Tagged: Jason Giambi

Ugh! No change in the Coaching Staff For 2010

I have written about this subject before:  Bob Geren hasn’t a clue how to manager a team.  Were you as deflated as I was when the A’s announced last week that the coaching staff for 2010 will be the same as in 2009?  As I wrote in my last blog, the attendance for games other than the “Premium Games” (Giants, Red Sox, Yankees, etc.) has been dropping dramatically since July.  Midweek night games drew somewhere around 7-8000 fans on average.  That’s terrible.

Billy Beane won’t get rid of Geren because they are BFF’s.  So we have Bob at least until the end of the 2010 season.  The team has an option for 2011, which I hope they don’t exercize.  Here they are, 2 smiles and what almost looks like a sneer, at the presser when  they announced Jason Giambi’s signing in January. 


Beane, Giambi and Geren - 1-7-09.jpg

Billy, how’d that work out for you, as Dr. Phil would ask? 

I don’t fault Giambi.  Geren asked him to do something he wasn’t capable of doing:  playing in the field almost everyday.  Jason, being a good sport, did it, but he played in pain a lot and his hitting suffered.  Look what he did at Colorado after BB+G let him go (and did it badly!) where he was used largely as a pinch hitter! 

So what can we do about Geren?  As I have suggested before,  we fans need to start a letter-writing campaign asking Lew Wolff to force Billy Beane to fire Bob Geren as manager, or at least not rehire him in 2011 .  Maybe BB can give him a job in the front office, but let’s get him out of the dugout.

I tried to find an email address for Lew Wolff, and was unsuccessful.  But here’s Lew Wolff’s snail mail address:

Lewis N. Wolff, CEO

Wolff-Di Napoli Development Co.

11828 La Grange Ave.

Los Angeles, CA  90025-5212

Let’s flood his inbox with letters.  Be respectful and don’t use profanity, threats or ad hominem attacks.  Just tell him why you think Bob Geren has to go.  Who knows?  He might just listen to us if enough of us write.  My letter will be in the mail tomorrow.  

Idea!  Carney Lansford is available.  Maybe we could get him!  Make Ty Waller the manager and Carney the bench coach for 2010!  Wouldn’t that be neat?  Certainly a lot better than what we had this year.  Oh well, it’s wishful thinking, I’m afraid.  But I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Upcoming Topics:  “Some Last Thoughts on the 2009 Season”, “Is it Dangerous to be a Fan?” and more.  Check back periodically.  I won’t be blogging as often as I do during the season.  I have to concentrate on the final rewrite of my novel.  I plan to start looking for an agent and/or publisher after the first of the year.  Wish me luck.

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The 15-Day, 60-Day and “Phantom” DL’s

Bobby Crosby Holding a Bat in Batting Practice Jersey.jpgI wrote a couple of days ago about Bobby Crosby going on the disabled list and his father’s rant in the media about how badly his son has been treated by Billy Beane and the A’s.  In Doug Krikorian’s article, the elder Crosby stated:  “Right now Bobby’s on the disbled list, and he’s not even hurt.”  That got me to thinking about the DL and how it is used.

Was he hurt when he was placed on the DL?  I watched the game in which he strained his calf, so I know he had an injury.  Was it enough of an injury to put him on the DL?  Obviously, Ed Crosby doesn’t think so.  So is the DL used by clubs to inactivate a player, maybe one who isn’t performing well, so they don’t have to send him down to the minors?  Officially, they will say they don’t do that, but unofficially I think it’s done and may have been used by the A’s at least twice this year.  But first, let’s look at the rules for placing a player on the DL.

Standard Form of Diagnosis:  If a team wants to place a player on the DL (either 15 or 60 day DL), the team must file a Standard Form of Diagnosis (SFD) with the Commisioners Office.   
 

Standard Form of Diagnosis - cropped and reduced.jpgThe SFD requires outlining the exact type of injury or ailment the player is afflicted with, what the estimated time of recovery will be, and it must be signed by a licensed doctor.  Notice there is no requirement for the doctor to state the severity of the injury.  Apparently, most teams’ front office fills out the form and the doctor just reads it and signs it.  Lots of wiggle room there.

The 15-Day DL:  Once the Commissioner receives the SFD, the player is not permitted to participate in MLB games for a minimum of 15 days, but the SFD can be backdated to the day after his last game appearance, but no more than 10 days.  Thus a player may actually be on the DL for as few as 5 days.  Once on the DL, the player is removed from the 25-man active roster so that another player can be called up to take his place.  He is not removed from the 40-man roster, so the club cannot add another player to the reserve list (more on this later.)

Continued DL or Rehab Assigment:  When the stint on the DL expires, the player may or may not be activated.  If he is still injured an SFD must be recertified to stay on the 15-day DL until he is no longer symptomatic, which may be less than an additional 15 days.  Once a player is deemed to be “healthy enough for baseball activities”, he is usually sent to Double A or Triple A for a “Rehab Assignment” for a maximum of 20 days (30 days for a pitcher).  After being on the DL and inactive for as many as 15 days, most players happily take the rehab assignment.  If they injure or  reinjure themselves during rehab, they are “returned from Rehab” to the DL until they are sufficiently recovered to resume baseball activities.  This would have to be recertified by a doctor on a new SFD.

The 60-Day DL:  Placing a player on the 60-day DL requres the same initial steps:  filing an SFD with the commisioners office giving the type of injury and estimating the time for recovery to be 60 days or longer.  At such time the player is removed from both the 25- and 40-man rosters, but is still protected on the reserve list (meaning the player is not available for the Rule 5 Draft.)  That way a team may have more that 40 players on the reserve list at the same time and the team can also add a player to the 25-man roster to take the place of the injured player who is on the 60-day DL.  If the injury persists past the 60 days, no recertification (SFD) is required to keep him on the DL.

The “Phantom DL”:  So Ed Crosby said that Bobby isn’t hurt enough to be placed on the DL.  Could Bobby have played through the injury?  Perhaps.  But Bobby is elligible for free agency at the end of the season so he doesn’t figure in to the A’s future plans.  Cliff Pennington does, so he was brought up to play shortstop for the rest of the season and Bobby was put on the DL.  Smells fishy to me.

But an even more obvious example is the handling of Jason Giambi.  He was placed on the DL with no discernable injury at all (a “phantom” injury?), other than the ongoing problems of advancing age (not a valid diagnosis) and his sore knees, which he played on most of the season.  It is well known that he retreated to his house in Las Vegas and was reportedly seen working out and taking batting practice after he had only been there a day or so.  Doesn’t sound like he was injured to me.

So why would a team use the DL to hold a player off the 25-man roster?  Former player FP Santangelo said on a recent A’s postgame show that there is something called the  “Phantom DL” where a team can “park” a player on the 15-day DL while the team decides what roster moves to make.  He said that when that happens, “a player sucks it up and doesn’t play for 15 days–he takes it for the team.”  That sorta sounds like what happened to Crosby and Giambi to me.  But you can be the judge of that. 

The “Spread” :  I will leave you with this anecdote:  One of the things an MLB player always does when he is sent to the minors on a rehab assigment is to purchase the “Spread.”  Tradition dictates that while he is there he must provide at his expense at least one meal for the minor league team he is assigned to.  A player with a big contract might choose an upscale restaurant to cater the meal.  A player with a minimum MLB contract ($400,000 in 2009) might provide ribs and chicken. 

Woe is the player who forgets to provide the Spread.   His MLB teammates will find out and make his life miserable.  An affluent Jays player forgot and his teammates gave him such grief that he sent a check to the minor league clubhouse manager to procure a meal for the team.  Bet it bought chicken and ribs.

(Many thanks to Bart Given, former Asst. GM of the Blue Jays, whose blog provided a glimpse into the workings of the disabled list and the Spread anecdote.  Check out the blog at www.insidethemajors.com.  He gives insights into the game of baseball from a front office perspective.)

     

 

 

 

 

Ellie, Duke and Mr. Deadpan

Ellie:  Mark Ellis is on fire!  What a great walk-off homer which skimmed the left field fence yesterday!  He’s batting something like .460 since the All Star Break.  Welcome back Ellie.

Ellis hits Walk Off Homer on 1929 Day.jpgIs it just me?  Or is it fun to watch the young kids play ball?  Yes, it’s painful when one of the young pitchers gives up “the big inning.” but by and large the kids are playing their hearts out and it’s just plain fun to watch.  The A’s will probably finish in last place, but if they can get to .500 that will be a huge victory.

Duke:  Something strange is going on with Justin Duchscherer.  He missed a recent rehab start in Sacramento and he was penciled in to start for the A’s on Tuesday against the Yankees.  That too has been scratched.   Brett Tomko, who was released by the Yankees on July 21st and has been conspicuously mediocre at Triple A Sacramento, has been called up to pitch tonight against his former team, pushing Gio Gonzales to Tuesday’s game giving him an extra day between starts.

The reason for the Duke scratchings were said to be for “non-baseball reasons.”  The last time we heard that explanation, Dallas Braden’s beloved grandmother was seriously ill.  If is it a reason like that, why can’t they just come out and say it was a family emergency or just say what it is?.  This cloak and dagger secrecy doesn’t make the organization or Duke look particularly good. 

This secrecy is not unlike when the A’s placed Jason Giambo on the DL only to find out later he went to Las Vegas to work on his hitting.  Two weeks later the A’s released him.  All very strange.

Geren:  Has anyone else but me noticed that when Geren gets tossed from a game, the A’s come back and win the game with Ty Waller managing?  That’s happened 2 out of the 3 times Geren’s been thrown out this year. Will anyone ever forget that game in Boston when he was tossed in the 3rd inning and Waller guided the A’s to a 9-8 victory in 11 innings?   

Now there could be all sorts of reasons the guys get psyched up after their manager gets tossed, but one of them could be that Bob Geren is a lousy manager. 
Bob Geren Arguing with an umpire.jpgHe certainly has made some bonehead decisions this year.  And when asked about Giambi going on the DL or Duke being scratched, he just hems and haws, and haws and hems, as Mychael Urban so succinctly put it.

As you probably know, Geren and Billy Beane are tight, Geren having served as BB’s best man at his wedding (or was it the other way around?), so the likelhood of BB firing him is nil.  But Lew Wolff as managing partner could order it done.  Come on, Lew, put us out of our misery and let Geren go at the end of the season.

Geren’s track record stinks for a reason.  He has no leadership skills.  He can’t motivate the team.  He hasn’t created a culture of success in the clubhouse or on the field.  You can have the latter and still not win, but he needs to fire these guys up and expect them to win.  If he would do that, they will win.  His deadpan affect does not instill confidence in the players except when he argues balls and strikes and gets himself tossed, and I think it is instructive that the team wins when he is not in the dugout.

So not the A’s take on the hottest team in baseball:  the Bronx Bombers.  I think Brett Tomko will have his hands full, as will the other young starters, but we have beaten them bepore and can do it again.  It will be fun to watch, no matter the outcome. 

 

A’s Can’t Solve Santana or the Angels

I was at the game last night.  The A’s played well but the Angel’s guys are just bigger, stronger, better and luckier than our guys.  They belong in first place and, I am sorry to say, we belong in the cellar. 

I still love the the A’s but someone needs to show some leadership and get them to play at a higher level.  They look like they don’t have much of a fire in their collective bellies. No one made any real mistakes last night, except maybe Dallas Braden,
Dallas Braden.jpg
 who gave up 6 earned runs on 10 hits, his worst appearance of the season.  Aside from him,  the rest of them  just look lackluster. 

Of course, Santana has baffled the A’s for a long time.  His record against the A’s is now 10-1.  But he didn’t have his good stuff last night and we still couldn’t do much against him.

The nail in the coffin was probably Howie Kendrick’s phenominal stab of a screamer hit by Jason Giambi that could have been a run-scoring double, but resulted in a double play instead.  Not the kind of Double-Double that I like.  After that happened, it seemed that the whole stadium heaved a sigh of resignation.  It was sad really.

The only bright spot was Matt Holliday’s towering homer.

Holliday Homer.jpgMaybe today’s game will be different.  I sure hope so.  But something needs to happen to shake things up.  Because isn’t the definition of “crazy” doing the same thing and expecting a different result?

Pitching Ups and Downs

Young Pitching:  The A’s young hurlers are having some successes and failures, and some of the good things don’t show up in the win column.  We have to remember they are all under the age of 25, except the “veteran” Dallas Braden, who will be 26 on August 13th.  These young guys are learning how to be professional ballplayers in the major leagues, not in the minors where pitchers typically spend 4 or more years before being called up.

Brett Anderson had a terrific complete-game 2-hitter against the Red Sox in Fenway, which was electricfying to watch.  
scan0009.jpgEven the Sox fans acknowledged his feat with respect.  The day before, Gio Gonzalez looked great in his 5-2 victory over Cy Young winner Cliff Lee in Cleveland. But those were the only bright spots since Dallas Braden beat Justin Verlander on July 1st in  Oakland. 

Trevor Cahill struggled mightily in Cleveland, lasting 3.2 innings and giving up 8 runs (5 earned).  In Boston, he pitched well for 5 innings, but in the 6th gave up a solo home run to J.D. Drew and a 3-run shot to David Ortiz  Maybe Bob Geren needs to pull these young kids when they first get into trouble (like after Drew’s solo homer) until they get used to facing tough major league hitting.  In general, I think Geren leaves pitchers in too long.

Unfortunately, Vin Mazzaro pitched too well in his first 2 starts with the A’s.  His luck has turned since then. 
scan0010.jpgIt didn’t help that twice he had to face the Giant’s Tim Lincecum who is having another career season this year.  He has taken the loss in his last 4 starts, although he pitched well in his last outing but got no run support.

I won’t even comment on the Dana Eveland loss.  I think the A’s need to cast him adrift or trade him.  He has shown us over the last couple of years that he can pitch well at the Triple-A level, but falls apart in the majors.  He just doesn’t fool major league hitting and I think the A’s need to wake up to that fact. 

I hope that Dallas Braden does well today in Tampa.  We need our “veteran” Ace back.

Silent Bats:  Mention must be made of the A’s lack of situational hitting.  A lot of the losses might have been wins if the A’s could have driven in maybe half of the runners they had in scoring position. It often seems as if the bats don’t come alive until the 8th or 9th inning when they are in the hole, sometimes a deep one.  It’s too little, too late. 

Jason Giambi has been a real disappointment to the team, the fans and himself.  No one wants to win more than the G man.  Unfortunately, it looks as if he’s a little late when he swings at fastballs and doesn’t make contact.  But he’s not the only one who strikes out or hits into double plays. It’s been happening all too often up and down the lineup. Matt Holliday certainly isn’t helping his chances of being traded to a contender.  In short, the A’s just aren’t getting the key hits when they need them.

Scott Hairston:  To finish on a brighter note, the aquisition of Scott Hairston was a brilliant move by Billy Beane. 
Scott Hairston's Homer 7-7-09.jpgWe control him through 2011, and he is a terrific hitter and can handle the center field position very well.  Maybe he can ignite the lineup and they can score more runs to help out the young pitching staff.  Time will tell.  I haven’t given up on the A’s yet.  I just hope they don’t finish in the cellar.

HALLELUJAH!! The A’s Won A Series and I Can Access My Blog!

I Can Post Articles on My Blog Again!  My last blog post was on June 16th.  The next day Comcast hooked up the last leg of my Triple Play package, and I dutifully logged in to mlblogs.com, went to “My Profile” and followed the instructions for changing my email address.  I blythely hit the “Submit” button.  I’m not much of a techie so I felt a real sense of accomplishment.   

 

A couple of days later, I decided to post a new article on my blog and logged in using my new email and password.  Up came an error message that stated in angry red:  “Authentication Error:  Email and/or password invalid.  Try again.”  Hmm.  Maybe the change didn’t go through, so I tried to log in using my old email address and password.  Same result.  I tried other email and password combinations to no avail.  Oh no, I couldn’t log in.  Disaster!  I can’t post any more articles?

 

I quickly emailed mlblogs.com and explained my plight.  To make a long story short, after 3+ weeks of emails and phone calls back and forth to 4 or 5 different people, most of whom kept telling me to log in using the old email address (which I kept telling them I couldn’t do), I found Jacob Wilson who understood what happened.  Bless his heart, he imported my blog with all prior articles, comments and photos into my new email account.  So I am back and writing again on all things A’s.

 

The A’s Team We Were Hoping Has Finally Showed Up!  Wow, the A’s won a series, and against the Tigers, the AL Central’s leading team.  Yahoo!!  I attended Monday night’s 7-1 victory in which Brett Anderson pitched scoreless ball into the 6th inning, when he walked two.
Brett Anderson.jpg The usually-reliable Michael Wuertz came in and gave up a double to Gerald Laird to score one of those walks, marring Brett’s great outing.  The A’s bats came alive in the 4th inning when Matt Holliday singled and Jason Giambi walked.  Kurt Suzuki doubled in Holliday and Ryan Sweeney singled in the G man, giving the A’s the lead for good.  The guys added on the rest of the  runs in the 5th and the 6th inning, Ellis homer 6-29-09.jpghighlighted by Mark Ellis’ first homer of the year, a two-run blast, and another two runs on Sweeney’s 3rd of the season. 
Sweeney Dinger 6-29-09.jpg
Small ball added the last run in the 8th.

 

Yesterday produced a 5-1 win to give the A’s the series win over Detroit.  Highlights included Dallas Braden
 pitching 7 innings of 5-hit, 1-run ball,
 followed by 2 shutout innings from Brad Ziegler who now has the set-up role,  
Daily Bailey 7-1-09.jpg
and Andrew “Daily” Bailey, the team”s closer to everyone but Manager Bob Geren. 
 
The day’s offensive fireworks came on 2 homers from Jack Cust (14)
 and Jason Giambi (11)
Giambi Homer 6-29-09.jpgscoring 4 runs between them.  Detroit’s only run came in the top of the 2nd on a double from Gerald Laird, driving in Ryan Raburn who had singled.

 

I like this team.  I hope they continue to show up.  Maybe the much-hoped-for warm weather has finally arrived.

 

Davis and Hannahan? Our Up-and Coming Heroes

Yesterday’s Game Against the Twins:  Trevor Cahill pitched well initially, but in the top of the 4th inning  got into some trouble and gave up a 3-run homer to Joe Crede.  Oh, no, not again, must have been going through the fans minds. Not another long losing streak, please? Thankfully, after that Cahill pitched 3 more scoreless innings.  Meanwhile, Twins’ starter, Nick Blackburn, completely befuddled the A’s for the first 7 innings, allowing no one past 2nd base. 

Jack Hannahan and Adam Kennedy Man Up: In the bottom of the 8th inning, Jack Hannahan, batting in the 9 hole, led off with a triple (has he finally solved the riddle of hitting?)   He scored when Orlando Cabrera stroked a single to center field, making the score 3-1 Twins.  Then Nick Blackburn left a pitch up in the middle of the strike zone and Adam Kennedy sent the gift over the right field wall to tie the game at 3-3.  Brad Ziegler, who had pitched the top of the 8th inning, worked a 3-up, 3-down 9th, keeping the game tied. 

Things Start Going the A’s Way:  In the bottom of the 9th, Jason Giambi led off with a walk, and was replaced by the speedy Chris Denorfia.  Suzuki tried to bunt Denorfia to 2nd base but was unsuccessful in 2 attempts.  Then Twins relief pitcher, Matt Guerrier, hit Suzuki, which accomplished the same result.  Daric Barton laid down a nifty bunt in front of home plate and  the runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd. Now, there were 2 on and 1 out. 

Rajai’s First Walk-Off Hit:  Manager Bob Geren had told  Rajai Davis in the dugout before he went out to the on-deck circle, “You’re gonna win the game.”  After Barton was thrown out at first after his great bunt, Raj stepped into the batters box.  Raj Davis' Walk-Off Single - 6-1-09.jpgHe dumped the first pitch he saw into right field for a walk-off single, scoring Denorfia and giving the A’s a 4-3 victory and a split of the series at 2 games apiece.  That shut down the losing streak at 2 games.

The Battle of the Young Guns:  Tonight the A’s move across the Bay to begin a 3-city interleague road trip.  The pitching matchup for the first game is stellar:  Tim Lincecum (5-1. 2.96 ERA, Opp. BA .235, WHIP 1.211) is going against Vin Mazzaro (2-0, 0.00 ERA, OBA .170, WHIP .923).  For those of you who are not familiar with the WHIP statistic, it stands for Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched.  It’s a truer measure of a pitcher’s effectiveness than ERA.  In all those categories, Mazzaro has the better stats, but he’s only pitched 2 games in the Major Leagues.  It should be fun to watch.