Tag Archives: Oakland Athletics

The A’s Are a Mess – But Don’t Take It From Me

It seems like every day now I’m fighting the urge to post a “Fire Bob Geren” rant. I have to keep reminding myself that there’s only about 50,000 A’s fans in the world. I’d venture to guess that less than 5% of our readers even care about the A’s. Though as much as I want to talk about tonight’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals, all I can think about is this bad taste left in my mouth from being swept by the Yankees at home. The A’s didn’t even put up a fight. The only punch landed was a 2-run home run from Josh Willingham off A.J. Burnett that gave Oakland a 2-1 lead yesterday, but that didn’t last long. Willingham’s also been the only guy doing any fighting for the Green and Gold this year for the most part. Without looking, I believe the A’s were outscored 19-5 by New York this week. Well of course I’m still on board with the Fire Bob Geren Movement, but the Oakland Tribune’s Monte Poole pulled a different play out of the playbook. Now, you won’t hear me praise other writers too often, but everything Monte writes I tend to like. He’s like the anti-Tim Kawakami. Anyway, Poole calls the play action fake and goes after the A’s ownership tandem, Lew Wolff and John Fisher. He brings the heat with gems like, they (took) “what once was a good franchise with an engaged fan base and starve it into lethargic inertia,” and “They have become a wealthy guy (Wolff) and an obscenely wealthy guy (Fisher) who acquired a valuable property, neglected it outright and continue to reap profits. It’s the slumlord model.” To read it in its entirety (and you should) click HERE.

It takes me back to a conversation I had back in 2006 with one of the then new owners’ daughters. I asked, “isn’t your dad the one who just bought the A’s?” She sort of rolled her eyes, sighed, and let out a reluctant “yes.” I then asked, “oh, do you get that a lot?” Again, a sigh and a yes. I replied, “Alright then, I won’t tell you to tell him NOT to move the A’s from Oakland then.” Somehow I get the impression her dad would respond the same way.

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Mondanity

It’s actually far from mundane where the sports world is concerned, but the A’s got swept by the Giants and I’m not really able to see a lot of positives out there at the moment. The world is lousy right now as far as I’m concerned, but at least we’re all still here, right? Well, maybe minus 100+ of us out in Southwest Missouri. That storm was nasty, and while I constantly question why anyone would settle in Tornado Alley, I don’t think anyone could have seen one of that caliber coming. Oh, and we also lost a legend in the Macho Man Randy Savage. Dude took intensity to a whole nother level and probably should be credited as one of the primary founders of the concept of swagger. Turning my attention back to sports, here’s what captivated my interest now that the weekend is over….

FIRE BOB GEREN – I told Chappy the other day that we need to bring back the “Fire Bob Geren” movement. That was before they got swept in San Francisco, and have now lost 5 in a row to drop to 22-25 on the season. People who aren’t fans of the A’s – which apparently is all but 10,000 people in this world – will say Geren doesn’t exactly have a lot of talent to work with. The reality is he has the best pitching staff in all of baseball. Even with injuries to Dallas Braden, Brandon McCarthy, and Tyson Ross, as long as Cahill, Anderson, and Gonzalez are still standing, they’re alright. Admittedly the offense is terrible, but they went out and got Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui, and David Dejesus. None of them are all-stars, but each has proved himself as a big league hitter, which is something I can’t say for guys like Daric Barton or Cliff Pennington. This is Geren’s 5th season as Manager, which is practically an eternity in this day and age. The problem is he’s Billy Beane’s best friend, so you can’t count on him firing his best friend. Now, if he were Lamar Odom it’d be another story! (And if you get that reference you should be ashamed of yourself)

If you care to hear more about the Fire Bob Geren Movement, head over to AthleticsNation, where someone apparently felt the same way I did waking up this Monday morning. Only this person must not have a job to go to, because this is the longest blog post I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, Geren’s managerial shortcomings can provoke one to express a lot of frustration, so I completely get it.

Joakim Noah Called Someone a Fag – Man, why is this such a huge story today? Maybe I tuned in at the wrong time, but this entire Thunder – Mavericks 2nd quarter broadcast has been all about Noah’s “homophobic slur.” Now don’t anybody comment on why it IS such a big deal, because I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been fined and publicly reprimanded. What’s frustrating for me, and everyone else out here in California, is it has been acceptable to be gay for like 20 years now. I’m tired of seeing the rest of the country showing up all late to the party trying to overcompensate. Add to that this ridiculous commercial with Grant Hill and Jared Dudley telling us that it’s rude to call things gay. Please, Jared Dudley grew up in San Diego. I’ll bet my life he’s called plenty of things gay in his day. I guess these commercials are breaking news to a large population of the U.S., but what’s next, Shane Battier and Blake Griffin telling kids it’s okay to be of mixed descent? Get with the times. (I just saw on the ESPN ticker that the Phoenix Suns President announced he’s gay. That happened like two weeks ago. It’s a big move for him, but we should have moved on by now.)

Ray Lewis NEEDS to Remain in the Public Eye if the NFL Has a Lockout – If you saw Sal Palantonio’s interview with the Ravens’ linebacker you know what I’m talking about. I like Ray Lewis on the field a lot, but I MAY just like him even more in a different capacity, like, say a reality show. He might even have a career as a pro wrestler. Shoot, just as long as he keeps doing interviews I’ll be interested. Just watching the man talk…. it reminds me of nights in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. You know that old probably homeless, possibly a crackhead grandpa that tries to talk to you and you just keep walking? Well I have a tendency to engage that guy in a conversation. I may not always take away something constructive from it, but grandpas always seem to have a way of making it seem like what they’re telling you is the most earth-shattering stuff you’ve ever heard, even though you have no idea what in the world they’re talking about. That’s the same feeling I get when I watch Ray Lewis talk. I just want to see more. (If there’s a fantasy football season, I’m naming my team “Evil, Which We Call Crime”)

Asdrubal Cabrera is the MVP of the American League – Sure, Jose Bautista has better numbers (he just hit his 19th HR of the year tonight), but how is HIS team doing? I’m the last guy you need to notify that the Cleveland Indians have the best record in baseball, seeing how I made them my preseason pick to win the AL pennant. I can’t say I saw Cabrera being this good though. If I did, I would have drafted him instead of Omar Infante in the 22nd ROUND of our fantasy league’s draft. True, yesterday’s 5-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI performance may just be fresh on my mind, but thanks to a little ESPN2 exposure tonight, I’ve just watched this kid go 3-4 with another home run, plus a key go-ahead RBI double in the 8th inning. If the Indians do end up making it to the World Series like I’m predicting, it will because Asdrubal Cabrera got them there.

Warriors Hired Jerry West – This is exciting for obvious reasons, but I’m not sure what effect it will actually have on the team on the floor. It doesn’t seem like anything will really get the Warriors over the hump anytime soon, but you wouldn’t just bring on Jerry West if you didn’t have a good reason would you? Well, maybe. Like Matt Steinmetz points out, it will, at the very least, give the Warriors  a little more credibility. If I were a free agent, I’d probably let Larry Riley go to voicemail. But if Jerry West were calling…. You see where I’m going with this. We’ll see what the results end up being, but this is the biggest hire since the Chris Mullin / Don Nelson regime was brought back, and THAT got us that one memorable playoff appearance, so there’s reason for optimism. Just like comedian/actor Kevin Hart says, “You ain’t a Warrior if you don’t G.S.!”


Elephants and Seals

As always, By is covering the Giants portion, and Chappy is covering the A’s portion for this post.

San Francisco Giants (1st, 24-19) Oakland Athletics (2nd, 22-22)

Three Up

Oakland Athletics – They swept the Angels in a quick two game series, and also swapped positions with them to be in a tie for first place in the AL West for the first time this season. That didn’t last long as they lost two straight to the struggling Twins and were promptly sent back to 2nd place. Their offense has gotten progressively better over the last week and a half. They’ve actually averaged nearly 5 runs a game over their last 10. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Coco Crisp has been getting on base, stealing bases, and scoring runs. When he does well, they seem to score a lot more runs. Their pitching has still been their crutch to lean on. They lead the majors in ERA at 2.68, which is the only sub-3.00 ERA in all of baseball besides the Braves 2.88 team ERA. Andrew Bailey is getting closer to returning, and will be a welcomed addition to an already great bullpen.

San Francisco Giants – Giants are sitting pretty at first place despite playing average ball.  So there’s not much to complain about here, furthermore, they just did a mini sweep of division, no everything rivals LA in LA.  So a major f**k yeah for that.  The Mark DeRosa injury could be looked at as a down, but I see the positive in it.  For one, he was hitting like s**t.  Second, we’re too deep not to circulate other players in and out of the lineup, giving tough-minded guys like Mike Fontenot a shot at some p.t.  Hopefully DeRosa takes this time to clear his mind, and find his swing.  Finally Madison Bumgarner finally got his first win of the season, the Giants are on the up and up from here on out.

Three Down

Oakland Athletics – Hideki Matsui hasn’t really shown much promise thus far in the season. Maybe the inconsistent playing time has something to do with it, but I feel like there’s a chance he might just be old. Dallas Braden had season ending shoulder surgery, which was a downer but not unexpected. I’m a huge Tyson Ross fan, and he’s done admirable filling in since Braden went down, but he got injured, and apparently Brandon McCarthy did too, so that’s a hole in the rotation. Maybe Harden will eventually not be hurt or maybe another round with Outman wouldn’t be terrible. Bob Geren is still making questionable lineup/bullpen changes and tinkering that seems to prevent the team from keeping their continuity, but the players seem to be overcoming the handicap of having him as a manager, which must be one tough obstacle.

San Francisco Giants – I can’t complain about much these days, perhaps the injury to Pablo Sandoval has put a damper on our inconsistent hitting.  I’m not satisfied with Tim Lincecum’s 3-4 start.  I was hoping for him to be blazing toward another Cy Young early on.  But those are all ‘whatevers’ in my book.  The Giants are in first in the NL West, and this should lead to an interesting series with the A’s.

Next Up – The battle of the bay. Inter league play starts and the battle for bay area bragging rights is on the line.

Win or lose Chaps, we’re still friends o.k. !?!?

Yeah, no hard feelings a quarter of the way through a season!


Elephants and Seals

This is our second installment of Elephants and Seals. And just like last time Chappy will be covering the A’s, and By will be covering the Giants.

San Francisco Giants (13-15) Oakland Athletics (15-14)

Three Up

Oakland A’s – They lost two of three in LA, but came on strong over the weekend to take 3 of 4 from Texas to bring themselves over .500.  Their bats seemed to wake up against what we all kinda knew was some weak starting pitching out in Texas. Kurt Suzuki hit two bombs after having his newly born daughter. Willingham hit a game tying homer, and Matsui hit a walkoff in yesterdays series winning game, so there’s some reason for optimism for the offense. Andrew Bailey is throwing again, and should be back sooner than later as he’s set to face some live hitting this week. That is a big relief because Fuentes is about as scary a ninth inning as you’ll get. He doesn’t throw hard, and puts guys on base giving A’s fans a heart attack every time he’s on the mound. Bailey we need you back! Coco Crisp’s bat is as lively as his hair these days, and when he’s on, he scores lots of runs. Oakland pitchers still lead the league in ERA at 2.76. They are did pretty good in April for their standards, because April is a month they almost always have a losing record in. You don’t win a division in April, but you can be far enough behind to lose it if you aren’t careful. I mean, we could be the Twins with only 9 wins.

San Francisco Giants – 1.  We won the 2010 World Series.  I know that was last season, and that historic event is a thing of the past, but when your beloved team plays as inconsistent as they have been, despite the talent and experience they possess, well then you got to hang your hat on something.  We’re only about 7% into the season, and if they don’t clean up their act by the 20% mark, I’ll throw this trump card away.  Which brings me to my next ”up” ~

2.  We’re only 7% into the season!  It’s still very early and the Giants are much below .500 ball thanks to  taking two out of three in five of the past seven series’.  They’ve been in a lot worse situations, and for them to be even despite not finding themselves is a good sign.

3.  Aaron Rowand is hitting .300 (o.k. .296) and Pablo Sandoval is hitting .313 with five dingers.  These are two players who contributed very little last season.  Aaron Rowand was considered a free agent bust, and Panda was looked at as a fluke.  The Giants are currently 11th in hitting in the N.L. but it’s neither of these two’s fault.  If they keep playing this well offensively, it will almost be like we picked up two solid free agents this year.

Three Down

Oakland A’s – Kevin Kouzmanoff is supposedly on the team more for his defense prowess, yet he’s already made 6 errors on the season. If his bat actually worked, I wouldn’t mind the errors as much, but this is getting ridiculous, and these errors are leading to runs almost every time he kicks an easy grounder. The team as a whole hasn’t been good defensively, but I doubt they will be tied for the lead the league in errors. The offense as a whole is offensive as they’re ranked 27th in the league in runs scored, don’t have a hitter over .300 in the lineup, and swing at way too many pitches early in the count. Pitchers that give up a few runs to us still are in the game in the 7th. Aside from Barton, I’m not sure anyone in the lineup knows how to work a count, unfortunately his working the count has resulted in a high amount of strikeouts. Pitchers are throwing 70 pitch complete games against us. Ok, not really, but you get the point. We have renamed the Oakland Coliseum to the Overstock.com Coliseum or O.co Coliseum. This is in the three down section, because it sounds lame.

1.  We won the 2010 World Series.  I know you’re asking, how can this be an ”up” and a ”down”?  It’s an ”up” from a fans’ perspective, especially someone like me who is grateful he witnessed a World Series championship during his lifetime.  It’s been a ”down” for the actual team.  I tried not to think it, but it’s becoming more and more apparent, the Giants have a World Series hangover.  They’re too busy making music videos with Keenan Cahill that they forgot there’s a season to play.  But then again, this is the reason why we fell in love with these guys, they’re a bunch of goofy clowns and miSFits.

2.  Missing Andres Torres has been a huge downer for the Giants.  He’s a great lead off man, and plays a fantastic center field.  The one thing that’s underrated about Torres is his defense.  Our outfield has been our week spot early on, especially when we threw Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff out there (wtf!) but with Ross back, and Torres on his way, I’ll stop holding my breath on every fly ball.

3.  Pitching and hitting.  If it’s not one, it’s the other.  This is reminiscent of years past with these Giants team.  They’re winning or losing games, 1-0 or 9-8.  Neither side can get it together consistently and act as a cohesive unit.  Like I mentioned earlier, we’re 11th in the N.L. in hitting.  I’m not concerned about average starts from Timmy, Jonathan Sanchez and Matty Cain, but Madison ”Mad Bum” Bumgarner has struggled big time.  Last season he was brilliant in the post season, we’ve only seen one glimpse of that pitcher since.  Could I actually be asking this, but are we missing Barry Zito?  If it’s come to this, then that’s a huge downer.

Next Up

Oakland A’s – Taking on the best team in baseball, Cleveland Indians at home. They found a little groove offensively against Texas, so hopefully that keeps up. I can’t wait for the day when I’m not shocked when they put up 4 runs in a game.

San Francisco Giants got to start doing their best Charlie Sheen impression, winning.  We got the Mets and Rockies next, very winnable series’.


Elephants and Seals

We sometimes neglect our teams in writing posts since we follow them so closely that we feel like everyone probably already knows what’s going on with them, in reality, that’s probably not true. Now that we have a Giants fan in the mix in By, I figured it would be fun to do an overview of our two favorite bay area teams from our homer perspectives. I’ll be writing up the A’s portion and By will be doing the Giants portion for this season.

Oakland 2-5

San Francisco 3-4

Three Up

Oakland A’s – Our starting pitchers have picked up where they left off last season, and by that I mean dominating the first six innings of their games, and only giving up two earned runs or less in all but one appearance. The new offensive guys (Dejesus, Willingham, and Matsui) in the heart of the order aren’t producing much, and unfortunately the other guys in the lineup are doing what they did last year, which is leaving runners in scoring position. They have had the lead at one point in every game this year, but can’t seem to keep it for too long in most cases. We still seem to have a heavy handicap in the home run department, but we seem to be getting more guys on base than last year, so there’s a little hope on the horizon. They’ve been close in every game late, because of that great starting pitching. If it weren’t for them thinking they were playing soccer to the tune of kicking 9 fielding errors, they could easily be .500 on the year. Somewhat concerned about this start.

San Francisco Giants – This is simple.  One, Lincecum, Sanchez, Cain, Zito & Mad Bum.  A solid bull pen, and the game’s real life version of Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn to close it.  I’m not worried about a 3-4 start.  Perhaps I’m being a little generous when mentioning Zito in that list, but I can’t uninclude him when he’s rockin’ the new ‘stache.  Two, we have a group of loveable guys who all play hard together and get along with each other.  Yes, Aubrey Huff in the outfield scares me, but the young studs in Buster Posey and Brandon Belt in our every day lineup more than make up for it.  Do not sleep on Miguel Tejada, by the way.  And three, we are still the defending champs.  This season is (now) seven games in for the Giants.  I’m not worried about a 3-4 start.

Three Down

Oakland A’s – Their bullpen is already injured like it’s mid-season. It was supposed to be a heavy strength for the team coming into the season, so far all we’ve been left with is blown leads. Balfour and Fuentes our big acquisitions in the pen this off-season both blew saves in their first tries as Athletics with Bailey on the DL. Their fielding was never a problem last year, but with 9 errors in only six games this year they are dead last in that category. Their last two games in Toronto that were errorless, and same with the day game in Minnesota today, so that has me feeling like it was just a little early season rust. Hopefully that’s the case. Maybe all the talk of needing to upgrade at third got to Kouz’s head as he’s tied for the team lead with three errors. Lastly the A’s have been terrible with runners in scoring position this season only logging three hits when that chance arises.

San Francisco Giants

1)  We got smoked by L.A.

2)  Duck the Fodgers.

3)  We haven’t produced runs consistently, spoiling some good outings by our starting pitchers.  Add to that, our bull pen hasn’t looked as crisp as they did during last season’s historic playoff run, so I guess there’s some cause for concern there.

3a)  It would be nice to have Cody Ross back.



Overhyping The A’s

Oh man, here we go some more… Don’t get me wrong, I love the media noticing the A’s, but too much hype can spell doom for a professional baseball team – just ask the Mets. I’m all for the sleeper picks to win the AL West, and even homers like Chappy picking them to win the World Series, but now ESPN’s tagged Jerry Crasnick’s awesome new piece with “AL Favorites?” I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard writers call them the “Giants of 2011.” All this hype just makes me worry more and wish the season would hurry up and get here. Whew… three more days. Trevor Cahill vs. Felix Hernandez on Friday night. Can’t wait!


Sick Day Special

Much like when you watch a baseball game, there’s the possibility that you may witness something extremely rare. Well, the same can be said for Doin Work. Today was a very rare occasion, as yours truly actually stayed home from work. I’m like Brett Favre in the office. Though as bored as I was throughout the day, it gave me some time to catch up on some news. Here’s what I was thinking about……

Might we see Ellison in front of more purple backgrounds soon?

Larry Ellison Can’t Manage To Buy an NBA Team – Well documented was Ellison’s late bid to buy the Golden State Warriors last year. What I didn’t know was that he also tried to buy the Sonics when they were getting ready to leave Seattle. Now I’ve come to find out he supposedly offered $350 million to buy the Hornets, but was rejected, only to see George Shinn sell the team to the league for $300 million. Obviously the dollar amounts can be argued, but the fact remains that Ellison has tried to purchase at least three franchises now, to no avail. So now he is reportedly turning his attention to the Kings, with the intention of moving them to Anaheim. What I don’t understand is why he is widely rumored to want to move the Kings to LA, but his preference for the Hornets would be to move them to San Jose. Not sure why the different destinations for the different teams. Maybe next he can take a shot at buying the Raptors and moving them to Winnipeg.

Athletics Need To Get Michael Young – I know there aren’t many rumors linking the A’s to Young, especially since Young’s no-trade clause only includes 8 teams, of which Oakland, not surprisingly, is not included. If I know Billy Beane, though, the A’s front office is making a serious play for the third baseman turned DH. It’s been no secret that the A’s have been trying to replace Kevin Kouzmanoff at third. For a while they were rumored to be trying to work out a Kouz for Chone Figgins deal, but that seems dead. The Mariners aren’t that stupid. Therefore it’s looking like Young is our best option. They’ll just have to come up with a deal enticing enough to convince the Rangers it’s the best for the team, while at the same time, enticing Young to waive his no-trade clause to come to Oakland. Most experts are seeing the A’s as the most improved team in the AL West, and the most likely to challenge Texas for the division title. I’m sure he’d rather be in Anaheim, but wouldn’t he love to stick it to his old team in the green and gold? Maybe not.

Big East Is Stacked – They’re now the laughing stock of college football’s BCS automatic bid conferences, but they’ve emerged as the premier college basketball conference. The title had traditionally been held by the ACC and/or the Big Ten, but the Big East is dominating now. By my count, they’ve got 8 ranked teams, and are looking poised to send 11 teams to the NCAA tournament. Though they are arguably the best conference from top to bottom, the Duke-North Carolina game is still the biggest one on the day’s docket.

Alex and Cameron don't look so hot after a bag of popcorn and a few drinks.

A-Corn Is Ridiculous – I was as amused as anyone when Fox cut away to Camerom Diaz feeding Alex Rodriguez popcorn in a suite, but I didn’t expect people to still be talking about on Wednesday. True, it was an embarrassing shot, but word is A-Rod went on a tirade, demanding that they don’t show him again. It’s like Mike Greenberg said today, A-Rod is the ONLY guy this could happen to. Anyone else would brush it off and have fun with it, but A-Rod is continuing to amaze by making himself even less likable than he already was. To top it off, I caught some TMZ today, where they showed Rodriguez shopping for clothes while Cameron walked around bored, texting. To make matters worse, A-Corn was caught numerous times checking out his own ass in the mirror. To top it all off, the cameras caught him picking a pretty decent sized booger out of his nose. Apparently, A-Rod is just as tragic off the field.


Werthwhile Move For The Nats?

This post isn’t really about Jayson Werth, but his signing did trigger a chain of events that caused me to take notice of the Washington Nationals. In regards to his huge contract, Werth said something to the effect of it shows that the Nats are ready to win. He and Ryan Zimmerman make a solid nucleus. I immediately got curious to see where the Nationals were at in terms of talent on their roster. So I checked out their depth chart, and I’m not impressed. I like to think I’m a pretty big sports fan, but I literally have not heard of half of their roster. Half of the guys I do know are probably just the result of scouring the fantasy waiver wire. I mean, I’ve heard of Nyjer Morgan and Ian Desmond, but I couldn’t really tell you much about them. They have a pitching rotation full of marginal number five starters and I couldn’t tell any of the guys in the bullpen from a group of sales reps at my local Lowe’s. Then today, they dealt one of the few remaining familiar faces, Josh Willingham, to Oakland. Are they really ready to win now, like Werth believes? Hell, if my employer gave me $18mil a year, I’d be unjustifiably optimistic as well. But this brings me to another topic….. the A’s.

We try to not to overdo it with A’s coverage, but Chappy and I are diehards. With the exception of Athleticsnation, there’s not a lot of A’s blogs out there, no matter what Rob Neyer tells us. (Seriously, a blog that’s been around less than two months?) Anyway, people are starting to take notice of the moves the A’s have made this offseason. None are worthy of Carl Crawford or Cliff Lee type press, but Billy Beane is quietly putting together a team that many feel may be able to contend – especially while the Angels, Rangers, and Mariners seem to be hibernating for the winter. So far, they’ve added David Dejesus, Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham, Rich Harden (pending a physical –  never a sure thing with Harden), and Brandon McCarthy. The only notable prospects given up were Vin Mazzaro and Henry Rodriguez. I liked both of them, but neither were a sure thing in the big leagues. Besides, in typical A’s fashion, there are plenty of young arms in the farm system. I can’t help but wonder if the Giants’ World Series victory has forced the A’s hand a bit. They’ve maintained that they’re waiting for a new stadium before they try to contend again, but clearly they’re getting tired of waiting. While I don’t really expect them to make any more major moves (not that I’d call any of the aforementioned moves major), I’m curious to see what happens with Adrian Beltre. He spurned the A’s original offer, which I’m not really complaining about because it was a lot of money and I’m not sure he’s worth it. But it doesn’t seem like anyone else is really making a play for him. Combine that with the bats they’ve added this offseason, and maybe Beltre is warming up to the idea of playing in Oakland. He may not have any choice, unless he wants to take less money to stay in Boston or go somewhere else. While I don’t think Beltre would single-handedly put the A’s over the hump, his addition would give the team a legitimate big-league lineup, as opposed to the AAA roster they’ve been trotting out for the last two seasons. Perhaps it’s time to take part in a favorite pasttime over at AN, and pleasure myself with a little rosterbation. Let’s say the A’s do manage to acquire Beltre. Here’s what the 2011 lineup would look like…..

CF – Coco Crisp

LF – Josh Willingham

RF – David Dejesus

DH – Hideki Matsui

3B – Adrian Beltre

C – Kurt Suzuki

1B – Daric Barton

2B – Mark Ellis

SS – Cliff Pennington

Rotation: Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Braden, Brandon McCarthy (or Josh Outman, or Tyson Ross, or Bobby Cramer, or Rich Harden)

Suddenly, 2011 is looking A LOT better than 2010!


A’s Make a Ripple in the Free Agent Pool

The A’s are finally starting to make some moves this offseason. Patience is a virtue I’m told, but I wanted to see waves crashing in the free agent pool early and often with the money they had available to spend. We barely missed out on the Crawford and Lee sweepstakes, and according to my insider information, they were in the running for both players, until someone else put in their first offer that we couldn’t quite match. Oh well, today we got a Japanese guy, but not the one I originally thought we would. Initially it looked like Hisashi Iwakuma would be joining the A’s pitching rotation next year, but the talks hit a stalemate, and he decided to stay in Japan or maybe the A’s were just blocking their division opponents from getting him. Today we found our DH for the upcoming season though in Hideki Matsui or as most know him Godzilla. We paid Matsui just under $5M for the up coming season, which is about double what Cust was making last year as our DH. I can tell you for sure that I’d much rather see Godzilla striking out with runners on base than Cust. Maybe the Asian bias comes in a little, but he is a big upgrade over Cust, which MCeezy already expressed. Who knows since the A’s never say anything that was said behind closed doors. It already feels like a much better buy than last year’s acquisition of Ben Sheets who never really saw the mound that much. Matsui at least has a better health track record, and since DH isn’t exactly a strenuous spot I’m not worried. Am I super excited about this signing? Not to the point of writing 1,000 words, but it’s a step in a direction filling a spot that we really needed filled. If he hits 21 homers again like he did last year, he will easily lead the team in that department. Also, I’ve been reading about his signing a lot today, and found out that Matsui has been a longtime A’s fan, and even had their cap back in the 80’s while he was living in Japan. He was really into the Bash Brothers growing up, and that alone just gave me a million extra reasons to like him. Nihon Gambare Godzilla! (Long live Godzilla in Japanese)


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…..


Why Is Bob Geren Still Here?

That’s a rhetorical question. Bob Geren is still here because he’s Billy Beane’s BFF. I just really wish the A’s would try to find a good manager instead of apathetically letting the GM’s buddy run the show. Today, the Oakland Athletics exercised the option on Bob Geren’s contract for 2011, meaning he’ll be back for another year at the helm. It’ll be his 5th year as manager and he has yet to top 76 wins. Granted, he’ll most likely top that this year, but the guy hasn’t even managed a .500 season in his tenure. He has a career record of 302-334. What club actively brings back a manager after four consecutive losing seasons? It’s not like they’re a struggling franchise like the Royals where a 70 win season could be considered a success. This is a team that had EIGHT STRAIGHT WINNING SEASONS, capped by an ALCS berth. Then the Geren era began, and it’s been all losing ever since. Sometimes I feel like Lou Wolf and the A’s ownership are recreating the classic film, Major League – I probably allude to that every time I write about the A’s – except Lou Brown would probably do a better job.

I think it’s time for the A’s to do what the other Oakland teams did and bring back an old coach that had success. The Warriors brought back Don Nelson and before you knew it were back in the playoffs. The Raiders brought back Art Shell and they only gave up 332 points – their lowest in a season to date since the Super Bowl season in 2002. They went 2-14 but that’s neither here nor there. It’s time to bring back Art Howe. Maybe Ken Macha will be available after the Brewers finish the season. Shoot, Don Wakamatsu, former A’s bench coach, is available. Oh wait, we’re locked in on Geren for another sub-.500 year. I guess the A’s are just going to milk another revenue sharing season and let attendance dwindle even more so they can continue to build their case to leave Oakland. I’m fed up with this charade. The fanbase is there, but this ownership regime continues to alienate. I’m the biggest A’s fan I know, but it’s hard to support a group that simply can’t compete. Sure, there are some great young players, and the future is bright, yada yada yada. But Get Carter had a great cast and that doesn’t make it a good movie. Anyway, I’ll sit through one more year. It’s not like they signed Geren to an extension; they just exercised his option. That’s same thing as someone putting on Get Carter, so you sit through it, as opposed to going to the theater and buying a ticket. I’ll tell you this much though, if the A’s buy a ticket to Get Geren next year, I’m done. But by then they’ll probably have a deal in place to move somewhere so I won’t really care…..


Cahill’s a Contender, But It’s Felix’s Cy Young To Lose

I was all fired up to write a Cahill for the AL Cy Young Award last night, but sadly he got shelled for 8 runs by the Yankees. His ERA ended up ballooning from 2.43 to 2.82 dropping him from second to third in ERA. He held the lead in WHIP with an amazing 0.99, but that ballooned to 1.07 after last night, and now he’s now second behind Cliff Lee in that department. He was going to need to lead those key categories if he was going to have any chance in winning a Cy Young. Cahill missed April with an injury, so he had some ground to make up in innings pitched to be considered. Since he doesn’t strike out a lot of guys he needed to keep that ERA and WHIP down to get any Cy Young votes. He’s about as dominating a ground ball pitcher as you can be, but voters value K’s A LOT, so falling out of the lead of those two major categories might have pushed him out of the Cy talks. Until last night, he’d lasted five or more innings, and given up seven or fewer hits in all 23 of his starts. That was broken up yesterday, but the streak was still good enough for an Oakland record, which is surprising thinking of all the pitching greats that have donned the green and gold over the years. I ended up posting Stealing First Base last night, because I was rattled by this rare ugly start for our 22 year old sensation. If he’d shut down the Yankees, there would be more optimism in his Cy Young candidacy. At this moment, I can’t really put him at the top, so I’d probably drop him down to the second tier where I have CC, Bucholtz, and Wilson. He’s got a month left to get a new streak of zeros going, but the way Felix has been firing on all cylinders he’s the man to dethrone now.

If it was decided today, I’d would crown King Felix with the AL Cy Young. He’s been phenomenal after a so-so May. If he played for any team but Seattle, he’d at least have 15 wins. If he was on the Yankees he’d probably have as many wins if not more than CC’s 18. A 10-10 record isn’t anything to write home about, but I care a lot more about the pure pitching numbers, and the 24 year old is having another great season. He’s lost a number of games where his team only scored one run for him or in some cases was completely shut out. Nothing surprising coming out of Seattle since they own the lowest total amount of runs scored in all of baseball. They can’t even score as much as Pittsburgh! Just checking out his game log, it tells the story of his lack of run support. Quality start after quality start, and nothing in the win column to show for it. Over his last 15 starts he’s pitched at least 6.2 innings, and has given up only three runs three times, and two or less runs in the other twelve starts. He’s currently second in K’s (192), second in ERA (2.47), third in WHIP (1.11), leads in IP (204.1), and is holding hitters to a .225 BA (sixth best in the AL). I’ve found myself feeling sorry for the guy. Every time he goes out there he gets the least run support of any of the candidates, and the Seattle crowd knows it, giving him standing ovations even when he leaves the game behind on the scoreboard, because they know they are watching a great pitcher that gave them everything he had. Maybe I’m picking him because I thought he deserved it last year or because he’s on one of my fantasy teams. If it weren’t for Greinke’s freakish year that made Felix an afterthought when the award was handed out, he could be going for back to back awards. Even Greinke got better run support in his Cy Young season last year than Felix has had these past two seasons. I know the award isn’t given out based on a two year period, but consistency can be taken into considered in a year that the award could go either way. Kind of like when Kobe and Barkley won their MVP awards in the NBA. Kobe wasn’t the overly obvious choice for the award, but sometimes you have to reward someone that is at the top for an extended period of time. Same went for Barkley, they might have been tired of giving it to Jordan,  so they threw in a change up and gave it to the big man who finished runner up a few times. If Felix keeps doing what he’s been doing, he should win the award! Now that I’ve said all that, I bet Felix gets blown up by the Angels tonight…


Ghost Riding With Firemen and White Boys

I’ve always maintained that this first clip was the best Ghost Ride clip of all time. What inspired them to ghost ride the Volvo you ask? Moving the A’s from Oakland to Freemont!! I guess I dubbed it as the best ghost ride of all time partly because of the set up, and I agreed with it fully at the time. Plus, does anyone NOT feel like Ghost Ridin when they hear Mistah FAB? Today Dyslecix threw in a new challenger to the ring. These firemen didn’t have a set up, but they really didn’t need one. It was cool they could use 10 guys in the strut. I saw a couple solid C-walks, and some “dougie” moves thrown in there. I don’t think it was quite enough to beat out the A’s fans, but let us know which one you found more entertaining in the poll below.

VS.

If you have any other submissions, please let us know! doinworkstaff@gmail.com


Optimistic For Oakland Part I: Athletics

When MCeezy and I were in China, we were disappointed to see Stomper on a Chinese billboard, because the A's were struggling at the time, but maybe the trip overseas showed him what he was missing!

I’m very excited for all three of the Oakland franchises’ futures, more so than I have been for long while. I feel weird, because I’m not expecting/demanding playoff runs from any of them, but instead am just happy that all three franchises will be worth watching for the next couple of years, which is more than I can say for the last two years. It has been a downtime for all the Oakland sports area the last few years in terms of success, so naturally, there’s really only one way to go, up. So this three part series will be about why the fans of Oakland’s franchises can finally be optimistic about the future! Let’s start with the Oakland A’s, since their season is still going on, and everyone overlooks them outside of the Bay Area, and even in their area they are under covered because of the recent Giants success.

Today it was reported that our highly touted prospect, Chris Carter, is going to be called up to join the Athletics roster in Seattle tonight. I couldn’t be more pumped. Even if they weren’t planning on it, the injuries to Barton and everyone in the outfield made it a necessary move. I thought this would happen sooner in the season, but now is as good of a time as any with the DL getting even more crowded adding Matt Watson yesterday. Although I don’t see this move getting us to the playoffs this year, it will give us a better idea of what we have waiting in the wings for next year, and this is a move that has rejuvenated my enthusiasm that much more for the A’s. If you didn’t know, Chris Carter is the best power hitting prospect we have in our farm system, and we got him as part of the Dan Haren trade to Arizona that keeps on giving (we got Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Carter, Gregg Smith, as the major pieces that have made an impact so far). I hope Carter hits a few bombs, and supplants Cust as the DH/Platoon LF for the rest of the year.

Oakland currently sits in 2nd place, 7 ½ games back of Texas in the AL West. They still play seven more games against Texas this season, and have a mild shot at weaseling out an AL West title or maybe a Wild Card spot if Tampa Bay falls apart. Not that I see that happening, but I can always hope that the standings tighten up a little as we get closer to the end of the season. Seriously though, with close to 50 games left, a there is room for movement! Texas is heading to NY, BOS, TB, BAL, and MIN. The A’s meanwhile head to SEA, MIN, TOR, TB, and CLE. I view the Rangers schedule as harder (feel free to disagree I’d like to hear that argument), so we could conceivable be 3-6 games out going into our next series against Texas. If Texas starts faltering, the A’s could sneak up on everyone! Also, this season has made me like our manager, Bob Geren a little bit more. I’ve never been a fan, but seeing how he’s kept this youthful team together through tons of injuries over the last couple years, you have to give him some of the credit no matter how many of his late inning moves I don’t agree with. Continue reading


Let the Chris Carter Era Begin!

I still haven’t given up on the A’s making a run at the AL West, especially when they’re opening up a three game series against a last place team who just fired their manager, and the team they’re chasing is about to run a gauntlet of the top teams in the AL East. But regardless of how that ends up panning out, tonight is an exciting occasion because it will be the major league debut of Chris Carter. You may remember Carter as the player the White Sox traded for Carlos Quentin. Or better yet, you may remember him as one of the 14 players the A’s acquired for Dan Haren. Now that Carlos Gonzalez is lighting up the NL, Carter remains as the most highly touted prospect in that deal. Brett Anderson has already established himself as a legitimate big league starter, but Carter is the one who has the most upside.

It was 339 days ago today that Chris Carter made his AAA debut. Why do I know that? Because I posted about it when it happened, so there’s proof that I was on the bandwagon a long time ago.  There’s a good chance that he’ll go 0-4 with 3 Ks tonight – he’s not exactly a “for average” hitter, but the power is there. Picture a right handed Jack Cust. NO, don’t do that! Let’s let Carter create his own description, because barring any disaster, he’ll be far better than Cust ever was.