There’s been plenty of talk about John Jaso moving from catcher to DH for the A’s this year.
It may have been nothing more than just talk.
A’s manager Bob Melvin went out of his way Saturday to stress that as long as Jaso’s health is such that he can get behind the plate, he will.
“As long as he’s healthy and can catch,’’ Melvin said, “he’ll be a catcher.’’
That says two important things about the A’s roster moving forward.
If you were in Safeco Field on April 21, 2012, you may have thought, as Philip Humber did, that he had it all going.
Humber, then starting for the White Sox, threw a perfect game against Seattle in his second start of the season
“I thought, `Is this really happening?’ ’’ Humber said. “Then I thought I can continue to dominate in this league.’’
The A’s have some serious decisions to make before the evening is over.
The club has nine men on the roster who are arbitration eligible and by 9 p.m. this evening Oakland must decide which of the nine will be tendered contracts.
The group includes pitchers Jerry Blevins, Jesse Chavez and Fernando Rodriguez, catcher John Jaso, first basemen Daric Barton and Brandon Moss, shortstop Jed Lowrie and outfielders Josh Reddick and Seth Smith.
Those players who are tendered contracts are those the club is willing to go to salary arbitration with, although typically the A’s like to avoid arbitration whenever possible. Non-tendered players become free agents.
When Josh Reddick doesn’t hit – and too often this year that’s been an ongoing story – there are questions that A’s manager Bob Melvin gets as to why Reddick is in the lineup.
Friday should have dispelled some of those questions. For the fifth time in his last eight games, the rifle-armed Reddick threw out a runner, this time preventing Detroit from scoring a fourth run and potentially blowing open Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
With slow-footed Victor Martinez on second base, Omar Infante sliced a single past first baseman Daric Barton. Martinez got a good jump, but as we say, isn’t fast. Still Reddick came up throwing to catcher Stephen Vogt to get the out and keep the A’s deficit at the time at 3-0.
The A’s started Friday with a good idea of how they’d be structuring their starting lineup in the playoffs.
Then they played the first game of their final series with the Mariners and things changed dramatically.
The idea was that Yoenis Cespedes, who hadn’t been in left field since Sept. 13, was once again healthy, able to throw and ready to man his position. He’d play all three games in left this weekend to get himself ready for the playoffs.
That meant the resurrected Daric Barton was ready to play first base and Brandon Moss, who can play both first base and the outfield, was going to be the designated hitter. He was in Friday’s lineup as the DH, the first time all season that’s happened.
A’s right fielder Josh Reddick may have played his way back into a start or two in the near future.
Talking before the game, manager Bob Melvin said he was finding it difficult to put Reddick, who hasn’t played in over two weeks thanks to a wrist injury, into the lineup. Brandon Moss and Daric Barton both are doing well in Reddick’s absence and the A’s were 11-4 since Reddick’s injury.
The A’s made it 12-4 Wednesday, but the scope of the win, 18-3, and the fact that the A’s scored early and often changed the dynamics for Reddick.
Jason Kubel, the kind of useful player that the A’s dote on, just became available when the Arizona Diamondbacks put him on the designated for assignment list before Tuesday’s game.
That means the Diamondbacks have 10 days to trade him, release him or, if he goes unclaimed on waivers, to sign him to a minor league contract.
It might well be worth the A’s effort to put in a claim on him. He’s a 31-year-old left-handed hitter with power, and with the A’s having lost one of their prime left-handed hitters, Josh Reddick, until probably the middle of September if not the remainder of the season, Kubel could fit right in.
Nate Freiman, internet sensation.
Well, not quite up to Justin Bieber standards, perhaps, but a pieced-together video of Freiman’s slide at home plate was making the rounds Monday night and Tuesday.
The 6-foot-8 A’s rookie first baseman, not the fastest man on the field, galloped home from second base and did a part-dive, part-slide, part-scramble, getting his hand across home plate for the run that put the A’s ahead to stay in an 8-6 win over the Tigers.
Asked what an East German Olympic judge would give Freiman on form, shortstop Jed Lowrie said, “not a 10.0.’’
The A’s have some decisions to make in the next week, and not all of them are clear cut.
Between now and Friday, outfielders Chris Young and Coco Crisp and starting pitcher Brett Anderson are likely to come off the disabled list.
It seems a no-brainer that Dan Straily will be the odd man out in the rotation. He has made three starts with Anderson out, and is due to make another against Texas Wednesday, two days before Anderson (sprained right ankle) is first eligible to come off the disabled list.
Young and possibly Crisp could come off the disabled list on Wednesday, and while it’s certain that Michael Taylor, who has an .063 average and hasn’t driven in a run, will be sent down, choosing between the other two candidates, Luke Montz and Daric Barton, will be a matter of just what kind of flexibility A’s manager Bob Melvin wants.
Grant Balfour has rung up a save in every game he’s pitched this month.
Before Saturday night, that meant both of them. Pitching for the first time in six days, Balfour put two men on but pitched out of trouble to secure the A’s 4-3 win over Seattle that brought a five-game losing streak to an end.
And if there is anything that underscores the problems the A’s are having these days, it’s that they had not been finding chances for Balfour to do his ninth-inning thing.
He hasn’t blown a save all year, but he only has six chances. Either the A’s are behind late, which has been the problem in recent days, or they’ve had more than a three-run lead, which was the case much of the time in a 16-12 April.