Tag:Vin Mazzaro
Posted on: August 12, 2009 3:06 am
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Shaping the 2010 Roster for the Oakland Athletics


Players That Will Be Free Agents Following the Season:
Of the following players, I'd only attempt to bring back Adam Kennedy. Like Bobby Crosby, Kennedy can play every infield position. Unlike Bobby Crosby, Kennedy can actually hit the ball. Kennedy is having a career year for the A's, but I don't think he'll be in that high of demand on the open market. With second basemen such as Mark DeRosa , Felipe Lopez , Orlando Hudson , and Placido Polanco on the market, Kennedy is going to have a hard time getting a starting gig. If the A's could resign him to a one year deal for perhaps 1.5 Million with a club option (2.5 million) for 2011, that would be ideal. Looking at the other guys here, Bobby Crosby has an ego problem and needs to go. The A's would get a "type B" compensation pick if they offered arbitration to Justin Duchscherer, but I am inclined to believe Duchscherer would accept which would bring him back to Oakland for around 5.5-6 million on a one year deal. It's too big of a risk imo. As for Garciaparra, while he can still hit, he can no longer play the field. Let him retire.

The Following Players Will Be Arbitration Eligible Next Season:
*Devine is 1 day short of service time to be eligible. Since he didn't play this year and was hurt, I'm not sure what happens here. He was already a super 2 player. I'm wondering if he'll be a super super 2 or if the he'll enter arbitration. If he enters arbitration, he'll make about 1 million next season. If not, the A's will pay him league minimum.

Of the other players listed above, the only guy I would non-tender is Santiago Casilla. There is no point paying him a million dollars or more to not produce. If the A's still want to sign him afterwards for a lesser price, so be it, but he shouldn't be given the option to enter arbitration. Assuming the other players are kept, following the 60-80-60 scaling, Cust will make about 5 million, Wuertz about 2 million, while Davis, Devine, and Eveland will make around 1 million.

What does this mean?

The A's have a base salary next year, not including arbitration players, of 19.25 million. Adding in the five players above, that raises payroll to 29.25 million. If the A's were to have the same opening day payroll as they did this season, they'd have 33 million to spend on the open market. It's not likely they'll spend it, but it's worth noting. Also worth noting is that another 18 million (from the contracts of Chavez and Ellis) come off the books after 2010 giving the A's a ton of money to spend on their current team.

Now what does the Roster look like next year? Let's take a look at positions...


Catchers: Kurt Suzuki , Landon Powell , Josh Donaldson , Max Stassi


Suzuki has the job locked and has been one of the A's key producers. The only way he loses his job is if a freak injury happened. Landon Powell has been a solid backup all year long, both offensively and defensively. I often wish Bob Geren would play Powell and sit Suzuki more often as it would probably help the ballclub all together, but it will never happen. Donaldson is posting good numbers in AA and will be in AAA to start next season. I don't know what the long term plan is with him though as the A's catchers on their major league roster are already very young. As for Stassi, he's the future. Just drafted out of Yuba City high, Stassi has yet to be signed, but if he does, he could be the A's starting catcher in four to five years. The team has until August 17th to sign him.

First Basemen: Tommy Everidge , Daric Barton , Sean Doolittle , Chris Carter

Carter is obviously the future of the ballclub, but there is no point rushing him up to the major leagues. Carter is guaranteed to be the Texas League MVP this season and has a chance at the league Triple Crown. He will start next season in AAA. Everidge has been decent since taking over everyday for Jason Giambi, though nothing spectacular. He should get his opportunity to show what he has for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, the A's 2008 starting first basemen, Daric Barton, should also be in the mix for a job during spring training. It doesn't do any good sending Barton to AAA as the team probably doesn't want to take at bats away from Chris Carter. At the very least, Barton should be held as a reserve, the same way Nomar Garciaparra is being held now. Sean Doolittle has been hurt for most of this season, but should get an opportunity to prove himself as well next year. It's basically a logjam of mediocre players until Carter shows up.

Second Basemen: Mark Ellis , Eric Patterson , Adrian Cardenas , Jemile Weeks

Ellis' job is locked at the start of next season, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him moved halfway through the year next season. Eric Patterson was promised by Bob Geren that he was going to get every opportunity to succeed after Matt Holliday was traded, only for Patterson to be sent down after receiving minimal playing time. Adrian Cardenas tore the cover off of pitches in AA this year, but has struggled a lot since being promoted to Sacramento. Meanwhile, 2008 first round draft choice, Jemile Weeks, just keeps hitting the ball and could leapfrog Cardenas should he continue to struggle at the start of next season.


Shortstop: Cliff Pennington , Corey Wimberly , Grant Green

This is where the A's lack the most depth. Cliff Pennington is being given every opportunity to win the starting job for next year and has impressed so far in a short time frame. However, if his production falls off, I could see the A's turning to the free agent market. The A's let it be known that they might consider bringing back Orlando Cabrera . Other free agent options at the position include two former Athletics , Miguel Tejada and Marco Scutaro . The A's have Gregorio Petit at shortstop in Sacramento, but aren't keen on him playing everyday. Corey Wimberley is the shortstop in Midland, but he's made six error in 23 games at the position. Meanwhile, Grant Green, the A's first round selection this past year, has still yet to sign. Even if he did sign though, the soonest Green would reach the majors would be late 2011 or 2012.

Third Basemen: Eric Chavez , Brett Wallace, ?

I really don't want Brett Wallace to be "handed" the starting job at third base next year. Wallace is a good talent, but needs to work on his game both offensively and defensively. He's been just "okay" since arriving in Sacramento, but not great. I want a great hitter to emerge, not an average guy. If anyone can challenge Wallace for the job out of spring training it would probably be beneficial to the A's. The team cannot count on Eric Chavez being healthy, which is also why an Adam Kennedy resigning would make more sense. Let Wallace earn his way to the big leagues and supplant whoever we have instead of just handing him the spot like the team did with Daric Barton in 2008. Wallace was just drafted a year ago. There is no reason to rush him to the show either. This area needs to be addressed.

Left Fielders: Scott Hairston , Aaron Cunningham , Travis Buck

The A's aren't going to give up Sean Gallagher and Craig Italiano for a bench player. Hairston is here to be a permanent fixture for the A's and is under control through 2011. Cunningham will probably get some opportunities to play, but probably in right field rather than left. Travis Buck is in management's doghouse and I expect him to sit in AAA and rot, much the same way Brad Halsey did a few years back.




Center Fielders: Rajai Davis, Eric Patterson, Ryan Sweeney

I'm willing to give Rajai a chance as long as he keeps hitting and stealing bases. His play this year has been good so far. Eric Patterson is a player I can see the A's using in a backup role as he can play all outfield positions and second base. He'll probably never start though. Meanwhle Ryan Sweeney will probably start next season in right field again....for now.




Right Fielders: Ryan Sweeney, Aaron Cunningham, Travis Buck

Sweeney is a solid defender, but hits for far too little power to be a permanent fixture in right field. He belongs either in centerfield or on the bench which means the A's will soon have to choose between Sweeney and Rajai Davis. Cunningham has 20 home run pop, but has yet to hit for average at the major league level. If he finds his swing, Sweeney could be bumped elsewhere. Again Travis Buck is in the doghouse, so don't expect him to be called up anytime soon. There isn't any outfielder in AAA that I expect to be a significant factor next year, however, Midland has some solid producers in the outfield this year and they could make their way to Oakland by the second half of next season.

Designated Hitter: Jack Cust

There really isn't another position for him. He can't play first base and he's terrible in the outfield. Fortunately for him, no one else with terrible defense on the A's can mash so he has this job locked up. He has underperformed at all aspects of the game this season. Hopefully he'll bounce back next year though. The A's have him under control through 2011.





Starting Rotation: Dallas Braden , Brett Anderson , Trevor Cahill , Gio Gonzalez , Vin Mazzaro , James Simmons, Josh Outman , Clayton Mortensen



The A's will probably feature the same starting rotation next season as they did this year. Hopefully, their young pitchers will continue to develop and get better. Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez have really found their stuff as of late while Cahill and Mazzaro have struggled at times. Braden has been an achor at the front of the staff and as the veteran of the group, is under controll through 2013. James Simmons has had a rough year this season and will probably need to head back to the minors. Josh Outman, who performed well this season before undergoing Tommy John Surgery, may or may not be back next year. Clayton Mortensen needs more work as well, but could find himself in the mix later on.

Closer: Andrew Bailey , Joey Devine, Brad Ziegler

My assumption is that the closers role is Bailey's to lose. However, having him and Devine in the 8th and 9th inning makes for one scary combo.






2010 Top 10 Prospects

Note: My opinion only listed here
  1. 1B Chris Carter (pictured above)
  2. 3B Brett Wallace
  3. 2B Jemile Weeks
  4. OF Aaron Cunningham
  5. 2B Adrian Cardenas
  6. SS Grant Green
  7. RHP Michael Ynoa
  8. OF Grant Desme
  9. C Josh Donaldson
  10. OF Corey Brown
Best Hitter for Average: Adrian Cardenas
Best Power Hitter: Chris Carter
Best Strike Zone Discipline: Josh Donaldson
Fastest Baserunner: Corey Wimberly
Best Athlete: Rashun Dixon
Best Fastball: Henry Rodriguez
Best Curveball: Justin Marks
Best Slider: Henry Rodriguez
Best Changeup: Anthony Capra
Best Control: Mickey Storey
Best Defensive Catcher: Josh Donaldson
Best Defensive Infielder: Adrian Cardenas
Best Infield Arm: Dusty Coleman
Best Defensive Outfielder: Grant Desme
Best Outfield Arm: Shane Peterson

Posted on: July 14, 2009 3:41 am
 

A's Midseason Report Card

2009 Record: 37-49, 4th Place in American League West
Offensive Grade: F
Defensive Grade: D
Starting Pitching Grade: B-
Bullpen Pitching Grade: B-
Managerial Grade: F
Front Office Grade: F
Overall Midseason Grade: D+

The A's entered 2009 as a darkhorse candidate to win the division. Now, at the halfway point, the team is a darkhorse candidate for the worst record in the American league. 2009 marks the first time in the past decade that the A's have entered the All-Star break with a record below .500. Offensively, the team has been a complete mess. Once again, Eric Chavez has found himself sidelined for the entire season, while the new free agent acquisitions have disappointed thus far. Even Matt Holliday , who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Rockies , has gotten off to a slow start and there are now questions as to whether or not the A's will be able to get what they want in return in a midseason deal. Defensively, the A's have struggled, mainly because injuries to gold glove caliber players in Chavez and Mark Ellis . However, this can also be attributed to manager Bob Geren for starting Jack Cust in right field in many games thus far. The starting pitching has shown signs of promise. Trevor Cahill , Brett Anderson , and Vin Mazzaro , already christened "the new big three", have looked brilliant at times....and other times have shown their lack of experience. Dallas Braden has been one of the best pitchers in the American League this season, but a lack of run support has failed to earn him recognition. So has Josh Outman , but he became the third A's player to fall victim to Tommy John Surgery this offseason. The bullpen was very good at the beginning of the year, but has started falter down the stretch, mainly from being used far too much. Michael Wuertz and Andrew Bailey have been the two bright spots though. As for manager Bob Geren, he looks lost. He refuses to let starters work deep into games, has failed to play the matchups correctly, and shows no confidence in his team. If he wasn't Billy Beane's best man at his second wedding, he might be the second manager to be fired this season. Speaking of Billy Beane , he has completely mishandled the farm system all year long and his trade for Scott Hairston is questionable. It's been a rough first half for the A's.

First Half MVP: Andrew Bailey - Closer

After trading Huston Street in the offseason and seeing Joey Devine fall victim to Tommy John Surgery, many that follow the A's were wondering who would step up and take over the role of the teams closer. Andrew Bailey answered that question. Since being selected as the last reliever to make the A's bullpen out of spring training, Bailey has forced everyone around baseball to take notice of him. He is the only rookie to be selected for the All-Star Game in St. Louis and is the A's lone representative. No one could dare say Bailey isn't deserving though. Bailey leads all American League Relievers in innings pitched and strikeouts and is 4th among American League Closers with a 1.92 era. Bailey features a mid 90's fastball, a curveball, and a cutter that does its best impression of Yankees future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera .

Apologies to: Adam Kennedy, Kurt Suzuki, Dallas Braden

First Half LVP: Jason Giambi - First Basemen

If the Jason Giambi that the A's had on their team mirrored anything close to the young guy in the picture to the right, the A's were going to get a bargain in the offseason. Unfortunately, what they ended up with was an over the hill, aging veteran, whose bat can't catch up to an inside fastball. Giambi has been terrible this season. In fact, this is his worst season of his career. Currently, Giambi is hitting below the Mendoza Line at .192 on the year. The A's were hoping Giambi would be an upgrade from Daric Barton , but instead they only stunted Barton's development for no apparent reason. In addition, his inability to play the field everyday is causing manager Bob Geren to play Jack Cust in the outfield, a position that Cust should never play. Because of his performance, the A's can't trade Giambi. Jason has a team option for next year in which I don't think is going to get picked up. Unless Giambi has a strong second half, Giambi might be playing his last season in baseball.

sighs of relief for: Jack Cust, Bobby Crosby, Orlando Cabrera

Biggest Surprise: Adam Kennedy - Infielder

At the beginning of the season, no one wanted Adam Kennedy . In fact, the St. Louis Cardinals waived Kennedy, eating the $4 million dollars he had owed on his contract. The Rays signed Kennedy to a minor league deal, but then quickly sent him to the A's for career minor leaguer Joe Dillon . Oh how those two teams GM's wish they could have do overs...Since arriving in Oakland, Kennedy has been an offensive force and is having his best season as pro baseball player. Kennedy is currently hitting .291 with 7 home runs and 31 RBI. Mind you, those numbers are since May, as the first month of the season Kennedy was in AAA. His home run total is his highest since 2004 when he hit 10 in a season. Kennedy is also proving to be a versatile player, playing whatever position he has been asked to receive playing time. He originally was called over to play second base in place of the injured Mark Ellis, but when Ellis returned Kennedy has made the transition to 3rd, 1st, and even some time in right field and has kept on hitting. Because Kennedy is a free agent at the end of the year though, he remains a good candidate to be traded. A team like the Cubs would be a perfect fit.

Apologies to: Josh Outman, Andrew Bailey, Dallas Braden

Player Most Likely to Be Traded: Matt Holliday - Left Field

While the A's have many players that could be dealt by the end of the month, none of them are more likely to leave than outfielder Matt Holliday. Holliday was a three time All-Star with the Colorado Rockies, but has regressed since joining the A's and leaving the hitter friendly confines of Coors Field. According to reports, the A's are said to be asking for two top of the line prospects in return for Holliday. The reasoning is because the A's would not only be trading away Holliday, but the two compensation picks that come with him if he becomes a free agent at the end of the year. The teams that make the most sense to acquire Holliday seem to be the Mets , Cardinals, and possibly the Red Sox . If teams won't give A's GM Billy Beane what he wants, Beane will simply hold on to Holliday and obtain the draft picks at the end of the season. However, some skeptics suggest that if Holliday doesn't get the price he wants in the offseason, he may accept arbitration from the A's which would net him a 1 year deal around 18 million. Personally, I don't think he would do it though as the last place Holliday would want to be to rebuild his value is Oakland. If it does happen though, the A's may have the same situation at this time next season.

Don't Get Too Comfortable: Adam Kennedy, Russ Springer, Bobby Crosby

First Prospect Likely To Be Called Up in 2nd Half: Tommy Everidge - Corner Infield

Tommy Everidge is flying under the radar. So much in fact, that I hadn't even heard of him until this year. He isn't even on Baseball America's list for the A's top 10 prospects. However, I can't wait for this kid to recieve his callup. Everidge features good power and pretty solid bat. Two seasons ago in Single-A, Everidge had 26 home runs and 94 RBI's while batting .266. Last year he had 22 home runs, 115 RBI, and improved his batting average to .279 at AA Midland. This season, combined between Double-A and Triple-A, Everidge is off to a torrid start hitting .309/.375/.508 with 14 home runs and an astonishing 73 RBI at the halfway point. A natural first basemen, the A's have been gradually converting Everidge to play 3rd, a position the organizational depth is weak at. His promotion to AAA, as well as the position switch, I believe forced the A's to trade away Jack Hannahan , who was demoted to AAA after a weak start to the season. The team probably felt they didn't want a player like Hannahan taking away at bats from Everidge. I expect to see Everidge to receive his first callup in August, though the team would likely have to trade Adam Kennedy to make room on the roster. If this kid has the ability to play 3rd base, the A's might have found their replacement for Eric Chavez.


Posted on: June 8, 2009 6:20 am
Edited on: June 8, 2009 6:32 am
 

Earning Their A's

A's Young Staff Exceeding Expectations

The Oakland Athletics are 25-30, 7th worst record in the majors, sitting 7.5 games out of first place and in dead last in the AL West.

So why are A's fans still smiling?

Well, it's simple, really.

"We know something you don't know".

Okay...Now I know that sounds pretty childish, but it holds true. The majority of baseball fans probably don't care about this team. After all, people rarely talk about the worst teams in baseball unless there is some major story going on. So unless people are talking about Matt Holliday trade rumors or about what day Giambi will break out his golden thong this year, the A's won't get much run in the public media. Neither will their players.

And it's all for the better. Fans of opposing teams will be in for a surprise when they start playing Oakland this year.

There are some people who choose to neglect baseball statistics and follow what they see with their own eyes. The problem with this, is the minute they blink, they may have missed something important. Then, there are others that swear by the numbers, but don't fully understand them or don't bother to understand the meaning behind the,. And lastly, there are those who look at the numbers, try to establish trends, and predict the future.

I'm that third type of fan and as such, see the constant progression of the A's young pitching staff.

For the majority of the year so far, much of the blame for the Athletics lackluster start has been on the starting pitching. After all, the teams opening day roster featured two 21 year olds, one 24 year old, and two 25 year olds in it's rotation. Nobody could possibly think the A's could have success with this "kiddie corpse" (as CBS writer Scott Miller once called it) taking the hill for them.

What were Billy Beane and Bob Geren thinking?

The Answer: A chance at success this season and in the years to come.

Nobody would have questioned Beane or Geren had they decided to keep the same starting rotation they ended last year with some combination of Justin Duchscherer, Sean Gallagher, Dana Eveland, Dallas Braden, Gio Gonzalez, or Greg Smith. Not a single person would have thought twice about it.

But there is a thing about having four rookies in a pitching rotation that makes people uneasy. It's not the typical formula for success, but if all of the players are extremely talented, should it really matter? After all, three of the A's four rookie starters (Trevor Cahill, Josh Outman, and Vin Mazzaro) didn't even outperform the players they ended up replacing during spring training. So how did the A's management know to turn to them so soon?

No matter what the scouts say, no matter how good of "stuff" pitchers have, rookies fail. That's what we are led to believe for some reason or another. Perhaps, the rationale behind it stems from just being a fan of the game. If we anticipate failure, we don't become let down when a player fails to adjust to the major leagues. When a player succeeds, or does what normally should be expected based on the opinions of baseball experts, they are to be considered an anomoly. So to expect four rookies to all have success in a season, many would consider crazy.
 
But maybe that's why those same skeptics aren't the ones sitting in the GM's chair.

The A's have been in rebuilding mode for the past season and a half. The team conducted a firesale last season of any player where they could redeem value. As aggravated fans were forced to buy into the rebuilding efforts, they looked for something new that they could hope for, something that would bring hope to this team. They found that in the teams newly restocked pitchers in the farm system.

Already nicknamed "The New Big Three," Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, and Vin Mazzaro had larger than life expectations placed upon them. After all, the original "Big Three"  (Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito) that Oakland fans grew to love, were a combined 275-144 in their time with A's.

Cahill, 21, was drafted by the A's in the 2nd round of the 2006 amatuer draft out of high school. He has pitched phenominally throughout the A's minor league system. Last season alone, Cahill posted a 2.78 era for Single-A Stockton and was promoted to AA Midland where he was 6-1 with a 2.19 era before playing for team USA in the Summer Olympics. Baseball America named Cahill the A's number two prospect behind Anderson and mlb.com named Cahill the 17th best prospect in the game.

Through 12 starts this season, Cahill's record stands with a 3-5 record and an era average of just 4.21. All in all, it seems farely average for the hype that Cahill has been receiving, right? However, it should be noted that Cahill has only given up more than two runs in a game only twice this season.

No....That wasn't a typo....He's only given up more than two runs a game only twice ....So what's with the inflated era? ...

Two bad starts resulting in 14 earned runs (of the 31 total earned runs he's given up)  for the youngster. If you don't count those two starts, Cahill's era would be among league leaders at 2.49. Unfortunately, they do in fact count causing pessimists to think Cahill has struggled throughout the year. As you can see, it's simply not the case.

Anderson, also 21, was acquired by the A's as one of the centerpieces to the Dan Haren trade and immediatly became the A's top talent of their farm system. After posting a 2.83 era this spring in Arizona, Anderson let it be known that he wanted to be on the A's opening day roster this year instead of the minor leagues. He was granted his wish.

Anderson has shown signs that he belongs in the majors. He has only had trouble dealing with "big innings" in many ballgames and also played through an early season hand injury in order to stay on the big league roster. His era stands at 4.97 now, but he is finally fully healthy and dealing. In his last four starts alone (note that three of them were on the road), Anderson is 3-1, with a 3.52 era and 1.21 WHIP.

As for Mazzaro, he's been somewhat of a surprise. He was drafted by the A's in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft out of high school,  but had struggled at the lowest levels of minor league ball. It wasn't until last season at AA Midland that Mazzaro started to get noticed again. Pitching in 22 games last year for AA Midland, Mazzaro had a 1.90 era forcing a promotion to AAA Sacramento.

In spring training this past year, Mazzaro was performing lights out until his final few starts. Management decided to send him back to Sacramento to work on a few issues before promoting him to the big league club.

It paid off. Mazzaro has only been with the A's for a week now, but in that time period, he's started two games and has pitched 13.2 innings of shutout baseball.

Meanwhile, lost in the hype have been the A's two most productive pitchers on the year. Josh Outman and Dallas Braden. Outman, acquired last year in the Joe Blanton deal, was named the A's 5th starter out of spring training and has surpassed all expectations. His era, currently sitting at 3.09, is the best of any A's starter and he's posted a quality start in five of his last six outings.

Braden, a third year player, has only allowed more than three runs in a game once this season and has already 9 quality starts in his 12 starts. At 25, he is the veteran of the staff and has adjusted well to his newly found "ace" role with the team.

The young staff is performing well above the downfall everyone predicted them to have.

There will always be skeptics though. CBS writer Larry Dobrow said just last week in his weekly power rankings that "it's bad enough the A's rushed Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson to the majors. Now they'll do the same with Vince Mazzaro, who will be served up like a sacrificial offering to the White Sox tonight. Let's stop all the 'Glavine and Smoltz took their lumps as young pitchers, too,'rationalizations whenever a team throws an untamed newbie pitcher into the deep end of the pool; those two were the exception, not the rule."

So much for that. While Cahill, Anderson, and Mazzaro may not be the next three hall of famers, they will bring the A's success.

With the A's offense heating up and starting to support this young staff, the team has now won six games in a row and has new life. The A's pitching staff is getting better with each start. While nobody is paying attention, this team may very well get themselves back in it. As most baseball fans know, strong pitching will dictate the success of a team and the A's plan to have these strong pitchers around for a very long time.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com