A's Mailbag: Where's Green? What's up with the SPs?


A's Mailbag: Where's Green? What's up with the SPs?

OAKLAND -- Time to open up the A's Digital Mailbag again. This time all the questions are from Twitter. Remember you can also email me at CPratt@ComcastSportsNet.comTwitter:@caseyprattcsn when will the As call up grant Green? Samwise Gamgee (@TommyTSlice) August 17, 2012CP: My answer: Septmber 1, when rosters expand. I've been wrong about these things before though. I think Grant Green could be ready with the bat. Here's his 2012 Triple-A slash line: .291.335.454. Defense is the main concern. Where are you going to put him? Before irrationally answering shortstop, remember that every scout I have talked to says he can't stick there. If he was considered MLB-ready at shortstop he'd probably have been here by now -- and not playing all over the field in the Minor Leagues. Here's his breakdown of positions played this year by game: OF-75; 2B-12; 3B-9; SS-17. Green tells me he is more comfortable at shortstop. He played there almost his entire life. If not at shortstop, he says he is more comfortable in left field because the ball comes off the bat from a similar angle there. Green is close. He isn't quite ready yet. The A's plan is to make him as versatile as possible so that he can come up sooner rather than later. @caseyprattcsn Do you think the A's will set a innings limit on their young pitchers like the Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg? WorldofBayAreaSports (@basportsupdates) August 17, 2012CP: I do not. They haven't said they would at least. Believe me, us media members have asked the question many times as well. The guy they want to be most careful with is Jarrod Parker because he had Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2009 season. They feel Tommy Milone will be fine. Milone and Dan Straily don't have histories of arm issues. The A's plan isn't to shut any of them down like the Nationals are doing with Stephen Strasburg. Instead they have been careful with pitch counts all season. Remember when Parker almost threw a no-hitter and A's manager Bob Melvin said he was glad he didn't because he wouldn't have let him finish the game? @caseyprattcsn any correlation between that A's current pitching problems and the departure of Suzuki? Alex Yarbrough (@AlexWFS) August 16, 2012CP: This is a popular question. I really don't think there is. The A's starting rotation has over achieved in many ways this year. It was bound to level out. Especially when considering they have been as good as they are with three to four rookies in the rotation at all times. Simply put, many of these guys are reaching inning counts they have never surpassed before. They could be getting worn down. There is no question that Kurt Suzuki has been fantastic with the A's young pitchers his entire career, but keep in mind Curt Young also had his hand in it. He is still here. The guys that I have talked to say they like throwing to Derek Norris. I don't get the vibe they are just saying that. The A's will have to hope that the return of Brandon McCarthy, the steady performance of Bartolo Colon, and a return of Brett Anderson will help prevent the starting staff from faltering down the stretch. @caseyprattcsnassuming parker and milone continue to struggle, who would they remove if anderson comes back or both if griffin is back ? Shashank Kothpalli (@desifo0l) August 17, 2012CP: I don't think there is a rock-solid plan in place here. The A's insist these are good problems to have, and that they tend to work themselves out. I tend to agree. Look how A.J. Griffin got hurt right when Brandon McCarthy was nearing return. Depth is never a bad thing. I think it might be a mistake to force Brett Anderson back into the rotation before he is completely ready. Anderson is rebounding well from Tommy John surgery, but he hasn't thrown more than 100 pitchers or over six innings yet in Triple-A. I think he could use one or two more starts at least. Even if his arm feels good -- and he says it does -- he needs to fine tune all of his pitches before facing Major League competition. That being said, I get the feeling he will be back very soon. I don't know who will lose their spot as a result though. A.J. Griffin could also make things interesting. His MRI came back clean but the team is taking a careful approach with him.A six-man rotation might make sense. It could limit the innings of the rookies and help get McCarthy extra rest. It would likely wreak havoc on the bullpen though. @caseyprattcsn What are your thoughts on Braden being with the Athletics next year? Michael Wright (@michaeljamaar) August 17, 2012CP: Dallas Braden isn't a free agent until 2014. There is no reason why the A's wouldn't keep him around next year. The second surgery he will be undergoing is exploratory. Often after a major procedure like he had they will need to go back in and clean a few things up. He could still possibly be ready to pitch next season. If not, expect the A's to keep him around as he works toward a return. They could sign him to another one-year deal in 2014 too because he will come at a bargain.

A's GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A's GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A’s general manager David Forst says he has a stack of strongly worded letters from fans who grow frustrated with many of the team’s personnel moves.

That comes with the territory of running a major league front office. But Forst also said, during a wide-ranging interview on the latest A’s Insider Podcast, that honest critiquing must come from within office walls.

“You do want to do some self-evaluation and self-assessing,” Forst said. “What I don’t do, I don’t go back and second-guess decisions, whether it’s a trade or a signing. I don’t sort of hypothetically think, ‘Well, what if we hadn’t done this,’ because it’s not a good use of anybody’s time. What you do have to do is make sure the process that led to that decision is sound and a good one.”

Certainly one of the most scrutinized A’s moves of recent history was their signing of designated hitter Billy Butler to a three-year $30 million contract in November 2014. That turned out to be a costly mistake, with Butler being released in September with one year left on his deal and the A’s still on the hook for roughly $10 million. Forst acknowledged how poorly that decision worked out but sticks by the initial motivation to sign Butler.

“Look, Billy Butler didn’t go the way we expected, and that’s one that gets brought up a lot,” Forst said. “But I think back to the time when we made that decision to sign him, and what we were projecting Billy to do. It was very clear what our team needed. Again, going into 2015, coming off the wild card that year, we still felt like this was a team that could compete for a division title. So all the things that went into the decision, ultimately I will stand by.”

Forst spoke frankly about several other topics during the podcast. Regarding fans’ frustration about seeing so many high-profile players traded:

“I’ve got a stack of letters on my desk, the substance of which I can’t repeat on the air,” he said with a smile. “… But there’s passion. And I know we have a fan base that cares, and that’s really a good place to be.”

Forst said the A’s definitely will pursue starting pitching this offseason, despite the fact that 1) he’s very optimistic about the crop of young pitching Oakland has developed, and 2) he believes Sonny Gray will bounce back from a poor 2016 season. The GM takes encouragement that Gray made a full physical recovery from a strained forearm.

“Am I going to get the Cy Young (caliber pitcher) from Day 1? I don’t know. But I think there’s a confidence that this was an aberration, this whole year, more than anything else.”

Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


TORONTO -- A most unlikely pitching performance helped put a most unexpected team into the World Series.

Rookie Ryan Merritt coolly delivered a lead to the Andrew Miller-led bullpen and the Cleveland Indians won their first pennant since 1997, blanking Toronto 3-0 Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against either the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Indians will try to boost what's already been a magical year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first sports championship since 1964. The Indians' title drought dates to 1948.

The Dodgers led the Cubs 2-1 going into Game 4 of the NLCS on Wednesday night. Cleveland didn't play either team this season.

With all of 11 major league innings under his belt, Merritt took the mound and looked just like a seasoned vet. The 24-year-old lefty retired the first 10 batters and allowed only two hits before being pulled after 4 1/3 innings.

Then it was up to Cleveland's tireless relievers to hold a three-run lead.

Miller again did most of the heavy lifting, pitching 2 2/3 innings, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for the save. Winner Bryan Shaw worked an inning before Miller came in.

Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered for the Indians.