Tag Archives: Jack Cust

End Of An Error

We’re still waiting for our first big free agent signing of the offseason out here in Oakland. Though the biggest move to date may be addition by subtraction, as another MLB club has finally taken Jack Cust of our hands. The A’s have been seemingly trying to get rid of Cust for a few seasons now, and today the Seattle Mariners took a chance on the slugger/walker/striker-outer. At the beginning of last season, the A’s designated Cust for assignment, hoping another team would claim him. After he cleared waivers, he reported to AAA-Sacramento until injuries on the big league roster would force him up. He played uninspired ball the rest of the season and helped the A’s to another underwhelming offensive campaign. Cust made popular the “three true outcome player.” Each of his at-bats would surely end in one of three outcomes: a home run, walk, or strikeout. Problem is, two out of every three ended in a strikeout. His homers never seem to come when they counted, and his walks were mostly the result of resting the bat on his shoulders for 6 or 7 pitches. Throw a breaking ball, and you’ll surely strike him out. I know what the Mariners were thinking, he’s a guaranteed 20 HRs a year, but does this mean they’ve been sitting there for the last three years thinking, “where can we find a left-handed Richie Sexson?” Seriously, Mariner fans, that’s what you should be thinking right now.

Cust has got to be my most loathed player on the A’s in the last decade. There aren’t many, since the A’s have a knack for having blue-collar hustle guys. Pitching, defense, and basically fundamentals reigned supreme. Cust is none of these. Instead, he occupied the fat, lazy designated hitter spot and led the league in strikeouts three consecutive years. His 197 in 2008 were particularly impressive. I won’t even get into his defensive shortcomings. The good news is this opens up a spot for a power hitter the A’s so desperately need. I share Chappy’s sentiment in that I don’t want them to break the bank on an older player who’s best days are behind them, but that may be our only option. And, if you give me a choice, I’ll take anybody over Cust. Right now it’s looking like Hideki Matsui, but I’d be happy with Doris Matsui at this point. Alright, so Cust isn’t that bad; I’m just happy for a change.

“You want to go where you’re wanted,” Cust said. “In Oakland, even though I always did pretty well there…I’m sure they’d say I struggled in spring and what I did the three years before wasn’t good enough to make that team, I guess…..When I talk about Oakland last year especially, it’s definitely not a very positive experience for me. So I’m trying to block that out a little.”

Aren’t we all, Jack. Aren’t we all…..


Subtraction by Addition

Well, the A’s signed JacKKK Cust today to a one year deal of about $2.4 million. I was crossing my fingers he wouldn’t be back, and thought we did say our goodbyes, but sadly he he is back. He was our top home run hitter last year, so in the end I see why, especially for a discounted price… It’s funny how the Giants were rumored to be talking to him, they must be pretty happy the A’s stepped to the plate with a contract. I’m hoping we never have to see him in the field. We already have a few too many outfielders, and what looks like a good defensive team. Messing up that defense by putting Cust down there doesn’t make you feel all that excited. Adding one more outfielder to the mix isn’t going to help anybody feel like they have a set role on the team. Maybe Beane has some plans to make some more trades. I for one, hope he does. It’s still early in the off-season, so I won’t say this is a bad move yet. The signing of Duscherer was a major plus, but I think this signing could be bad. I hope he doesn’t clog up the bases with his walks and not give all our speedy guys a chance to run the bases or strike out with the bases loaded too much this year.


State of the Athletics’ Nation

The Classic A's fan paradox: 1/2 maybe this is our year, 1/2 wake me up when the season's over.

The turn of the decade is nearing us, and the Oakland Athletics are in a different position than they were in last year. Around this time a year ago, the A’s had made a blockbuster deal to acquire Jack Parkman Matt Holliday. This move had A’s fans excited that their team had taken the express lane on the rebuilding highway. Gone were future centerpieces Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith, and the arrival of Matt Holliday lead to the signings of veterans Jason Giambi, Nomar Garciaparra, and Orlando Cabrera. The moves had the A’s poised to challenge for the division crown, just two seasons after the rebuilding process had begun. Well, things obviously didn’t work out as planned, so we’re back to square one. Let’s take a look at the moves the A’s have made so far this offseason.

Signed Dallas McPherson – This was the first noteworthy move of the offseason for Oakland, as the A’s added some depth at Third Base, where the incumbent has become an enigma after injuries have sidelined Eric Chavez for a good portion of the last three or four years. The only real 3B prospect in the farm system, Brett Wallace, wasn’t projected to stick at third, but we’ll get to that later. The A’s took a flier on McPherson, who once was considered a top prospect. However, numerous injuries, mainly to his back, have derailed his career somewhat. Interesting that GM Billy Beane went after a third basemen whose biggest downside is his back. Hmm, thought we already were set there. Nonetheless, McPherson should play a key role in returning to the championship. The AAA championship that is.

Traded for Jake Fox and Aaron Miles – The A’s didn’t give up much in this deal. Relief pitcher Jeff Gray dominated AAA as a closer, but for some reason, never really fit in with the big league team’s plans. Outfielder Matt Spencer has produced above expectations since being acquired in the Joe Blanton deal, but never really figured to be a major league prospect. So, to get players with big league experience, such as Fox and Miles seems like a precursor to more short-term moves. The A’s got a power hitting third baseman, who, surprise, has been called a liability defensively at third. But, no one questions Fox’s power, which is the primary reason the A’s acquired him. He should see more time at DH or OF than 3B while wearing the green and gold. Miles, meanwhile, was considered a throw-in from the Cubs, since he apparently turned out to be a clubhouse cancer. Players with spotted pasts always seem to clean up their act in Oakland, largely because they’re out of the spotlight. Since the middle infield basically consists of Mark Ellis and a handful of AAAA players, such as Cliff Pennington and Gregorio Petit, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miles play a bigger role than Fox when the season gets underway.

Released Santiago Casilla – One of my favorite A’s of the last few years, Casilla threw heat and for the most part was largely effective. He lacked control at times, however, and he always seemed liable to give up the big hit. He even closed some games out nicely when called upon. Casilla, like many A’s, was on and off the shelf with injuries, but proved to be a key asset in the bullpen. The A’s have no shortage of depth in the bullpen, so he became expendable. I have little doubt that Casilla will catch on elsewhere and play a big role as a setup man.

Declined to Offer a Contract to Jack Cust – This might be the biggest move of the A’s offseason. The Jack Attack was a mainstay in the A’s lineup, leading the team in home runs    each of the last three season. His “Custian” bombs won over many A’s fans, but his strikeouts and defensive shortcomings turned off the rest. He had a love/hate following from the Oakland faithful, and many, including yours truly, are happy to see him go. Sure, his power was nice, but the A’s are forming a new identity as a speedy, defensive team. Cust, believe it or not, is neither. There is, however, still a chance the A’s could bring him back at a reduced rate, but at this time, Cust is out of the picture.

Traded Brett Wallace for Michael Taylor – In case you forgot, Wallace was the key piece in the deal that sent Holliday to St. Louis. He was considered one of the best third base prospects in baseball. Though his defensive abilities there were question, the A’s insisted they would keep him at third, as opposed to moving him to first. They kept their promise, but clearly weren’t sold on him sticking at the position. Once Toronto acquired Taylor from Philadelphia in the Roy Halladay deal, they promptly sent him to Oakland in exchange for Wallace. Taylor seems like a slight upgrade skills-wise, but he comes in at a position of strength (in numbers at least) for the A’s. I see this deal working out well for the A’s, but fear that Wallace will turn into the Blue Jays’ franchise third baseman in the coming years.

Signed Coco Crisp – This deal seemed like it was years in the making. Over the last two full seasons, we’ve heard Crisp’s name circled around the rumor mill as a potential trade target for Beane. Now that he was a free agent, the A’s were able to get him for a mere $5.5 million, instead of giving up precious prospects. What’s interesting is he was signed for the same, if not more money than they would’ve had to shell out for Cust. Instead, they’re getting a smaller, faster, better defensive player. You know, basically like another Rajai Davis. Wait, they still have Davis don’t they? Well, perhaps there are more moves in the making, but the A’s now have four quality outfielders in Crisp, Davis, Ryan Sweeney, and Scott Hairston. By the way, I use the term “quality” loosely. I just mean they’re probably too good to spend any time in Sacramento. Anyway, at this point, many figure Hairston to be the odd man out, but I still wouldn’t surprised to see Davis moved. As it stands, Crisp would take over center field, with Davis moving to left, and Sweeney staying put in right field. While not very intimidating on the offensive end, the A’s would go into the season with one of its best defensive outfields in club history.

Re-Signed Justin Duchscherer – This move was a no-brainer, just as long as you can wipe last season out of your memory. The Duke was coming off his second all-star appearance, and was penciled in as the staff ace, as he was really the only starter who had significant big league experience. Offseason surgery, however, delayed his start to the season. By the time he was ready to play physically, he had dug such a deep mental hole, that the only K’s he was throwing were to his therapist. The contract he got was a Billy Beane special, meaning it was largely incentive based. Those deals have tended to work out well for the A’s in recent memory – see Frank Thomas. Duke’s base salary is $2 million, but incentives can balloon it to upwards of $3.5 million. This signing doesn’t look too notable on paper, but if we get the old Duke back, that’s a huge addition.

This guy lost his banjo. If you find it, please return it to him.


Big Baseball Moves

I don't like the Yankees, the Sox's, or big John Lackey, but I'm fully rooting for Lackey to throw some punches in one of their heated divisional games!

The Red Sox picked up John Lackey Monday, which was a solid move. I really like waving goodbye to Lackey from the AL West that is, he seemed to dominate the A’s every time he took the mound. Boston also made one other surprising signing as well. No, not Jason Bay. Matt Holliday?!? Nope, it looks like they are picking up Mike Cameron. Really!?! Interesting move Theo… I guess it’s a defensive upgrade getting a 3-time Gold Glover. Cameron has some power, and he is cheaper than the two mentioned guys. We’ll see how it pans out. I guess he could be a Johnny Damon type guy for them who has been known to be a good mentor and clubhouse guy. I just don’t see how it helps them compete with the Yankees, but oh well, I don’t really like them anyways. Another move that I saw, was the Red Sox offered Chapman a contract for $15.5 million! Ladies and gentlemen strap in for the next relevant Chapman!

The other shocking moves made Monday was the trade that sends Roy Halladay to the Phillies, and Cliff Lee is going to Seattle. I don’t really understand why they wanted to give up prospects, when they could just turn around and sign Lee keeping the prized youth, but if they sign Halladay to a long extension it might be worth it. I could really care less about Halladay landing in Philly, the main reason stems from me not really caring about the NL all that much. I’m just worried the A’s will now have to face Lee now five times a year. In the end, I’m really curious to see how Phillies top prospects pan out, they’ve had a good run of home grown talent over the last few years, so I’m sure whatever they gave up to make Toronto happy, must have been worth it!

In A’s news, we let go of JacKKK Cust, and inconsistent, wrongfully named, Santiago Casilla. I see this as an addition by subtraction. Our defense just improved by not having to ever put Cust in the field again. He makes a little leaguer trying to catch a ball during the home run derby look like a all-star out there. He also clogs up the bases with his slow station to station movements, and kept speedy guys from moving around the bases at times. This team is moving into a speed era it appears, and Cust doesn’t suit that. All in all, it’s been a crazy day for the MLB off-season!