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Chris Carter Demoted :(

March 25, 2011

Chris Carter was demoted to Sacramento today following the game against the Angels – though he did not participate in this afternoon’s game. The move doesn’t really come as a surprise as once the A’s acquired Josh Willingham, David DeJesus and Hideki Matsui there was clearly no room left for Carter and it never really made sense to make him a backup when he needs everyday at bats and innings in the field. For all my sarcastic comments regarding Carter’s fielding, I really am rooting for this kid. I love Carter’s attitude. He went through an 0-for-33 slump yet somehow seemed to remain upbeat. I mean that takes a lot of heart, so I really want him to succeed. He seems like a great guy.

In keeping with his positive attitude he joked to the media, as reported by Susan Slusser, “just put sad face.” Slusser granted him that wish as did we above.

Skipper Bob Geren said of Carter,

“He had a few struggles in the outfield, but he worked as hard as anyone else. I told him that this is one of the toughest places to play – Spring Training in Arizona, a lot of sun and wind in your eyes. A lot of other guys have missed balls, so I don’t want him to get discouraged and just to work. I think he runs well enough, and I think he throws well enough. Those are the two components that are hard to teach – running speed and arm strength. The other stuff can be taught.”

Carter certainly did have some adventures in left field. In one of the few games of the spring that was televised for the A’s – a game in Tempe against the Angels – Carter had two fielding misplays in two consecutive plays. Frequently we heard Vince Marotta say things like “that ball drops in front of Carter” and then a description of how he misplayed it off the bat, or got a poor jump, etc. It takes time, it isn’t easy and I think with this kids work ethic he can make it through but realistically I think he is headed for designated hitter duty.

Susan Slusser in describing how Carter looks inevitably as if he will end up DH’ing was uber-pessimistic on Matsui saying,

“Many believe that Carter is an eventual DH, and much as I hate to say it, perhaps that might be sooner rather than later if Hideki Matsui doesn’t get it going the first couple months of the season. Everyone says he’s a slow starter, and boy, that is certainly true, but he seems as if he grounds into a double play a day. That’s not what the A’s want to see during the regular season from their big offseason acquisition.”

Whereas Jane Lee decided to discuss how it is that Carter ended up in left field in the first place writing,

“Carter was groomed as a first baseman for the majority of his Minor League career, but Daric Barton‘s steady presence at that position influenced the club to move its top prospect out to the grass. Carter made two errors with Oakland last year and three this spring in left field, but he believes he’s garnered better jumps on balls and said he feels ‘better out there’ “

For what it is worth, I think Carter should be the designated hitter on next year’s club. In many ways limiting him to designated hitter could make him an Oakland Athletic longer as his value will be diminished as we’ve seen designated hitters being picked up for pennies on the dollar as of late, which would allow the A’s potentially to sign him long-term whereas in the field he might garner a higher salary despite his fielding inadequacies. I think Hideki Matsui will do just fine this year, as his former teammate from the Yomiuri Giants said as reported by Joe Stiglich (and I think it could be the line of the year) regarding his slow starts, “in Japan, he was the same way. The monster only appears after summer comes.”

So hopefully Chris can mash in Sacramento, it won’t be long before we see his prodigious power at the Coliseum, maybe a few dingers down the stretch when the rosters expand? I am not as pessimistic as Slusser that he’ll be here sooner rather than later unless he tears up the PCL so much that we have no choice but to promote him, which would be a very happy circumstance indeed and reason to turn this post’s title’s frown upside down.

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