Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:56 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 2:18 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
"Moneyball" hit movie theaters everywhere late this past summer and Brad Pitt-as-Billy Beane told us the A's have to be creative to compete in an unfair baseball landscape. There are haves and have-nots, the protagonist would tell us. And we all know the Oakland Athletics are have-nots in the salary-capless land of Major League Baseball. So what if the A's could afford to keep all their own guys? Surely they'd be much better, right? Uh ...
1. Jemile Weeks, 2B
2. Nick Swisher, CF
3. Andre Ethier, RF
4. Jason Giambi, 1B
5. Ryan Ludwick, LF
6. Kurt Suzuki, C
7. Ramon Hernandez, DH
8. Mark Teahen, 3B
9. Cliff Pennington, SS
1. Tim Hudson
2. Trevor Cahill
3. Dallas Braden
4. Tyson Ross
5. Joe Blanton
Yes, Braden was out for the season in real life, but we've got Rich Harden waiting in the wings. Oh, and yes, Harden is hurt all the time. So then we'd turn to Barry Zito.
Closer - Andrew Bailey
Set up - Huston Street, Santiago Casilla, Henry Rodriguez, Joel Peralta, Sam Demel
Long - Harden, Zito
Notable Bench Players
Miguel Olivo, John Baker, Gerald Laird -- yes, those three are all catchers, just like our DH -- Eric Chavez and Travis Buck.
Hey, at least we'd never run out of catchers with this group. There are four major-league caliber starters, even if some are lower-tier, and one quality backup in Laird. So the Athletics churn out catchers. Really, though, the strength of this team is unsurprisingly the pitching. The starting rotation is good, but not great. Hudson is steady and Cahill was very good in 2010. Blanton was good in 2009 but has battled injuries and ineffectiveness since then. Ross did show great promise before his injury last season, though. The bullpen is pretty good, too. Bailey is a solid closer and Street would be a fine eighth-inning man with Casilla and fireballer Rodriguez also setting the table.
Giambi and Ludwick in the middle of the order isn't near as potent nowadays as it would have been a handful of years ago. Plus, could Giambi even play everyday anymore? If not, our next option is playing a catcher, Chavez or Buck at first base. That's weak. In fact, at this point in time, there aren't many spots where the hitter is well above average for his slot. Swisher and Ethier are good, but they aren't elite second or third hitters. Weeks could prove an elite leadoff hitter as soon as 2012, but we don't have a large enough sample yet to declare that. Ramon Hernandez had a good past two offensive seasons, but take him out of the NL Central and Great American Ball Park and put him in the AL West in Oakland. That's a big difference. So while the offense isn't atrocious, it's not very good either -- and there is no bench depth anywhere but catcher. Also, Swisher's out of position in center, but, again, we don't have any other options.
Comparison to real 2011
While the rotation and bullpen are good, they are far from great, and the position players here just aren't enough. This team would be below average, an 85-90 loss ballclub. The real-life A's went 74-88, so I'd say it's just about the same result.
And we can now see the biggest problem. Of course it's tough to compete as a small-market team in a football stadium, but the A's haven't been drafting very well. They've made some good trades, sure, but also some pretty bad ones. For example, they spun Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith for Matt Holliday back in 2008, but then dealt Holliday at the next trade deadline for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson. So, yes, one reason the A's can't compete anymore in the AL West is because they don't have the money to retain or sign new expensive veterans. But another reason is they just aren't churning out draft picks like the Rays, for example, are.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Tags: Andrew Bailey, Athletics, Barry Zito, Billy Beane, Cliff Pennington, Dallas Braden, Eric Chavez, Gerald Laird, Henry Rodriguez, Homegrown, Huston Street, Jason Giambi, Jemile Weeks, Joe Blanton, Joel Peralta, John Buck, Kurt Suzuki, Mark Teahen, Miguel Olivo, Nick Swisher, Ramon Hernandez, Rich Harden, Ryan Ludwick, Sam Demel, Santiago Casilla, Tim Hudson, Travis Buck, Trevor Cahill, Tyson Ross
Posted on: May 25, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 3:05 pm
By Evan Brunell
The Nationals have elevated Henry Rodriguez into a setup role, dropping once-closer Sean Burnett into a middle relief capacity.
Burnett, who battled Drew Storen for the closer's job all season before recently losing it outright, will now be used to face tough left-handers and soak up innings in middle relief while Henry Rodriguez will join Tyler Clippard in high-leverage outings.
“To cut to the chase, I’ve got a guy throwing 100 miles an hour down there,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told the Washington Post. “If I can pitch him in the eighth inning, he’s going to pitch. They’re going to have to beat him instead of my left-hander. [Right-handed batters], they’re going to thank me for not bringing Rodriguez in.”
Rodriguez, acquired from the Athletics in the offseason, has impressed during his short time in Washington. After missing the start of the year due to arm problems, Rodriguez has tossed 10 2/3 innings, whiffing 16. Despite adding seven walks, he's shown enough so far that Riggleman sees the potential of Rodriguez in the late innings.
Riggleman dropped Rodriguez, 24, into a one-out situation in the eighth inning with no one on base Tuesday. Rodriguez ended up blowing his chance as he gave up a single and a walk preceding a two-run hit that kissed the chalk, barely fair. However, those circumstances, tied in with Rodriguez's potential, will keep him in the eighth inning moving forward.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 16, 2010 12:17 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2010 4:08 pm
You know, it might be time to start keeping an eye on the Athletics.
They went 81-81 last season, and their weakness was clear: They pitched great, but they couldn't hit. But Oakland has made big moves on offense so far this winter and could be poised to make another. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the A's are in "serious discussions" to get outfielder Josh Willingham from the Nationals.
When you consider that the three outfielders who made the most starts for the A's last season combined for seven homers -- yes, seven -- they're looking at a big outfield upgrade. Coco Crisp played in just 75 games last season due to injuries, but if he returns to form he'll be productive in the leadoff spot. The A's got David DeJesus, a high average guy with a little power, in November. Adding Willingham, who's good for 20-plus homers when healthy, would give Oakland a formidable outfield.
The Nationals' motivation for moving Willingham would be money. He made $4.6 million last season and is arbitration-eligible, and Washington needs to pay Jayson Werth. They also could have other moves in the works, reportedly pursuing trades for pitchers Zack Greinke and Matt Garza and bidding on first basemen Adam LaRoche and Derrek Lee.
Rosenthal said the Nationals would get two minor leaguers from the A's in exchange for Willingham.
UPDATE: Buster Olney of ESPN.com says via Twitter the teams have a deal in principle, with the Nats getting "two young players, one of whom has major league experience."
-- David Andriesen
UPDATE : The deal is done. Washington receives fireballing reliever Henry Rodriguez, who can touch 100 mph, and minor-league outfilelder Corey Brown. Reports had GM Mike Rizzo demanding more for Willingham so this is a bit of a surprise, but the motivation may have been to get the left-fielder out of town after Rizzo refused to extend Willingham.Rodriguez is the man with MLB experience and threw the second-fastest fastball in the bigs in 2010, touching 103.2 mph. He appeared in 29 games, hurling 27 2/3 innings of a 4.55 ERA, punching out 33 but walking 13. The 23-year-old will compete for the closer's job in Washington, which is wide open.
Brown, meanwhile, is a left-handed outfielder who appeared in Triple-A for the first time in 2010 as a 24-year-old. He hit just .193/.253/.378 in 148 plate appearances. He did, however, bash Double-A to the tune of .320/.415/.502 in 386 PA. With 22 stolen bases on the season, Brown could develop into a solid fourth outfielder for Washington.
Still, this package feels light for Willingham. Oh well, that's to Oakland's benefit who now have to figure out which starting outfielder hits the bench.
-- Evan Brunell