more intriguing possibility because they could make Cliff Pennington or Didi Gregorius available, leaving themselves with Chris Owings plus whoever they don't trade to man the middle infield, along with Nick Ahmed. Neither Pennington nor Gregorius should cost what Castro/Baez/Russell would cost in trade, which is fortunate because the A's don't have anything left in their farm system.

    Or, hey, there's always Nick Punto.

    « »
  • November 1, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Eric Chavez is a special-assignment scout with the Yankees now. It makes me a little sad that it's not with the A's, but that's irrational because it's not like his scouting for the A's or the Yankees would have anything other than a marginal effect on my fan experience, and whatever effect it did have would be largely invisible to me. They don't put scouts on TV, at least as long as they're not buying ice cream for players.

    « »
  • November 1, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    The word is, yet again, that Howie Kendrick is on the block. Kendrick has been a quietly above-average player for nine years now, with a career True Average of .270, with a season low of .256 and a high of .290. Which is to say that you know exactly what you've gotten from Kendrick since 2006, but it's also to say that he's 31 now, and you start thinking about how second basemen sometimes get hurt and how good players fall off the table once the clock rolls over into the 3's.

    On the other hand, he's got just one year left on his contract, at just shy of $10 million, so a trade for him would not require a major financial commitment, and in particular would not require the multiyear commitment that the A's seem so incapable of/unwilling to put on their books.

    It's no secret that second base was a weak spot for the A's, especially offensively: by True Average, the .228 mark Oakland second basemen posted was the worst by 23 points, with shortstop's .251 the second-worst. More relevantly, the only teams with worse production from second base were Baltimore (Jonathan Schoop), the White Sox (Gordon Beckham), and Colorado (DJ LeMahieu). There is, in other words, room for an upgrade.

    The questions are whether (a) the A's should spend whatever resources they have upgrading second base as opposed to other positions (shortstop, notably, assuming Lowrie doesn't come back via accepting the qualifying offer, or assuming Lowrie does come back but plays second base) and (b) whether the A's even have enough to get Kendrick. Not every team needs Kendrick, but a potential deal with the Dodgers last season was going to revolve around Zach Lee, as pointed out in the link, and Lee was ranked by Baseball Prospectus as their no. 84 prospect before the season. If the A's have anyone that good, it's Daniel Robertson, who MLB.com ranked no. 85 in its most recent list, but are the A's willing to trade the last really good prospect they have for one year of Howie Kendrick? Do the Angels even want a shortstop when other teams will be offering pitching?

    In short: it would be neat, but don't expect anything to happen.

    « »
  • October 31, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    I don't see any reason at all to pay Billy Butler 1/8 of the team's payroll to mash lefties on a roster where Nate Freiman and Kyle Blanks already exist, and in a world where lefty-mashing sluggos come practically free. The A's should not, after all, be on the market for a full-time DH, not with John Jaso (hopefully), Brandon Moss, and Stephen Vogt all around to fill the long end of the 1B/DH platoon.

    « »
  • October 31, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    The A's added Tyler Ladendorf to the 40-man roster today. Ladendorf is a middle infielder of little repute who the A's got from the Twins way back in the Orlando Cabrera trade. His 2010-13 batting numbers are pretty pitiful, his OBP topping out at .328 in that span and the SLG at .381, but he turned it up a notch in 2014, hitting .297/.376/.407, though he played just 78 games because of a midsummer drug-of-abuse suspension. Still, he would be a minor-league free agent if the A's didn't add him to the 40-man, and he probably showed just enough at a weak position for the A's for them not to want to have to compete with other teams over a minor-league contract.

    Meanwhile, the A's also claimed Andrew Brown from the Mets. He's a theoretical lefty-masher, though even against them he's managed just a .229/.300/.375 major-league line in 160 career PAs over four years. He has flat-out crushed the ball at Triple-A, though, compiling a .298/.380/.555 line over those same four years, though it's worth noting that three of those seasons were spent in Las Vegas (2) and Colorado Springs (1), which are fantastic places to hit. Still, as minor-league sluggers who might show up and do something weird in 100 emergency PAs go, I'm not unhappy to have him, and it's not like it'll hurt me overmuch when/if the team DFAs him to make room for the next guy. Which may well happen in a month, who knows.

    « »
  • October 30, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    I wouldn't normally do a Beaneball post about the retirement of someone who never played for the A's or has any particular real connection to the A's except of course that Kevin Youkilis plays a bigger part than any other non-Athletic in Moneyball and as we all know nobody thinks about the A's without thinking "Moneyball" so we may as well cover Moneyball-related news just the same as we do A's-related news.

    In any event, I vote that Oakland hire Youkilis as AZL hitting coach when everyone else gets bumped up a level due to the elevation of Marcus Jensen.

    « »
  • October 30, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    So after all the rumors and courting of other teams' hitting coaches, the A's are going to fill their remaining coaching vacancy/vacancies from within. The names:

    • Darren Bush moves from bullpen coach to hitting coach;
    • Marcus Jensen moves from roving hitting instructor in the minors to assistant hitting coach and catching coach; and
    • Scott Emerson moves from roving pitching instructor to bullpen coach.

    That's one coach out (Chili Davis) and two in (Jensen and Emerson) -- the extra space comes from Ariel Prieto not being retained, which makes sense given that, while he was a coach, his main role was as interpreter for Yoenis Cespedes.

    Googling "catching coach" turns up a number of teams who have someone listed in that role: Bill Lachemann in Anaheim, Steve Yeager in Los Angeles, Pedro Grifol in Kansas City. I don't think all of those are dugout coaches though -- teams are only allowed seven uniformed coaches, so when you start counting (batting, asst. batting, first base, third base, bench, pitching, bullpen) you see how you're either going to have to forego that assistant hitting coach or someone's going to pull double duty.

    Of course, double duty is hardly unheard of, especially since base coaching only takes up so much of your time. Ron Washington was always more important to the A's as their infield defense coach than as a third base coach, for instance. And on the other hand, the manager (an ex-catcher, of course, as so many are) just has too much going on, dealing with the front office and the media, keeping track of how his entire roster is doing mentally and physically, figuring out lineups and days off for hitters and who's available out of the bullpen. You can't count on him having time to do blocking drills and pitch-framing practice with the catchers on top of that.

    On the other hand, how important is it to have a guy named "catching coach" in the dugout in-game? Hitting coaches help with mechanics but they also, at least in theory, can help with preparation, scouting reports, plans of attack, adjustments, and so forth. When a reliever comes in midgame, the hitting coach should be a resource. The same doesn't apply as well to a catching coach, so it makes sense to have that person either be nonuniformed or fill multiple roles. The A's have decided to roll with the latter.

    I'm not going to read too much into the hiring (promotion) of a catching coach in the aftermath of Derek Norris' defensive struggles -- he's always been known as a bat-first player, and the entire basis of his prospect status was that he hit like a third baseman, had a strong arm, and ... kinda needed work at the other stuff. All of that appears to remain true. So the question is whether the A's are basically just sick of it and want to take their 26-year-old almost-catcher and make something out of him? Or is it that Jensen is an ex-catcher, so what the hell, let's turn the catching coaching over to him? My guess is that it's more the latter, though I'll listen to evidence the other way.

    Anyway, so, Darren Bush you know as a well-regarded minor league manager who the A's plucked out of independent league managing to be the hitting coach in Stockton back in 2005. Manager in 2007, Double-A in 2009, Triple-A in 2011, bullpen coach in 2013, and now hitting coach. One suspects he will shortly be a bench coach candidate quite soon, and a good managerial candidate not long after that. He's still only 40. Fun fact: He started his playing career in the independent leagues as a center fielder in the Frontier League before the Padres signed him in 2009.

    Marcus Jensen was a first round sandwich pick in 1999 and wound up with 145 major-league games over seven years, but with a .184/.287/.289 batting line. He's an Oakland guy with a career 13 percent walk rate in the minors but, despite standing 6-foot-4, apparently did not have the power you need to keep pitchers honest in the big leagues. He finished his career with two years in the independent Golden Baseball League before joining the A's as a minor-league coach in 2007. He's been in the organization ever since.

    Finally, Scott Emerson was a 40th-round pick in 1991 who pitched six years in organized ball but didn't get past Double-A. He went to the same high school as Curt Schilling. He's been with the A's since 2002 after two years as a low-minors pitching coach in the Pittsburgh organization.

    One interesting note is that because of the A's tendencies in recent years to acquire every single one of their players by either trade or free agency, few members of the current roster played any of these three coaches. The full list appears to be:

    • Josh Donaldson, managed by Bush in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012;
    • Brandon Moss, managed by Bush in 2012
    • Derek Norris, managed by Bush in 2012
    • Eric Sogard, managed by Bush in 2011 and 2012
    • Sonny Gray, managed by Bush in 2012
    • Sean Doolittle, managed by Bush in 2008 and very briefly in 2012
    • Evan Scribner, managed by Bush in 2012
    • A.J. Griffin, managed briefly by Jensen in 2010, and pitching coached and managed by Emerson and Bush briefly in 2011 and partially in 2012

    On other teams, Darren Bush might have his fingerprints on various players on the roster, but not here. Not that it means anything, in terms of a value judgment -- three playoff trips in three years says what you need to know about the A's team-building. (Though the likely fallow period coming may say something as well.)

    « »
  • October 29, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Here's Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors with a lengthy look at how the A's offseason could shake out. Maybe Asdrubal Cabrera! That'd be neat. (Not really. Not very neat.)

    « »
  • October 27, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    Mike Aldrete, who has been the Cardinals' bench coach for a few years, will take the same position with the A's. One doubts that Oakland is paying him more, but he's from my neck of the woods (born in Carmel, went to Monterey High School, son was born in Salinas and went to Monterey Peninsula College, where my mom got her AA -- I went to "rival" Seaside High) so apparently the return to northern California is a big deal for him.

    « »
  • October 23, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    It sounds like the A's are being as closed-mouthed as always, but that the list of possible next hitting coaches is basically just Dave Hansen and Dave Magadan. I have no commentary for all the reasons I've already stated.

    UPDATE:

    So welcome to Oakland, Dave Hansen!

    And if not, I have no idea!

    « »
  • October 19, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    Our main man John Hickey has some more names who might be candidates to replace the departed Chili Davis: Rick Schu (Nationals), Kevin Seitzer (Blue Jays), Paul Molitor (Twins), Marcus Jensen, Greg Sparks and Webster Garrison (all A's minor-league coaches). Hickey mentions the former three because they were all hitting coaches under Bob Melvin in the past. In other words, it appears that Hickey is speculating, not reporting, but sometimes (not just with Hickey), it's hard to tell.

    Anyway, Hickey also notes that "With the hiring of a new manager, Jeff Bannister, all Rangers coaches have been told they are free to explore other options," so that explains the Dave Magadan part. Though it isn't clear what would happen to Magadan if he didn't get a job elsewhere. Is "free to explore" = "we're not renewing your contract"?

    « »
  • October 19, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Susan Slusser's story about Chili Davis vacating Oakland mentions two possible replacements: Dave Magadan, currently in Texas, and Dave Hansen, in Anaheim. The latter could stay put if he gets the top job for the Angels, which would presumably happen if Don Baylor retires or takes a less demanding job due to his health issues. Magadan has interviewed around, so it's not clear what his place is in Texas -- are they nudging him out the door, is Jeff Banister looking to bring in his own guy, or are they happy to have him back if Texas is where he wants to be?

    In this space is where at other blogs you might find stats about how the Angels and Rangers hit in 2014 and maybe in years past, but, like I said, I don't care. So no stats.

    « »
  • October 7, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    Questions persist about John Jaso's future defensive home mainly because of now-repeated concussions, but the A's should have been asking the questions all along because of his astoundingly poor defense behind the plate. As I've said before, it doesn't take advanced metrics to see his defensive habits that surely drive his coaches mad: the wiggling around behind the plate, the stabbing at the ball, the inability to hold a still target and let the ball softly meet it. That it's taken concussions to force him from behind the plate is sad on a personal level, but baseball isn't losing another Maueresque defensive wizard to the tragedies of brain injury.

    And by the way, I would heavily discount any idea that Jaso suffers particularly at DH. There does appear to be a DH penalty (though debates remain about the extent to which such can be blamed on managers giving half days off to tired or injured players vs. something intrinsically more difficult about DHing itself, even as there are perfectly good reasons for the latter to be true), but Jaso having a poor year at DH doesn't mean he's more susceptible to it for sone reason (though I don't doubt that there are players whose ability to DH is impaired more than average) -- we need more evidence, probably more than we can ever hope to gather.

    « »
  • October 3, 2014 at 12:55 AM

    Mike Petriello at FanGraphs has a good look at some of the questions the A's will face in the offseason.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.)

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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).

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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!

    « »
  • 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).

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.)

    « »
  • August 31, 2014 at 10:04 PM

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

    « »
  • August 31, 2014 at 3:02 PM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • August 29, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    Hey, guess who's hurt again?

    « »
  • 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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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?

    « »
  • 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.)

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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).

    « »
  • 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?

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • July 7, 2014 at 9:37 AM

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

    « »
  • July 7, 2014 at 9:31 AM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • June 28, 2014 at 10:29 AM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • June 19, 2014 at 10:29 PM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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."

    « »
  • 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.)

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • June 8, 2014 at 11:05 AM

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

    « »
  • June 7, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    Agent Joshua Kusnick recounts some post-draft negotiations.

    « »
  • June 6, 2014 at 6:27 PM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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?)

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.)

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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."

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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?))

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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."

    « »
  • May 20, 2014 at 8:28 AM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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!

    « »
  • 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++++.

    « »
  • May 17, 2014 at 12:17 AM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • May 4, 2014 at 10:54 PM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • May 2, 2014 at 10:04 PM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • April 18, 2014 at 10:09 PM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • April 18, 2014 at 1:05 AM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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!

    « »
  • 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'.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • 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?

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • April 4, 2014 at 1:24 PM

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

    « »
  • 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.)

    « »
  • April 1, 2014 at 2:33 AM

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

    « »
  • March 31, 2014 at 9:37 PM

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

    « »
  • March 31, 2014 at 8:53 AM

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

    « »
  • March 31, 2014 at 1:42 AM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • March 29, 2014 at 12:00 AM

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

    « »
  • 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.

    « »
  • March 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM

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

    « »