Greeting's Northern neighbors, Omaha Hi here. I usually hang out over at the A's Blog, Athletics Nation.
The Athletics start a 3 game series with the Jays on Tuesday. I'm going to answer any questions you might have about how we're playing and the A's in general. I have some questions of my own that maybe you would be so kind to answer, and I will tell you some of what I know about the J's.
All my numbers are going to be OPS or onbase+slugging for hitters. Top 25 in baseball right now is right around Josh Reddick at .878. All my pitching numbers are going to be ERA. Yes Oakland's home park and defense make it look better than it is. But it is a record of whats happened, and you can decide on the value of that. Most A's pitchers have done well on the road.
First some about the A's.
Hottest team in baseball. 14-2 in July.
Its all about the pitching. For the last few months around 75% has been by rookies.
Leads AL in ERA at 3.37. (1st- 2.86 hm/6th 3.99 road) 1st - 2.53 team ERA in July.
Have been using 2 exceptional rookie 8in/closers. All-star Ryan Cook (1.70) and "the Phoenix", Sean Doolittle (1.86, 13.5 k/9). They also use 3-4 other rookie relievers with 1.00-2.00 ERA's cycling through from AAA.
The weakness, the offense. But things are turning around.
13/14 in AL OPS. .680. Our SS, 3b and C all pretty much hit horribly.
8th in AL OPS July at .742.
Have been riding rookie Yoenis Cespedes and 2nd year Josh Reddick, both with ~.885 OPS's. There's also a young 1b platoon that have hit 16 HR in 46 games between them in Chris Carter and Brandon Moss.
The Athletics 11 walk offs lead baseball.
More impressive is 50% of their home games in the last month have been walk-off wins. 8 out of 16 games. Yes, you may need to read that again. I checked it several times. I still could be wrong.
Probable Pitching match-ups
Travis Blackley 2.86 ERA. 61 ip. Lefty soft tosser, 4 of his 5 last starts have been quality. 5th starter picked up as a minor league free agent.
Brett Cecil. 6.34 ERA. 32 ip. This guy looks like a 6th starter. He didn't look like much last year.
A.J. Griffin 2.70 ERA 30 ip. Started the year in AA. 13th rd. pick in 2010. Six strait quality starts to start his career against the likes of BOS, TEX, NYY.
Ricky Romero 5.22 ERA. 122 in. He looks very pedestrian this year. He looked impressive last year. Any guesses?
Tom Milone 3.34 ERA. 121 ip. Came over in the Gio trade. Extreme hm/rd splits (0.91/5.69) but has only given up 3 ER total in last 3 road games.
Arron Laffey. 2.77 ERA. 39 ip. 4/5 quality starts. His AAA and MLB numbers the last few years have been weak sauce. Perhaps he has a new pitch?
What I know about the Blue Jays.
They had the great fortune of the A's dropping Edwin Encarnacion (.971) just after the Jay's dropped him in 2010. This was a bit odd to me at the time as he only ended up costing 6 million/2years. He put up a 20 hr season young, and 1b/dh seemed good enough for me for the A's, let alone the rest of baseball.
Play in the toughest division in baseball (no one under .500). If you have a chance to make the playoffs, you take it. You have not, may not, get many.
Your GM is considered right up there as the best in baseball. A real wizard. Trading with you is a highly dangerous affair and must be triple checked and probably avoided.
On paper your looking very beatable. Jose Bautista (.894) and a league high nine pitchers are on the D.L.
Your 8-9 in July. 6/14 OPS, 8/14 in July. 12/14 ERA. 12/14 in July. Just sweep the Sox In Boston as the bats came alive. But it's the 2012 Sox.
With the trade deadline right around the corner, some rosterbation is in order. Just for shits and giggles lets assume the Jays are going to make a move, and the A's get the dance.
trade questions: what we want
1) There has been a lot of talk on Athletics Nation about the A's making a play for Cuban Yunel Escobar and his cheap 3+ more years contract.
There have been strong and persistant rumors that this guy has serious make-up problems ( Braves players cheered when he was traded) plus he isn't having a good year at the plate with a .632 OPS. (.782 last year). Since our SS Cliff Pennington is hitting .541 OPS and is currently injured, we don't care. Plus another Cuban in the clubhouse might be nice for Yo to help get acclimated to the states with.
How's his attitude, how's his D and what would get a trade done? Would you even want Cliff Pennington (who usually heats up after the break) back in the trade or do you have other ready to go internal options? Do you see him as a candidate for improvement in the future, has he hit his defensive ceiling at 29 yo and need to be moved to 3b/2b?
2) We may also like to double down with young catchers as Kurt Suzuki should be leaving soon and rookie Derek Norris (.541) may not be ready, so same type of question with Cuban-American catcher J.P. Arencibia (.719) (26yo 2007 1st rd).
How's his D, his arm, game calling ability? His UZR was weak last year, but he seems to be at least average this year. Is he considered a for sure future starter or star? If we only talked pitchers, what would you see getting it done? Would you even want Suzuki (.519) back in a trade if we ate all his salary ( it seems like anyone leaving the Coliseum the last few years is so grateful, they immediately hit .100 points higher for their new team) or do you have other options?
3) I'm going to assume 22 yo 3B Bret Lawrie (.740) is off the table, but 25 yo Yan Gomes (.747) (2009 10th rd) looks very promising as a decent backup 3B/C in limited abs. How high are the Jays on him and could he be a spot starter at 3b and/or play C ~40 games on the A's?
4) any other almost ready infielders we could snag? You know, the one's no one wants to get rid of riding a hot streak in AA.
What we have to trade.
You need pitching. We have more pitching coming out our ears with injured starters coming back than we now what to do with. Most have more than this year under team control.
Brandon McCarthy (soon) 2.54, FA. Seems open to an extension, but Canadians may pay extra.
Brett Anderson (Early aug) 3.66, 2015
Dallas Braden (mid-aug) 2013
Also in the mix for trades besides the before mentioned 3 rookies starting in this series:
Jarrod Parker 3.00 (doubt it)
Bartolo Colon 3.97. FA.
Daniel Straily 1.10 in AAA. Minor league(s) K leader. He's ready, just no room.
and a few lottery tickets:
AAA Brad Peacock
AA Sonny Gray
A+ Raul Alcantara
A A.J. Cole.
We could also throw in a 2nd round comp pick ~#75 for 2013
We are a one stop shop for any combination of rentals, prospects, and 8 promising rookie starters and relievers. We have right handed relief, too much left handed relief, as well as several good vets under contract for more than this year in Jerry Blevins 2.45 and Grant Balfour 2.93.
A few more questions,
Who is considered the biggest jerk on the A's?
What do you think about our manager and GM?
Who are the top three worst fans?
Is our rookie pitching considered smoke and mirrors, or do you think the A's have really hit the jackpot this year in arms?
Good luck AFTER the series with Oakland, and I hope this has been informative on what to expect from us this week, and what we have to trade. I just went to bed, so answers maybe later in the day.