Who’s a keeper?

Time to throw one out to the readers today. The return of Travis Buck on Tuesday and Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Denorfia last night has created an outfield that resembles a flock of sheep. No way they’re all going to get a look over the final 10 days. So the question for you today is this:

Who’s a keeper?

In fact, we could spread that around to the rest of the roster as well. As they A’s go forward in their rebuilding projects, which parts of the puzzle do you feel have been identified?

I’ll say this. I think Ryan Sweeney potentially could be a stud, but I thought the same thing about Buck last season. I’m impressed with Aaron Cunningham, but who wasn’t impressed with Daric Barton last September? Kurt Suzuki? Probably the most improved guy on the team, but can he keep it up playing 145 games a year? Greg Smith and Dana Eveland? Might be decent back-end-of-the-rotation guys (and Smith may prove to be more). Dallas Braden? Can’t say I’d be that confident making him a staple.

Anyway, going forward, who should be a part of this team’s future, and who shouldn’t?


  • J Canseco

    Depressing topic, bro.

  • Bee

    One wonders if that is Jose Canseco who posted a response or someone spoofing him.

    As for who are the outfield keepers, here are my two bits:

    Ryan Sweeney – definitely a keeper

    Carlos Gonzales – definitely a keeper, needs to work on his power stroke

    Travis Buck – probably a keeper if he has a good spring

    Rajai Davis – probably a keeper, especially if he bats as well as he has in the lead-off position. He could be a true lead-off hitter, which we haven’t had in a very long time.

    Aaron Cunningham – maybe/probably if he doesn’t turn into this year’s Darick Barton at the plate. He’s made some great plays in left field.

    Chris Denorfia – doubtful unless he blows away the competition next Spring.

    Emil Brown – don’t know his contract status but he is a so-so outfielder and his bat has gone quiet, so he is very doubtful IMHO.

    There is something terribly appealing with a Gonzales-Sweeney-Buck-Davis outfield combination. If Geren wants to go with 5 outfielders, then Cunningham is my choice for the fifth.

    As for others,

    Pitchers: lose DiNardo and Meyer–they flat-out can’t pitch. And the same for Keith Foulke–yesterday’s performance was shameful and painful to watch for we folks in the stands. Maybe it’s time for Embry to retire. He gave away quite a few games this year, although he has been pitching better lately.

    Infielders: I hope they can resign Ellis. I feel really comforable with Ellie and Crosby in the middle infield. If no Ellie, I am not sure that Patterson is up to the job, especially at the plate. Maybe Gregorio Petit can step in. He was tearing up AAA in Aug/Sept. As for 1st base, Darick Barton needs to step up his hitting. His fielding is fine. If he doesn’t hit better, Wes Banston or Jeff Baisley or even Casey Ragowski (AAA) should vie for the position.

    At the hot corner, what is Chavvy’s status at this point healthwise? If he can come back, that would be great. If he can’t, then I like Hannahan in the field, but at the plate he leaves a lot to be desired. Other than that we have the rookies (Pennington, et al). Maybe this is one place that Beane might trade for someone.

    Probably more than you wanted, but there you have it.
    Go A’s!

  • Mike

    Just my take…

    If Sweeney and Gonzalez have strong futures in Oakland (and it appears that they do) then Cunningham may get the nod over Buck if all other things are equal simply because he’s a right-handed stick.

    I’ve seen enough of Rajai Davis to believe that he would be exposed offensively over a 162 game season, but that he can contribute nicely as a 4th outfielder who plays semi-regularly and gives the club a nice piece in the lead-off spot.

    Buck, Denorfia, et al are moved for infield prospects.

    The infield is a mess. I’m not convinced that any infielder currently in the organization even has a ceiling of becoming a league average player. Hannahan has a nice glove but can’t hit at this level. Patterson has looked overmatched at times. Pennington has barely put up average offensive numbers at every stop. The Crosby deal has pretty much played itself out. Ellis is an iffy bat and a bad shoulder that just got worse.

    The only player who gets a pass in this mess is Barton, who is still only 22 and has hit at or near .300 at every level. His is a maturity issue, not a talent one.

    The rotation and pen look solid going forward, with Eveland and Smith being favorites of mine. Smith has a Joe Saunders ceiling at least, and Eveland has looked like a completely different pitcher since returning from the minors with a simplified delivery.

    I’m amazed at how quickly fans have turned on Sean Gallagher. What we saw in his last start is what he is truly capable of when not hiding an injury or overpitching to impress his new club. He will develop into a solid 2 or 3 – possibly even as soon as next season.

    Gi isn’t there yet, but he’s going to be. The question is, what will he be in 2009? Can he mature quickly enough to nail down the #5 spot? I think Braden is kept around almost entirely for this reason. If Gio isn’t ready, he wins the #5 job. If he is, Braden becomes the swing man or trade bait.

    That leaves the #1 spot open. Duchscherer has pitched like he’s capable of handling it, but can he stay healthy? My guess is that Beane decides he can’t, and will let him walk in free agency. That necessitates spending the money to bring in a solid veteran if the club has vision of competing in ’09. If 2010 is the goal, then Cahill and Anderson enter the picture, and ST 2009 gets REALLY interesting from a rotation competition standpoint.

    No problems at catcher. As long as Suzuki can handle the rigors of catching 145 games a year, he will develop into one of the 10 best catchers in baseball – he’s knocking on the door already.

    The guy I’m most interested in watching next season won’t even crack the major league roster. Can Chris Carter repeat his 40 HR performance next season in AA? The answer to that question may dictate a lot of moves that the A’s do or don’t make late next year, as he could be the big, young RH power bat this club so desperately needs.