A's Digital Mailbag: Flip Reddick and Cespedes?


A's Digital Mailbag: Flip Reddick and Cespedes?

The A's are 23-9 since July 1 which is the best record in Major League Baseball over that span, and firmly planted in the American League playoff picture. Time to open up the A's Digital Mailbag. TWITTER:@caseyprattcsn Who is the Athletics biggest threat(s) in the AL wild card race? Aaron T (@aaron_1981) August 10, 2012CP: The A's biggest threat in the Wild Card race could be the Rangers. Allow me to explain. With the Wild Card winners being awarded a one-game playoff, the A's could be put in a tough spot. If they are opposed by the Angels, they will have to face Jered Weaver with everything on the line. If Detroit makes it, then they could be facing Justin Verlander in a win or go home scenario. The A's surely have their sights firmly planted on Texas. If they gun for the American League West crown and fall just short then they can worry about the Wild Card. I also think the Orioles will fall off. They are the only team in the hunt with a negative run differential (-57).@caseyprattcsn Hey dude, are the Athletics still looking for a SS? Or do you think they are content now? Donny (@donnyc99) August 10, 2012CP: Getting a healthy Cliff Pennington back is a boost. He says his left elbow feels 1,000 times better. He didn't want to make excuses for his struggles, and he doesn't have to if he can go out there and perform. He drew two walks and scored a run in his return to the lineup. A's manager Bob Melvin will likely use Pennington and Adam Rosales in a shortstop platoon. Pennington is hitting .213 against right-handed pitching and .152 against left-handed pitching. That might minimize some of the struggles at the position. Pennington was better than most gave him credit for last season. He had achieved career-highs in hits (136) homers (8), and RBIs (58). He also ranked fifth in the A.L. with a .348 batting average with runners in scoring position. That being said, if a shortstop slips through waivers the A's will definitely take a look. @caseyprattcsn on our road trip what do you predict A's our record? Also if we sweep the white sox is Melvin locked for manager of the year? Panda Yeung (@TYeung153) August 10, 2012CP: I hate making these predictions. Here it goes: I am going with 4-2. Whether the A's sweep the White Sox or not, Bob Melvin should be a lock for American League manager of the year. No one had the A's pegged as contenders and here they are surprising every expert in baseball. That has a lot to do with Melvin. He is a very skilled communicator and leader. He has a lot to do with the way this team is playing. @caseyprattcsn Who do you envision as the Athletics starting 5 once everyone is healthy? PrattATatTat LetsGoOakland AJ Jones (@justplainaj) August 10, 2012CP: It could be a starting six. And it could be determined on what you mean when you say "everybody." Dallas Braden probably won't factor into the team's 2012 rotation. Of the guys currently available -- or close to ready -- here is how I see the rotation shaping up. Five-man (everyone healthy): Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Bartolo Colon, Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker. Six-man (everyone healthy): Add A.J. Griffin or Dan Straily, use Travis Blackley as a long reliever or spot starter. Remember this is the A's we are talking about, so it is doubtful everyone will ever be healthy at once. That is why depth is important. @caseyprattcsn are we going with a 6-man rotation now? v (@foursixthreeDP) August 10, 2012CP: The A's aren't admitting to going this route. It could be a beneficial course of action though. Brandon McCarthy benefits greatly from extra rest. Plus, the A's could limit the innings of rookie pitchers Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone this way. They have the talent to do it. @caseyprattcsn how close is Braden to returning? M V (@mvaccaro13) August 10, 2012CP: He has been throwing bullpens and mixing in all of his pitches lately, which is usually a sign that he is getting closer. Then he had a minor setback suffering a groin strain. Based on how deep the A's pitching staff is, the team will take their time with him. Once he gets back on the mound and throws some more bullpens without issue he could head to Arizona to pitch in simulated games. I just don't see him factoring into the A's starting rotation this season. @caseyprattcsn I agree with what you said to Townie on the show about keeping Cook as closer, but if you could choose someone else, who? Shay Lennon (@RealShayL) August 10, 2012CP: It is still Ryan Cook's job to lose. Bob Melvin says he isn't seeing anything fundamentally wrong with Cook on the mound so they are going to be patient. If he does lose the job, and I had to choose his replacement, (something they would never, ever consult me on) I'd probably go back to Grant Balfour. He has been pitching very well lately. He just recently had a 13-game scoreless streak snapped, and he ranks sixth in the A.L. with a .173 opponents batting average.E-MAIL:Hey Casey,
Do you think the As have lost chemistry since the Kurt Suzuki trade. Feels like it.
-MKCP: The day the A's traded Kurt Suzuki there were some sad faces in the clubhouse. The players were definitely not happy, but they said they would react similarly to anyone getting moved. Suzuki meant a lot to those guys, as a leader, mentor, and friend. That being said, most of them recognize that Suzuki got put in a great situation in Washington where he can play everyday. The team did what was best for him. The A's also believed it was Derek Norris' time. He has done a good job with the pitching staff and got to learn a lot from Suzuki. The A's have won 17 of the 25 games Norris has started. In July they won 13 of the 14 games he started. Baseball is a tough business and all of the guys know that. This move might have been a mutually beneficial one though. The clubhouse chemistry is still intact. Hi Casey,
Big A's fan here.I'd like to advocate flip-flopping Reddick and Cespedes in the batting order. Simply put, Reddick is not getting the job done with runners on base.Reddick is killing our rallies and I would like to see Cespedes bat 3rd now, Reddick 4th and Carter 5th.Your thoughts?- Jason L.CP: Saving the best for last. This is an interesting idea. There's no question both of these guys have been great for the A's this season. Would a flip in the order work? Reddick is batting .301 with 14 homers and 29 RBIs with two outs. His 14 two-out home runs lead Major League Baseball. He is only batting .167 with runners in scoring position though. Nine of Yoenis Cespedes' homers have come with runners on base. He is hitting .362 with runners in scoring position.Based on the stats I'd leave them where they are. The thought being that if anyone gets on base in the first, Cespedes then steps to the plate with a runner or runners on. Reddick batting fourth means he would actually bat more with runners on. His stats with RISP aren't good. Cespedes is hitting .402 since the All-Star Break and has a .468 on-base percentage since the break which is second bast in all of baseball. Would you really want him batting behind Cespedes? I'd rather see Cespedes batting with Reddick on, than the other way around.

A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback

A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback

Ryan Christenson has a reason to follow the World Series even more so than most years.

Christenson, who manages the A’s Double-A Midland squad, is also skippering the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. One of his players happened to be Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber, if only for the briefest of periods.

Schwarber, as is well-documented, played in two AFL games as a quick tune-up before joining the Cubs’ active roster for the Fall Classic. It’s an unprecedented path, as Schwarber hadn’t appeared in a game for Chicago since April 7, when he tore the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee.

When he crushed a double off the right field wall in Game 1 against the Indians’ Corey Kluber, Schwarber became the first position player in major league history to get a hit in the World Series after recording zero hits during the regular season.

His preparations for the grand stage took place in the relative anonymity of the Arizona Fall League, and it presented some unique conditions for Christenson to manage under.

“It’s such a unique situation to see someone thrust into that after missing so much season,” Christenson said in a phone interview before Game 1. “To have a chance to be activated this time of year, it’s something special if he can pull this off. If he (sparks the Cubs), literally the guy can be a legend.”

Schwarber appeared in just two games for the Solar Sox, going 1-for-6 as a designated hitter. Christenson didn’t have much hands-on interaction with Schwarber — the Cubs had their own staff members on site helping him with treatment — but Christenson saw Schwarber’s swing rounding into form even in his brief time in the batter’s box.

“The bat speed is there,” said Christenson, who hadn’t met Schwarber previously. “I love watching him work in the cage. He’s got a great swing. I don’t think it would take someone of his caliber long to get his timing and pick up where he left off. It’s a simple swing.”

The Cubs asked Christenson to work Schwarber into the top of the batting order with the Solar Sox so as to maximize his number of plate appearances. They also asked one other favor.

“The only request they had was that I took it easy with him on the bases … not trying to score him from first base on a gapper.”

Schwarber’s mere presence in the Arizona Fall League created a delicate dynamic. The league is geared toward up-and-coming prospects who have yet to break into the majors, and Christenson said AFL officials were concerned about Schwarber dropping in and taking playing time away from those players.

Each major league organization sends at least six players to the AFL. Of those six, one is designated a “priority player,” meaning they must play at least four days a week, so innings can be tricky to spread around.

Adding to the sensitivity of the situation, the Solar Sox’s roster includes not only Cubs prospects but also those of the Cleveland Indians. Christenson needed to avoid a situation where Schwarber was stealing at-bats away from prospects of the American League champs — the team that Schwarber was training to try to help the Cubs beat.

But things unfolded smoothly, and Schwarber showed appreciation for getting the chance to drop in for a couple games.

“I’ll definitely be pulling for him,” Christenson said.

A's claim left-handed reliever off waivers from Cubs

A's claim left-handed reliever off waivers from Cubs

CLEVELAND — Left-hander Giovanni Soto has been claimed by the Oakland Athletics off waivers from the Chicago Cubs.

Soto was designated for assignment Saturday to open a spot on the 40-man roster for slugger Kyle Schwarber, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list following knee surgery in April. Schwarber was put on the World Series roster Tuesday and went 1 for 3 with a double, walk and two strikeouts in the opening 6-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

Soto was traded to the Cubs from Cleveland on April 11 and was 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA in 33 relief appearances for Triple-A Iowa. He made his big league debut with the Indians in 2015 and appeared in six games and 3 1/3 innings.

Oakland claimed him Wednesday.