Tag Archives: Justin Duchscherer

The Duke Finally Speaks Out on His Depression

I had so many questions when Justin Duchscherer, the Athletics two-time all-star, decided to shut it down last August for the season. He seemed like he was on the road back to joining the A’s with a quality outing in Sacramento I figured he’d rejoin the team soon. Then out of nowhere he shut it down and cited emotional distress, aka depression. I was pretty curious what actually happened with him, since there were never reports on what it was truly about. The only updates A’s fans got were the ol, he’s making progress, he’s entered a program to treat his condition, etc. The A’s Drumbeat reports that the media phone interview with Duchscherer shed some light on his abrupt leave of absence from the organization. They said he was “paralyzed” when he got off a plane for a rehab start in Sacramento. It was the first time he’d ever felt that way in his life. He was diagnosed by the medical staff, and they found there were some off-field issues that had caused him to feel the way he did. In particular, he had never completely gotten over his divorce from a couple of years ago.

I think I can safely say for all of A’s fans, that we are glad he’s got his head right, because he is one of those guys that we need on this team. Duke has always been a fighter and we know he can make it through whatever is plaguing him. He’s never been a complainer or hard to please. They’ve moved him from a starter, to the bullpen, to long reliever, back to starter and he never complained (not to the media at least). He’s the whatever I can do for the team kind of guy, which was why the leave of absence last year was so strange!

Awe, Duke said he missed working with Kurt...

Awe, Duke said he missed working with Kurt...

It was good to see that we agreed to a new contract for him, and based on the interview this IS our best move we’ve made this off-season. He sounds like the anti-Favre as he wants to help the young guys and mentor them. He want’s to teach them how to pitch well when they don’t have their best stuff, and we know he will. Thanks for keeping it classy Duke, we are rooting for you this year. You are already my #1 feel good story in 2010!

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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.


The Duke Shutting it Down For the Season

Justin Duscherer

Our two time All-Star pitcher, Justin Duchscherer has been a question mark all season. It seemed like he was on the road to making his A’s debut about a month ago, but he kept delaying his starts. I along with many A’s fans found it weird as we wanted to see our “ace” back in action for at least the last month or so of the season. He did make a few rehab starts in Sacramento that MCeezy watched in person, and it appeared he pitched good. He has been on and off the DL for a good portion of his career, so everyone just figured he wasn’t ready after having season ending surgery towards the end of last season.

It was made public today in the SF Chronicle that he will shut it down for the season due to “a very treatable clinical depression.” I’ve been outspoken about letting these guys just pack it in due to “depression“. Duke’s case is no different. I can’t understand why he’d jump ship at this point, especially since his contract expires after this season is up. Maybe he didn’t feel right when he was pitching in Sacramento. Maybe he thinks he can get a contract based on what teams remember of his good days. Either way, I think he’s made his last pitch in Oakland, so thanks for the memories Duke!


The Trade Deadline is Coming Who Will Find a New Home?

Stock Trading Floor

With the trade deadline approaching, it looks as though teams need to make some moves to ensure that a playoff run is going to happen. There are powerhouses (Dodgers, Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox), that may not need to make a move to make the playoffs, but there’s a good chance they may need to make a move to win a championship. I’ve been waiting to see what prospects the A’s can pull out of it, and they do have a few bargaining chips so this may be the last time I’m excited about news from them for awhile. Aside from the Halladay sweepstakes, many say there aren’t many difference makers in the market this year. I agree to some extent that Halladay could make an impact like CC Sabathia did last year taking Milwakee to the playoffs. Then again there are the subtle differences like Boston adding Orlando Cabrera and upgrading their defense to help them push their way to breaking the curse. I will run through some other players not named Halladay, that could be a big difference maker when it’s all said and done.

Matt Holliday. I guess I have to start with a player from my team. Matt HollidayI’m just hoping we get something to the tune of a few major league ready minor league players, instead of two compensation draft picks when he leaves this off-season. San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, and even Boston could use some power at the moment, and are all within three games of the wild card spot at the moment.  Holliday hasn’t lit the world on fire since coming to Oakland, but is showing teams he’s still a good player as it gets closer to the deadline with 3 HR’s, 13 Runs, 14 RBI, and a .311 BA over the last month.

Justin Duchscherer. Another A’s player, and Buster Only was all over him as a poor man’s Halladay. I’m not sure I’m sold on him returning to his dominant form of last season, but the numbers don’t lie, as he’s set to make his re-hab stint and hopefully a return to the majors soon. Pitching as a reliever or a starter his ERA has never been higher than 3.27, which makes me a believer that teams would pick up his modest salary in hopes he returns to form by playoff time. It also opens the door for him to return to the bullpen when he makes it back up, which would make the likes of Wuertz and Ziegler available. I would rather have either of them that the Orioles George Sherill.

Victor MartinezVictor Martinez. He’s having a solid comeback season with 14 HR’s, 59 RBI’s and a .286 BA. Vic is a player that would be a good fit for Red Sox or the Mets with Delgado and Lowell constantly battling injuries. He would also be a solid fit behind the plate in Boston with the deteriorating Varitek.

Cliff Lee. I think the chances of Lee making as much of an impact as Halladay are fairly likely. It’s been reported that since the Sox placed Wakefield on the DL they sent their top scout to Toronto to watch Lee dominate the Jays in his second consecutive complete game. It seems like Cleveland should have plenty of phone calls for last years Cy Young award winner and Martinez.

Marco Scutaro. He’s an interesting player on the block. I think he is the ultimate team player, kind of like Mark DeRosa was to the Cubs last season. Marco ScutaroHe can play multiple positions, and can come through with clutch hits (Many fond memories of him in an A’s uniform). He’s a glue guy that every contender needs, and if a team deals for him they won’t be disappointed with what he brings to the table.

Freddy Sanchez. The Pirates failed to reach agreements with Sanchez and Jack Wilson, so it looks like once again they will be trying to trade their soon to be free agents for some more prospects. Sanchez is the most interesting of the two as he plays phenomenal defense, and gets on base with regularity hitting .311 on the season. He’d be a good fit with the Giants or the Cubs.

Only time will tell, and after July 31st we will see which teams make their upgrades, and which teams think they already have what they need. Even though I doubted there would be any fireworks this year. I think there are some good names on the market besides Halladay!