In life, it’s best to go about it removed of preconceptions. Things tend to work out better that way. Besides purging potential disappointment…Ah, fuck it…welcome to the well-worn, mundane path of innocuous disagreement known as Hot Stove Baseball Talk!
If this is a time when Oakland fans are supposed to stand back and admire “The Process” and the genius(es) behind it, then let’s face it, these are moves you imagine and contemplate while hammered at the bar with buddies. Of course, you laugh at the inadequacy, stupidity, and audacity the next day, if not in the present moment. But damned if this isn’t *ahem* reality, or as I like to call it–the “Moneyball Hangover” set in motion due to piss-poor ownership.
Do the “geniuses” ( Is Brad Pitt still part of this process? Inquiring minds want to know)
have deeper insight than I do? Do they feel the same deflation or laid-back apathy? Because the passage of time and the numbers on a page usually tell you the value of a player and his present capabilities. And hardly ever, if ever…lie. And as a fan, you can be caustic and cynical, but also supportive. I believe this is called tough love.
Elvis Andrus: The epitome of average with a career .702 OPS and that includes the younger, career-high years. (The sad thing is that the A’s would settle for that OPS, and for readers that aren’t complete geeks–those numbers would quantify as average–not special, and not a beautiful and unique snowflake.) Every time this guy takes hacks against a Rangers pitcher this season half of his salary would be paid by the team he was trying to hurt–a shocking sign of the absolute desperation to wash their hands of him, and since they are AL West rivals, confidence in the inability to perform against them 18 times. The press releases say he “smiles a lot” and “appears to have a good time.” Oh, goody! We got an old guy with back problems who can’t hit and smiles a lot. I’ll have to remember that next time I’m contemplating watching a game. “We’re getting our asses kicked, but at least ol’ blue suede shoes is out there smiling and having a good time. My mind is at ease now.” That may be fine for the casual fan, but give me a guy like Mark Ellis who never smiled.
silver lining: we needed a SS…nothing more. He’s a body. A very expensive body. D+
Adam Kolarek: He’s a pretty darn good LOOGY (google it) in an era when the LOOGY is dying because the higher strikeout rates soar, the less that exploiting lefty-versus-lefty matchups matters. (And this makes Kolarek especially vulnerable as a ground ball pitcher) Conspiracies aside, he averages less than an inning per appearance but can be a valuable late-inning asset in a tough situation with a left-handed bopper at the dish as they had a minuscule 0.34 WHIP against the guy. If this tall drink of water can give us 50 innings and an ERA a little above or below 3.50 I would consider this a win.
silver lining: shut down the lefties and send their ass to the bench shaking their heads B-
Sergio Romo: Here’s a situation of, “whatever happened to…?” and then you find out he’s a 37-year-old has-been who was dumped by the Marlins and the Twins and is currently doing Kenny Powers cosplay in the Mexican League….because he has risen from the baseball graveyard. At this point in time, he is undoubtedly a gas can as proven in the AL Wildcard last season when he destroyed the Twins chances in the 9th inning of Game 1, essentially giving the Asterisks the win and all the momentum they needed to take the series. Probably not thought of too fondly in Minnesota. This guy was also a prominent SF Giant during their fugazi dynasty, so the fans may not accept him (may even boo him mercilessly, just ask Jim Johnson) if he struggles right away because of provincial disputes.
silver lining: he’s known to have a really good slider and we needed a bullpen guy. I don’t know….apparently any guy. C-
You make me miss live baseball and I love your sense of humor!
Thanks Martha…I like yours too.
Hey me too! I’m only new to this but I feel you , it is really cool, thanks 😉
I’ve never understood the love for Elvis Andrus…except hey…you have a guy named Elvis…Romo? I didn’t know he was still alive until last year in the playoffs…and I found out he wasn’t.
Kolarek will be missed…it was almost a guarantee when he faced a lefty…He was a nice pickup for Oakland. There isn’t much to go on with Neuse. His minor league numbers are alright. The Dodgers wanted a part-time right-handed bat but I would think he will start in the minors.
A lot of Oakland fans were comparing Neuse to Muncy so there’s that. He absolutely tore up AAA but the ball carries in Vegas, so….
For Oakland’s sake I hope not but being a Dodger fan…yea I would love that.
“Kenny Powers cosplay….”
Gary, man, I’m lucky I wasn’t drinking a Coke or even a Heineken at my desk while I read that line!
Great way to describe the guy!
Thanks for checking in Alex. Always good to hear from you.
The best baseball line of the new year is your description of Elvis Andrus as “an old guy with back problems who can’t hit and smiles a lot.” Oh, brother, don’t ever lose that healthy skepticism and excellent built-in b.s. detector.
The Red Sox had Dennis “Ol Can” Boyd and now your A’s have Sergio “Gas Can” Romo.
Just think of how much smiling everyone will be doing watching pitchers like the Tall Drink of Water and the Gas Can standing on the mound, exasperated, as Elvis’ bad back prevents him from reaching ground balls to his left. As a former Oakland Oaks manager once said, “Can’t anybody here play this game?”
The only saving grace is that the A.L. West might be the weakest division in baseball. Hey, not everybody can be the Cards and get a damn superstar! 🙂
Hey Gary. I was watching one of those daily shows on the mlb network, the one hosted by brian kenny. he’s pretty funny. anyway, the trivia question at the end was most consecutive outs recorded. i figured it was harvey haddix or some other old timer. turns out it was yusmeiro petit, back when he was a giant. i had no idea. he’s been a pretty effective middle reliever over the years. glad to see him back in oakland. but i see they signed trevor rosenthal for way too much money.
I’m glad we got Petit back too, and yeah, I was excited about Rodenthal for a hot minute until I saw the contract and was like wtf!? He’s a sevicable closer so I guess I’ll shut the F up about that for now though. Btw…I read Brian Kenny’s book on advanced sabermetrics and it was one of the best baseball books I’ve ever read. Not ss boring as it sounds I can assure you.
Gary, that’s excellent about the Kenny book! i’m gonna definitely order that one. i’m always looking for some clues to better understand metrics. thanks for mentioning it. Kenny’s great. talks so fast, so many ideas spinning around in his head all the time and thankfully, he expresses them.
Ah baseball, baseball, baseball, baseball– a special game that no longer holds the same magic for me as when I was a kid. Player strikes, steroids, unrealistic salaries, and an almost unaffordable cost to attend a game have made me an observer from a distance with only one eye open. And with that said I still love a gem of a story from the past unearthed by a dedicated baseball scribe. Keep writing about your passion, it is good for your soul, be safe.
Thanks, Bill, And I think you’re right about every damn thing you said.
When I saw Romo had been signed, I was reminded that Yusmeiro Petit is still active. And Oliver Perez… Romo was tolerable as a Marlin (I live down here in FLA). He’s been an above average pitcher almost every season he’s been in the majors. Petit you should be familiar with – he was involved in the deal that sent Carlos Delgado to the Marlins in 2004. By the way, his best four seasons have been his last four seasons. I just don’t know if I’d keep betting on that to happen much longer.
Romo is cheap insurance. He might give you 60 good innings. Semien was great in 2019; not so much so last year – which was admittedly hard to evaluate given the circumstances. You may not get a peak level season from Semien again, but it’s still going to be better than Andrus if he bounces back this year. It’d just cost way more. If Semien struggles some, you may feel different about this in September.
Can’t say I disagree with any of this except for Romo. I see him being terrible and relegated to mop-up duty. One of those “Ah, shit. Looks like we lost this one” type of guys. But I hope I’m wrong. Andrus is one of those guys who I always thought was an easy out and now he’s in our lineup! Oh, goody. Hopefully we can “hide” him in the 8th spot and forget he ever existed in 2 years.