As one of the Comcast SportsNet California TV broadcasters said recently, “If it weren’t for Adam Rosales, the A’s wouldn’t be where they are right now,” which, as of today (May 29th), is 3 games above .500, a half a game behind the division-leading Texas Rangers. After the last couple of years’ dismal seasons, the A’s are definitely in the hunt for a post-season birth. But let’s back up a minute and take a look at how Rosie wound up in the role of utility man extraordinaire for the A’s.
Adam M. Rosales was born on May 20th, 1983 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Ill., a Chicago suburb, and still lives there. He went on to Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo,where he was named to the All-Mid-American Conference 1st Team.
He was selected by the Cincinati Reds in the 12th round (362nd overall) of the June 2005 Amateur Draft. He was immediately sent to Billings in the Pioneer League (rookie) for 34 games, where he batted .321, and was elevated to Low Single-A Dayton in the Midwest League, batting .328.
In 2006 and 2007, he worked his way up the Red’s organization, ending up at Chattanooga in the Double-A Southern League. In the fall of 2007, he participated in the Arizona Fall League, a showcase league for the top 6 or 7 best players in each MLB team’s minor league system, where he batted .281. (See my previous blog article on the AFL.)
In 2008, he started the year with the Louisville Bats in the International League (Triple-A), and was called up to the Reds on August 9th for a brief stint, and again on August 20th when Jerry Hairston Jr. went on the DL. He started the 2009 season back at Louisville, but was called up on April 28th when Edwin Incarnacion fractured his wrist. He played in 87 games with the Reds that year, batting .213.
But batting is not all that Rosie was known for. He was signed as a shortstop and played that position until 2007, when he was moved to first base. In 2008, he played both short and 3rd at Louisville, and 3rd and 2nd with the Reds.
In 2009, he put in time at all 4 infield positions for the Reds. His hustle was rewarded by the Reds’ naming him as their representative for the Heart and Hustle Award. He was selected “for his passion for baseball and his embodiement of the values, tradition and spirit of the game.” Others nominated that year included: Chase Uttley, David Eckstein, Pablo Sandoval and Albert Pujols in the National League, and Nick Markakis, Joe Mauer, Nick Swisher and Evan Longoria in the AL. Jack Cust was nominated by the A’s. Really?
Rosie played in the Mexican Winter League this past winter, where he got considerable experience playing in left field. This was icing on the cake for Bob Geren and Billy Beane, who were looking for a utility infielder for this season.
On February 1st of this year, he was traded by the Reds, along with Willy Taveras, to the A’s for Aaron Miles and a PTBNL. Billy Beane has been quoted as saying that the player in that deal he really wanted was Rosales. This became clear when the A’s released Taveras a few weeks later. Of note, the Reds designated Aaron Miles for assignment on April 5th. Who got the better of the deal? A no-brainer.
So who is Adam Rosales? What we’ve seen so far this season is a guy who sprints around the bases whether he hits a homer or works a walk, a good fielder with a great arm at any position he plays, and a guy with some pop in his bat who seems to get hits when the team needs them. This type of situational hitting has been a real problem for the A’s over the past few years, especially with Jack Cust batting in the number 4 hole.
It is nice to see Rosie, Jake Fox, Ryan Sweeney and Kurt Suzuki take up the slack this season.
Also, Rosie is very disruptive on the base paths, as are Rajai Davis, and Coco Crisp (when he isn’t on the DL). And it’s the running game, I feel, that has made a big difference this year. Rosie rattles the pitchers, forces the opposing fielders to rush their throws, often resulting in errors. Rosie is also lightening fast, beating out infield hits almost routinely. As Manager Bob Geren put it, “Those kind of at-bats, that kind of speed, generates some action.”
Recently, I attended an Oakland A’s Booster Club luncheon where Rosie was the player on the dais.
He admitted that he was “scared to death” to be standing in front of 100+ Boosters, but not at all scared on the field. He was asked what he thinks about the A’s as a team, and responded without hesitation that they are “the best team in the Majors. There’s great chemistry. We’re like brothers.”
When asked why he runs so fast around the bases, he responded, “I always said if I ever get to the Major Leagues, I’m gonna play like I was 12 years old.”
He says he likes playing all the infield positions, but is most comfortable at shortstop and 2nd base. “I’ll play anywhere the team needs me to play.”
On the personal side, he she has a girlfriend, but is not married. In an interview with Kate Longworth of Comcast SportsNet California, he said that If he weren’t a baseball player, he’d be a rock star. His favorite bands are Dave Matthews and Pearl Jam. His favorite sports movies are “The Natural,” and when he was a kid, “Sandlot,” not surprisingly, both baseball movies. His pet peeve is “Waiting in Traffic!”
When asked what 3 things he takes on the road, he said: his toiletry bag, his cell phone, and his guitar. He hasn’t played for the his teammates yet. “If they’re lucky enough, maybe I’ll play for them.”
His best baseball memory was facing his first pitch at Wrigley Field. Since he grew up in Chicago, “I was really amped up.”
The A’s are extremely happy to have Adam Rosales on their roster.
When he’s in the lineup, good things happen. He’s had two 4-RBI nights in recent weeks, he’s hit homers, stolen bases, and made great plays in the field.
He always seems to have a smile on his face.
And everyone cheers when he sprints around the basepaths. What more could we A’s fans want?!
The Freak Re-Ups with the Giants. A couple of days ago, I started to write a screed on how dumb the Giants are for not giving Tim Lincecum the additional $3M he wanted for a 3-year contract and casting their fate before an arbitrator. In the middle of writing, I decided to check the Giant’s website and found out that The Freak and the Giants’ Franchise had avoided arbitration with a 2-year deal. But who won? Or was it a draw? A little analysis might shed some light on these questions.
Tim Lincecum’s agent asked for $40M for 3 years.
The Giants offered $37M for the same period. Lincecum’s demand averages out to $13.33M per year, while the Giants’ offer was for $12.33M per year.
I don’t know about you, but I would have given Lincecum the additional $1M/year just to tie him up for 3 years. But no, the 2 parties appeared headed to arbitration over a lousy $1M/year for arguably one of the best–if not the best–pitchers in baseball.
Lets put this in perspective. Across the Bay, the A’s signed free-agent Ben Sheets to a 1-year deal worth $10M plus incentives. Sheets didn’t pitch at all in 2009 because of elbow surgery a year ago, which makes him a risk, though if it was Tommy John surgery he’ll probably be just fine. Sheets has 8 years in the majors, a career ERA of 3.72, 4 All Star appearances, and won the NL Cy Young in 2004.
Lincecum has 3 years in the Show, a career 2.90 ERA, 2 All Star appearances and won the NL Cy Young award the last 2 seasons. He’s only 25 years old, and if he continues to pitch like he has the last two years, he’ll command a lot more in 2012 than he would have gotten under the $40M 3-year contract. Maybe the Giants know something they aren’t telling. If so, maybe they made a good deaI. If not, they may have shot themselves in the foot. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Marty Lurie Moves Across the Bay. In what seems a bizarre turn of events, the A’s radio home KTRB has decided that they can no longer make time in their broadcast schedule for “Right off the Bat,” Marty Lurie‘s pregame show on the various A’s radio stations for the last 12 years.
Apparently, KTRB would rather have Mike Savage, a conservative talk-show host, from 3-6 pm, eliminating Lurie’s time slot. Thus Marty’s wonderful insights into baseball, both current and historic, are no longer going to entertain A’s fans before Ken Korach and Vince Contronio’s regular 45-minute pregame show.
To make matters worse, the Giants gladly picked him up to do the pre- and post-game shows on the weekends on their radio home KNBR 680. The one-hour shows will have many of the same features that the A’s fans have been treated to, plus the show will take more calls on air from the fans. “I am excited to add Marty to the line-up of talk show hosts at KNBR,” said Lee Hammer, Director of Operations for Cumulus San Francisco (IKNBR 680).
Apparently, the A’s have signed a new deal with KTRB through 2019, so it doesn’t look like we will be hearing Marty Lurie and Right Off the Bat again. I think It’s a huge loss for us A’s fans. His extensive knowledge of the history of the game, his insightful interviews with players, coaches, Hall of Famers, baseball writers, club executives and scouts, brought listeners a valuable perspective on the essence of the game of baseball. We will miss you Marty!
Tidbits: A’s Release outfielder Willy Taveras, who came over on Feb. 1st with Adam Rosales, in exchange for Aaron Miles of Antioch and a player to be named later. Taveras was immediately designated for assigment and the A’s released him 8 days later. He didn’t really figure in their plans as the player they really wanted was Rosales who is an infielder. The A’s outfield is already set and has depth, so no room for Taveras..
Another radio deal was inked recently. Ken Korach signed a 2-year deal as the lead play-by-play man for the A’s, which will keep him behind the mike in Oakland through 2011. A good thing.
Spring training is upon us. The pitchers and catchers have reported to Phoenix! I’ll be there from March 17-23. Can’t wait!
That’s all from here. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about anything that’s on your mind, whether or not it pertains to this article. Go A’s!!!
Billy Beane has continued to make roster moves since I last posted here. Some seem to be improvements for the team. Others are downright puzzling.
Sheets Signs One-Year Deal: Undoubtedly, the biggest move is the signng of free agent Ben Sheets to a one-year $10-million deal plus incentives, to anchor the starting rotation for 2010.
That makes it the largest 1-year contract the A’s have given to a free agent from outside the organization.
The 31-year old hurler didn’t pitch at all in 2009 because he underwent flexor tendon surgery in his right elbow a year ago. In his 8 years in the majors, he achieved an 86-83 record with a 3.72 ERA, and had double digit wins in 7 of the last 8 seasons. In 2008 he went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA in 31 starts.
On January 19th he threw a pitching session at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and impressed scouts from several organizations, including Oakland, reportedly hitting the low-90’s with his fastball. If he is healthy he’ll most likely be the #1 starter and will be an invaluable veteran presence for the younger guys in the rotation.
2010 Pitching Rotation: The rotation will most probably line up as follows: Sheets, Duchscherer, Anderson, Braden and Cahill, not necessarily in that order. Spring training will shake this out when we see how Sheets, Duke and Braden do, coming of long stints on the DL and surgeries last year. We can’t forget about Gio Gonzalez, Vin Mazarro, and Josh Outman who could pitch their way into the rotation, especially if one or two of the guys above don’t fare so well in Arizona. The presence of Sheets will go a long way toward reducing the pressure on the young arms that was so evident in 2009.
Wuertz Returns to the A’s Bullpen. The A’s rewarded Michael Wuertz for his outstanding work in the bullpen last year with a 2-year, $5.25 million contract.
The team also has a $3.5M option for 2012, with a $250K buyout if the option is not exercised. He is expected to earn $2.2M in 2010 and $2.8M in 2011. Wuertz was the A’s last arbitration-elligible player to sign. His record in 2009 (6-1, 2.63 ERA, 74 appearances, and league-leading 102 strikeouts) was so good that the A’s violated their rule to tender only 1-year deals for arbitration-elligible players.
Monday, Feb 1st, Was a Busy Day. The A’s signed free-agent outfielder Gabe Gross to a 1-year contract. Gross hit .227 with 6 homers and 36 RBI’s in 282 at-bats last season for the Tampa Bay Rays.
He can play all 3 outfield positions, bats left, and has always been a solid defender. “We just felt like he was a good fit for th team, whether it’s spotting some of our guys agains tough righties or filling at time since he can play both corner outfield positions. We’ve always liked the way he plays,” said Assistant GM David Forst. His signing spelled the end of the speculation that Johnny Damon might resign with the A’s.
Also, last Monday, the A’s completed a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, obtaining infielder Adam Rosales and outfielder Willy Taveras for infielder Aaron Miles. It was made evident that the key player in the deal for the A’s was Rosales, as they immediately designated Taveras for assignment.
Rosales completes the infield picture for the 2010 A’s, as he can play all 4 infield positions, and will be used as a utility infielder and to spell Cliff Pennington at shortstop. If any of the other infielders go down with injuries, he could get significant playing time. “Our scouts have seen a lot of him over the past few years, and every single one of them just loves the way he plays the game and really likes his versatility,” said Asst. GM David Forst, who compared his energy to that of Eric Byrnes.
The A’s have until Feb. 11th to trade or release Taveras or they will be on the hook for $1.7M of his $2.3M salary for 2010. The A’s are not in need of another outfielder, especially after the signing of Gross, so they will be looking to move him in the next week. If they can’t and he clears waivers, he could go to the minors, most likely the Sacramento River Cats.
Finally, the A’s also designated for assignment infielder Gregorio Petit, and pitcher Dana Eveland (long overdue IMHO)
Hot off the wire, Eveland was traded today (Saturday 2/6) to Toronto for cash and a player to be named later, just 5 days after he was designated for assignment.
They also claimed Twins’ minor-league infielder off waivers. Tolleson, according to Forst, “…is another guy our scouts have liked since seeing him play in the Arizona Fall League in 2008. He can play a number of positions and helps add to the depth.” Both he and Rosales have options left, giving the A’s lots of flexibility, esepcially of one or two of the regular infielders go down with injury (Chavez?).
After the A’s acquired Aaron Miles, I became very curious about his role on the team as we didn’t hear his name mentioned at all in plans for the upcoming season. Apparently, Miles know he might be used as trade bait when he was acquired by the A’s. An Antioch native, he admitted, “It would have been nice to stay local and play for the hometown team. But in the end, you gotta go with what’s best for your career, and I think that’s definitely in Cincinnati.”
Spring Training. The A’s will have a lot of depth when they arrive at spring training later this month. Is Billy Beane happy with who they have now? Not so fast. Forst said that the swarm of roster moves last Monday doesn’t necessarily mean the club is done wheeling and dealing.
Miscellanea. OC Signs: Former A’s Shortstop, Orlando Cabrera signed a $3M deal with the Cincinnati Reds, which includes a $3M option for 2011 with a $1M buyout of the club doesn’t want to sign him for the additonal year.
A Higher Calling: A’s Minor-League outfielder Grant Desme, the MVP of the 2009 Arizona Fall League, got a call, but it wasn’t from the A’s brass.
He resigned from professional baseball in late January to embark on the 10-year path to becoming a priest, starting with studies at St. Michael’s Abbey in Orange County beginning next August. “It’s like I’m re-entering the Minor Leagues,” he said.
Sacramento River Cats Owner Dies: Arthur Lynn Savage, the man who changed evenings in Sacramento and gave the River-City baseball fans a home team to brag about, passed away at his East Sacramento home on Nov. 22, 2009. He was 58.
The River Cats organization is one of the nation’s most successful minor league franchises. During the last 10 years, the River Cats broke attendance records every year, outdistancing 200 other minor league teams in the country.
Mr. Savage was named the Sporting News Minor League Executive of the Year in 2000 and the franchise was honored with the Bob Freitas Award for Excellence in Minor League Baseball for the 2004 season. He will be sorely missed by all who knew or played for him.
That’s all for now. I’ll be at spring training with the A’s from March 17th to the 25th. It should be lots of fun watching all that talent contend for the right to break camp with the A’s.