The tinkering continues in Oakland as the Athletics acquired 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff today from the Padres. He’s not exactly a guy I rosterbate to, but he can probably man the corner better than anyone else in house. He comes to Oakland with a minor league PTBNL (rumor is a fellow called Eric Sogard. We’ll hold off on him until we know he’s in the deal) . Going back to San Diego is Scott Hairston, who was just acquired from San Diego last summer. The A’s are also sending fringe player Aaron Cunningham in the deal. Cunningham looked promising in his time in AAA-Sacramento, but never found his stroke in the majors, batting .211 in limited action. I’ve seen a good majority of his progression through the minors since he was acquired from Arizona in the Dan Haren deal. While he was one of my more exciting prospects, I ultimately concluded that he’ll probably project to no better than a 4th outfielder on a big league team. Hairston, meanwhile, was the clear odd man out immediately following the Coco Crisp signing. All in all, the A’s acquired a position of need – and quite frankly their most dire by far – while trading away from a position of strength. …Strength in numbers at least.
While this move addressed some questions, it also raises just as many in my mind. Obviously the team got a veteran third baseman which they needed, but what does this mean for Eric Chavez? Don’t get me wrong, I’m about two full years removed from having stopped counting on Chavez being on the field, but I at least need some closure. Last I heard he was almost healthy. Granted that probably applies to him 95% of the time, but still. Perhaps he’s going to spend the majority of his time at DH, but wait, isn’t that what they brought Jack Cust back for? I really hope this move wasn’t made to clear room in the outfield for Cust. The other thing I still wonder about is the future of the third base position. Surely Kouzmanoff can’t be the long term solution. He’s a career .261 hitter whose average has declined in each of his three full seasons in the bigs. Not one to ever pay attention to fielding statistics, I couldn’t help but noticed that he’s cut his errors drastically each season, from 22 to 11 to just 3 last year. His fielding percentage has gone up each year as well, topping off at .990 last season. At least having a good defensive third baseman will alleviate a lot of roster concerns. I just really wish we had someone promising there in the minors. Brett Wallace was the most hope I’d had in years, and now he’s in Toronto. Don’t get me wrong, I’m equally excited about Michael Taylor. I just can’t come up with anything more exciting than Adrian Cardenas when I think about the A’s prospects at third. Problem is, Cardenas isn’t even a third baseman. It’s okay though, a good player is always just a trade away. At the rate the A’s are going, there should be a few more before the season rolls around.