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.
As Thursday’s Cactus League lineup suggested, Josh Donaldson is looking at a new role for the A’s in 2014.
He drove in a team-best 93 runs for the A’s last season, mostly batting third, fourth, fifth and sixth. He was in the lineup batting second against the Brewers Thursday, and that’s likely to be where he fits in for Oakland moving forward.
The No.2 slot isn’t typically where teams put their most prolific RBI bat, so it says something about both the A’s and about Donaldson that this is the current thinking regarding the third baseman’s role in 2014.
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.’’
You may have read that John Jaso will head into spring training as the leading contender for the A’s designated hitter chores this year.
Jaso has read it, over and over again. Such is the power of the internet.
But the veteran catcher, whose contract with Oakland for the 2014 season was just finalized, doesn’t take all that talk all that seriously.
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.
If you don’t think there is something wonderful and downright fun about baseball in the playoffs, then you haven’t met Stephen Vogt.
And if you had seen Vogt six months ago, you wouldn’t have seen someone destined for the limelight. You would have seen a man not feeling the wonder, not feeling the fun, just walking through a shopping mall in Durham, N.C., not far from where another minor league catcher, Crash Davis, made a name for himself.
At the time Vogt had close to 1,900 minor league at-bats in which he averaged .299, but in his only 25 at-bats in the big leagues he was a whopping zero, zilch, nada, nyet for 25.
The A’s will be carrying three catchers in the first round of the American League Division Series.
That one of them is Stephen Vogt is not a surprise at this point, Vogt having more than proved himself since … well, since almost being out of baseball earlier this year.
He was in spring training with Tampa Bay, but the Rays didn’t have a spot for someone who was 0-for-25 as a rookie in 2012. The A’s picked him up for a few bucks at a point in April where the Rays seemed destined to cut him loose.
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.
The fact that the A’s were able to clinch the American League West title on Sunday, the final home date of the regular season, worked out well for Billy Beane.
Securing the title meant the A’s general manager could stay at home and not join the team Monday in Anaheim for a possible clinching party there. Beane isn’t much for road trips these days.
As it was, Beane stayed mostly out of the clubhouse celebration Sunday and was uncontaminated by the sprays of champagne and beer that coated most of the rest of the members of his organization.
He was with his twins, Brayden and Tinsley, when I caught up with him far from the madding crowd.
The last time the A’s Jarrod Parker lost a game, Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger seemed like a good idea, Kurt Suzuki was playing for the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants were tied for first place in the National League West.
The Lone Ranger is Hollywood’s flop of the year, the Giants are dead last in the NL West and Suzuki is now back in an Oakland uniform.
Yes, time flies and things change when you are a Major League pitcher with a string of 16 consecutive starts without a loss.