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Lockard on Krol, Colorado Trades and Barton

July 13, 2011

Melissa Lockard of had an online chat so I took the opportunity to sneak in a few questions. She is great, definitely a must-check-out website for A’s fans. Given her specialty is the Oakland farm system, my questions were based mostly on what is going on down on the farm.

Comment From David A Wishinsky

Ian Krol was last year’s MiLB Pitcher of the Year for the A’s. Of course earlier this week he was suspended indefinitely – rightfully so if you ask me but, what does this mean for his future with the team?

I don’t think it impacts his future with the team too greatly, although I’m sure there are some angry feelings on both sides right now. He’s very young and had to learn a very public lesson about how to be a professional. I like his work ethic and I think he’ll overcome this misstep. I assume he’ll be back at some point this season and hopefully can finish the year on a positive note. Dallas Braden had a few missteps as a youngster too and now you couldn’t ask for a better role model for an organization.
Interesting stuff here, I take it to mean that this suspension is not going to be particularly lengthy for Krol. It is interesting given that Krol has past behavioral issues (he was suspended in high school for violating his team’s alcohol policy) that she also speaks highly of his work ethic. So I am going to chalk this up to Krol being immature. He is 20 and I think we all did or said things at 20 we’d like to take back, of course he did so in a very public manner and as Lockard notes, he was dealt with in a very public manner as well. I can’t recall what Braden’s past issues were and a Google search didn’t find any results for me, but if she thinks he can turn into a Dallas Braden type role model with some finishing, I’m willing to give him a second shot. Now given that he is in the Arizona Rookie League right now, that may explain it – but I have yet to see a public apology from Krol…
Comment From David A Wishinsky

Tell us about Bruce Billings and Ethan Hollingsworth. These trades we’ve made with Colorado just seem to be so lop-sided, it’d be nice to maybe get something out of one of these two.

Hollingsworth was pitching well before a groin pull grounded him a month ago. He should be back soon. He’s a Graham Godfrey-type pitcher and has a similar MLB ceiling as Clay Mortensen, although he’s younger than Clay and further away from the bigs. I’d give that trade a year or so to judge it. Also, remember that that trade was as much about clearing a roster spot as it was about the players involved.
Billings is a decent middle relief prospect. He has good velocity and has excellent minor league numbers. That trade, though, was more about finding a spot for [Mark] Ellis than a value deal. I’m still waiting to see what the PTBNL later is, though.
My question certainly didn’t highlight it but I was well aware that neither of these trades were made in say the vein of a Dan Haren or Nick Swisher type, let’s rebuild our system with some great prospects manner. That said, we have been burned in trades with Colorado as of late it seems, the most noteworthy being the trade of Carlos Gonzalez and company to acquire Matt Holliday. Clayton Mortensen, while hardly a big time piece of the A’s future (obviously as they DFA’d him this winter) still had success in Colorado (he was dealt for Hollingsworth), even further putting salt in the wound. Seems like these trades basically will end up being washes, as neither of these guys seems particularly exciting, comparing a pitcher to Graham Godfrey doesn’t exactly put World Series trophies in my dreams in the near future.
Comment From David A Wishinsky

Daric Barton was obviously terrible this year in Oakland, and so far hasn’t been lighting the world on fire in Sacramento. What do you hear about his long-term situation with the A’s? Have Billy Beane and Co given up on Barton? Was 2010 a fluke?

Barton’s struggles are really hard to figure out. He looks a lot more passive this year, and it’s hard to know why he would have changed anything from what he did last season. Since 2006, he has been alternating good and bad years, so maybe next year he’s due for a good one?
Finally, I asked about my boy Daric Barton, who while not a prospect, is certainly on Lockard’s roster as his place with the River Cats seems quite secure in the near future. Barton who posted a -0.3 WAR, .212/.325/.267 line in Oakland is not exactly maximizing his opportunities in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League posting an even worse .160/.323/.200 line in fourteen games with the River Cats. She didn’t give him a ringing endorsement, and I think this inconsistency may cost Daric his future with the A’s.

Interesting stuff from a great writer, it is great when people do these live chats and give us a chance to pick their brains.
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