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Oakland Athletics MLB News - A’s Baseball Blog » 2007 » February

Look for a healthy Chavez to rebound at 3B

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Monday 26 February 2007 at 1:17 pm

29 year old lefty swinging Eric Chavez played through injuries all of last season but the A’s hope the winter of rest will help him rebound this year. Chavez played in 137 games last season and only hit .241 with 22 homers, 72 RBIs and a .786 OPS. His injuries didn’t effect his defense as he only made 5 errors last season while showing off outstanding range. Look for Chavez to have a big season now that he’s healthy.

26 year old Antonio Perez will likely be Chavez’ back up this season. But he also needs to rebound with the bat in his hands as he only hit .102 with a .389 OPS in 57 games for the A’s last season. This was coming off a season where Perez hit .297 with a .758 OPS in 98 games for the Dodgers in 2005 and the A’s need him to produce like that if he’s going to make the team. Perez is starting to look a lot like Charles Thomas…another player that had a good NL season that Billy Beane traded for that turned into a bust. Perez did show great range at third but he made 4 errors in 27 games there and he needs to improve on that.

31 year old Marco Scutaro can play third in a pinch, but he’s not a good defender there. He only played in 12 games at 3B and made 3 errors. 36 year old Lou Merloni could also fill in at 3B. He played 3 games there for the Indians last season and didn’t make an error.

The A’s need something out of Bobby Crosby

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Monday 26 February 2007 at 12:58 pm

It looks to me like the A’s made a huge mistake letting Miguel Tejada bolt in free agency and giving the keys to Bobby Crosby. Sure, he won the Rookie of the Year award in 2004, but that was a weak rookie class. Crosby could be the most overrated player in major league baseball! He’s just not a good player. Last season, Crosby hit .229 with 9 homers, 40 RBIs, 8 steals and a weak .636 OPS in 96 games. He’s only played in 180 games the last two seasons as he proving to be an very injury prone, brittle baseball player. Crosby did show slightly above average range while making 12 errors in 95 games. He needs to improve his defense a little bit, stay healthy and prove that he can hit at the major league level. He will have another injury filled, underachieving year again this season.

31 year old Marco Scutaro will likely get a lot of playing time at shortstop this season for the A’s. Scutaro doesn’t have much range at short and he made 9 errors there in only 69 games there. He will need to improve on defense this season, but he’s still a nice bench player for the A’s.

27 year old Antonio Perez could also play shortstop in a pinch as he played 4 games there and didn’t make an error.

The A’s are in good hands at 2B

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Monday 26 February 2007 at 12:46 pm

29 year old Mark Ellis could probably win a Gold Glove if he could ever stay healthy. Ellis played in 123 games for the A’s at 2B last season and he showed fantastic range and only made 2 errors all season. He didn’t hit as well as he did in 2005 (.316, .861 OPS), but he wasn’t totally awful either. Ellis hit .249 with 11 homers, 52 RBIs and a .704 OPS last year. Look for Ellis to hit a lot better than last season but not as good as he did in 2005. Defense is his main contribution to the A’s and that will still be the case this season, and if he plays in 140+ games….his glove will be Golden.

31 year old Marco Scutaro is an unsung hero on the A’s as he backs up both Bobby Crosby and Mark Ellis and that is a full time job. He hit a solid .266 with 5 homers, 41 RBIs and a .747 OPS in 117 games last season. Scutaro only made 1 error in 37 games at 2B last season for the A’s and he showed decent range there. Look for Scutaro to be an important player for the A’s this season as either Crosby/Ellis will probably miss time this season to injury.

The A’s brought in 24 year old Donnie Murphy from the Kansas City Royals. Murphy only hit .249 with 14 homers, 45 RBIs and a .737 OPS in 94 games in AA ball. He last played in the majors with the Royals in 2005 and he’s played in 39 major league games in his career and has a career batting average of .163 with a .497 OPS. The A’s would likely have to have some major injuries before Murphy got a chance, but with the injury history of the A’s infield he could get a chance at some point.Â

Soon to be 36 year old Lou Merloni has been brought in to compete for a bench job on the A’s. He played in 9 games for the Indians last season (3 at 2B) and he hit .211 with a .549 OPS. Merloni did play in 91 games in AAA last season and he hit .285 with a .776 OPS. Merloni has a career average of .271 in 9 years in the majors, so he’s a great insurance policy for the A’s.

27 year old Antonio Perez could also get some playing time at 2B, but he only played 2 games there last season.

The A’s re-sign Hiram Bocachica

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures, Bloglockers, Front Page by chinmusic on Sunday 25 February 2007 at 8:45 pm

The A’s re-signed Hiram Bocachica to a minor league contract and invited him to camp. Bocachica thought that he would be able to hook on with another major league team and that’s why he refused a minor league assignment by the A’s. He was wrong and can’t play for the A’s until May 1st because of the refusal to go to the minors.

The A’s release Hiram Bocachica

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures, Bloglockers, Front Page by High Heat on Friday 23 February 2007 at 11:47 am

The A’s released Hiram Bocachica because they needed the roster spot to claim Lenny DiNardo. This isn’t much of a loss for the A’s as he hit only .156 in 17 games for the A’s in 2005 and 2006.

The A’s claim lefty reliever Lenny Dinardo off waivers from the Red Sox

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures, Bloglockers, Front Page by High Heat on Thursday 15 February 2007 at 4:21 pm

The Red Sox didn’t have any room on their roster for the 27 year old reliever so the A’s claimed him. The A’s are looking at him as lefty insurance behind Alan Embree who is 37 years old. Dinardo had a rough season as he was 1-2 with a 7.85 ERA and a 2.08 WHIP in 39 innings for the Red Sox last year. He does have talent though so the A’s will give him chance to prove himself in Spring Training.

The A’s to try another old timer at DH this season

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by High Heat on Monday 12 February 2007 at 11:40 pm

Finally, 38 year old Mike Piazza will get to serve a role he was born for. A close look at Piazza’s numbers suggest that Billy Beane has made a good gamble. Piazza has maintained his power over the last three seasons despite numbers that don’t look that great on the surface. Piazza has hit a homer every 20.5 at bats and knocked in a run every 6.8 at bats over the last three years, so the added playing time + no wear and tear from catching= a big year with the bat for Mike Piazza. He could hit just as well as Frank Thomas did last season. Also, moving out of Petco Park should really boost his power numbers.

The A’s are likely to platoon at First Base this season

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by High Heat on Saturday 10 February 2007 at 9:21 am

27 year old lefty swinging Dan Johnson will likely get the starts against right handed pitching if he can rebound from a terrible second season in the majors. Johnson hit only .234 with 9 homers, 37 RBIs and a .704 OPS in only 286 at bats last season. He needs to get back to where he was as a rookie in 2005 if he wants to keep his job. Johnson hit .275, with 15 homers, 58 RBIs and a .806 OPS in 2005 and that’s what the A’s want from him this season. He’s a decent defender as he made only 4 errors in 714.2 innings last season.

26 year old switch hitter Nick Swisher will likely play first base against lefty starters and right field against righty starters. Swisher had a great season last year and the A’s hope he can either repeat it or improve on it. He hit .254 last season and it’s hard to say how much he can improve on that if he whiffs 152 times again. The A’s don’t want him to cut down on his swing though because they need his power. He had a .865 OPS with 106 runs scored, 35 homers and 95 RBIs and the A’s would love to get those numbers out of him again this season. Swisher is a little robotic on defense at first base, but that’s because he’s a natural outfielder. Still, he needs to improve there as he made 5 errors in only 700 innings there.

The A’s sign outfielder Shannon Stewart

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures, Bloglockers, Front Page by High Heat on Thursday 8 February 2007 at 2:15 pm

The A’s signed Shannon Stewart to compete for time in their outfield. Stewart hit .293 last season with a .715 OPS. He also hit 2 homers and knocked in 21 runs in only 44 games. Stewart has been having problems with his feet, which caused him to miss most of last season. He has been a good player over his major league career and probably still has enough in the tank to be productive for the A’s this season as long as they limit his playing time to keep him healthy.

A’s Catchers

Blogged under Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by High Heat on Monday 5 February 2007 at 4:43 pm

Jason Kendall will get most of the playing time for the A’s behind the plate. He catches more than anyone as he led the majors in innings caught with 1,254 last season. Don’t look for that to change this season. Kendall is an oddity as a hitter for a catcher as he’s a high average/OBP guy that has absolutely no power. He hit .323 in the second half of last season, so the A’s have high expectations for him and they will probably let him bat leadoff. Kendall is pretty dependable as he’s hit .295 the last three seasons combined and has averaged 77.3 runs scored, 51.3 RBIs and 10 steals over that time period. Kendall is a solid defensive catcher as he made only 5 errors and allowed 7 passed balls. He also threw out 24% of the runners that attempted to steal on him.

35 year old, switch hitter Adam Melhuse is the A’s backup catcher. He doesn’t get to play much but he’s not that bad of a player. He hit 4 homers and knocked in 18 runs last season in only 128 at bats. He only hit .219 with a .273 OBP, but in his defense it must be hard keeping sharp when you only play a handful of times per month. Melhuse is a pretty good defensive catcher. He didn’t make an error and he threw out 32% of the base runners that tried to steal on him. He did allow 3 passed balls in his limited time behind the plate…but I’m nitpicking here.

27 year old catcher Jeremy Brown finally made it to the majors last season. He was one of the big stars in Billy Beane’s book “Moneyball” and he hasn’t done much to justify the glowing talk about him. He went 3 for 10 in the majors and he got his first test in AAA last season. He hit .255 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs in AAA. Chances are Brown would get a chance in the majors if Kendall or Melhuse got hurt because they don’t want to waste Mike Piazza behind the plate.

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