Thank goodness it’s over!
That’s about the best thing you can say about the A’s season, especially the second half. It’s been miserable to watch, so I can only imagine how much of a grind it’s been for the players involved. Incidentally, the final numbers: 75 victories (their fewest since 1998); 51 players used, including 24 pitchers; and 11 rookies who made their debut. No matter how you slice it, that generally does not add up to a lot of success.
But hey, it was a rebuilding year right. Really, we won’t be able to tell if 2008 held any success until down the line, when we see how the pieces of ’08 play into ’09 and ’10.
Anyway, we promised you grades. For the players who had a significant impact, here they are:
Joey Devine: What a stud he’ll be if he can make it through an entire season healthy.
Kurt Suzuki: He was the A’s most improved player. Catcher should be fine for the next couple of years.
Ryan Sweeney: He might’ve been the team’s most consistent hitter.
Brad Ziegler: Nobody will ever forget his record 39-inning scoreless streak at start of career.
Jerry Blevins: Showed a lot of promise
Emil Brown: Had a great two months, then didn’t play much. He wasn’t quiet about it, either.
Rajai Davis: Brought a speed dimension the A’s haven’t seen in years, and did well despite not having a well-defined role
Justin Duchscherer: When he pitched, he was great. He just didn’t pitch enough.
Greg Smith: Forget the numbers. He wasn’t in the team’s Opening Day plans, and he got negligible run support. Yet, he stuck around to make a team-high 32 starts.
Dallas Braden: Got himself back in the team’s plans with a good second half
Bobby Crosby: Kudos for staying healthy finally. But he still hasn’t proven he can hit, and he’s not a defensive whiz, either. Don’t be shocked if he’s traded.
Jack Cust: The homers are great, and the walks are nice. But let’s face it. He strikes out way too much, and on a really good team, he’s probably hitting 7th or 8th, if not coming off the bench.
Mark Ellis: As usual, his glove was very good, but he didn’t hit much. Maybe his contract status weighed on him.
Alan Embree: Just a guess, but he probably won’t be back.
Santiago Casilla: Opponents hit .352 against him after his five-week stint on the disabled list. The guess here is that his right elbow was barking.
Dana Eveland: He may prove to be a decent back-end-of-the-rotation guy
Sean Gallagher: As key guy acquisition in Rich Harden trade, he’ll face a lot of pressure next season.
Carlos Gonzalez: He’s got tools. But he wasn’t ready
Jack Hannahan: Only his excellent defense got him a grade this high.
Huston Street: Regained his old form over season’s final month
Daric Barton: Not sure any player had a more disappointing season. He was terrible offensively and defensively, and his stint on the disabled list after diving into a shallow end of a pool showed a remarkable lack of maturity. If he weren’t a rookie, this grade would’ve been an “F.”
Dan Meyer: Anybody else seen enough?
Donnie Murphy: This guy has yet to show he’s a major-league player
Andrew Brown: Proved to be too injury-prone
Travis Buck: Since we base this only on what guys have done with the A’s, this seems the fairest grade to give. He was awful in April and June, terrific after his recall in October. In between, injuries nearly derailed him. Points for his perserverance.
Rob Bowen: He started back-to-back games only once all year. Hard to judge when a guy is used so infrequently.
Eric Chavez: Might be time for him to change positions.
Aaron Cunningham: September success is hard to gauge.
Chris Denorfia: Never got a real long look.
Gio Gonzalez: Next season should be more telling.
Keith Foulke: Again, too often he was injured.
Josh Outman: Too soon to tell.
Cliff Pennington: Showed just enough to earn a long look next spring.
Mike Sweeney: Just a shame that a guy with so much to offer in the clubhouse can’t keep himself on the field.
Frank Thomas: He might be at the end of the line.