Ryan LaMarre and Cesar Valdez in; Rajai Davis (briefly) and Raul Alcantara out

Posted by Jason Wojciechowski on April 25, 2017 at 8:00 PM

The A's made a couple of roster adjustments at the edges prior to opening their series against the Mike Trouts in Anaheim:

  • Rajai Davis has hit the disabled list because of the hamstring strain that's already kept him out of the lineup for the last few days. Because of retroactivity and the fact that it's a 10-day disabled list (still weird, but a good weird) means he can come back May 2. I think. Depending on whether that's the 10th day or ... whatever, I'll let the mathematicians do the heavy calculations.
  • In his place, the A's called up Ryan LaMarre, who was just acquired a few days ago from the Angels to bolster their outfield depth.
  • Cesar Valdez has returned to the roster as a long reliever; he was just optioned, but he's technically taking Davis' roster spot, so he can come back to the majors without waiting out his 10 days you normally have to be in the minors after an option.
  • To make room for Valdez on the 25-man, Raul Alcantara, who doesn't have any options, was designated for assignment. One would guess he will be relatively promptly waived. It's anybody's guess whether he will be claimed.

With Jaff Decker a left-hander starting in center in Davis' absence, it's a fair-guess that LaMarre will be his platoon partner against any lefties the A's happen to face in the next week. He could also theoretically give Matt Joyce a rest against a lefty, or pinch-hit for Stephen Vogt, Yonder Alonso, or Joyce against a late-game lefty, although in the cases of Vogt or Joyce, I'd probably rather just have them take the at-bat than give it to a guy whose bat is a little light to be a consistent major-leaguer. Even for Alonso, he's hitting .292/.370/.563 in the early going this year, and while anyone can hit for 54 plate appearances, he looks, without digging too hard into this, like he's swinging out of his ass; normally you wouldn't say that's a good thing, but we're talking about a first baseman whose lack of power was on the verge of driving him out of the league entirely, so he may as well sell out for power and see if it works; it's not like anything else was.

Oh, and there's also Matt Olson, another lefty, on the bench and presumably getting the occasional start; he's another one where I'd rather just have him take the at-bat against the lefty, with the added developmental rationale on top of the question of who the better hitter is.

In any event, all that adds up to LaMarre not being of much use on offense. On defense, though, he's probably a useful late-game sub for Joyce, Olson, or Khris Davis, since none of those three are what you'd call defensive savants. (Decker can serve the same role on the days he doesn't start, or he can play center late and push LaMarre to a corner, depending on how Bob Melvin et al. view the relative defensive abilities in question and the value of in-game continuity at a position.)

On the pitching side, it's a little sad to see Raul Alcantara already at the "DFA'd because he's out of options and he's not good enough to stick around as the seventh or eighth or ninth man in the bullpen" stage of his career. It's weird to be out of options at 24, but that's what happens when you sign at 16, then lose a year-plus to Tommy John surgery. He's young enough that this might not be all that he is or ever will be, but we're also talking about a guy whose bat-missing was light all the way up the chain: his best single-season K/9 was 7.1 at two levels of A-ball in 2013. He worked his way to the majors by limiting walks, but if he can't replicate at the highest level some version of what he did in the minors, he's just going to bounce around as a ninth starter/11th reliever until he gets bored of that and heads off into the sunset.