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Heyman on Athletics on the Move and on Athletics Staying Put

July 22, 2011

In his “Daily Scoop” piece at SportsIllustrated.com, Jon Heyman reiterates some rumors we’ve heard before and offers some interesting comments on moves that look as though they will not come to fruition. From the piece,

“The A’s have gotten multiple hits on Coco Crisp, including the Indians and Reds. But they’ve yet to receive one call on Hideki Matsui, who recently hit his 500th home run in pro baseball. Among their relievers, they don’t seem anxious to trade Grant Balfour but are taking calls on Michael Wuertz, Brian Fuentes and Craig Breslow, who’d fit both the Yankees and Red Sox.”

I am a little surprised that there isn’t any interest at all in Hideki Matsui. Though he has struggled, he was used so sparingly by Bob Geren that he never was able to get into a hitting rhythm which I think is especially key for designated hitters who can’t compensate by getting into a rhythm in the field and such. During his time on the club with Geren, Godzilla was more like the Geico Gecko hitting a paltry .209/.260/.316 with just three home runs over 49 games. Since Bob Melvin took over, while he hasn’t been up to his usual self, he has been a far more respectable .248/.364/.400 with four home runs over 32 games. For a club like the Yankees (though they are looking specifically for right-handed sluggers) you would think they could possibly swing a deal to get Matsui in pinstripes, with Oakland even perhaps willing to eat some of the minimal contract costs left for 2011. In fact just recently the Yankees signed Marcus Thames recently released by the Dodgers to a minor-league deal because of his power coming off the bench. I am a little surprised that New York, a team never hesitant to have former All-Stars fill their bench wouldn’t be interested in Matsui who less than two years ago helped them to their 27th World Championship as the 2009 World Series Most Valuable Player. That said, aside from the Yankees it is unclear who would want or benefit from Matsui, most American League teams are either settled at designated hitter or rather nonplussed with their results but would not find Matsui to be an upgrade at this point.

The non-movement of Grant Balfour to me is a little surprising given Billy Beane‘s feelings on relief pitchers, though it is specifically much more geared towards overpaying closers. If I were to keep one of the tradeable pieces in the A’s bullpen, it would be Grant Balfour who does not hold the trade value inherent in an Andrew Bailey but is at the same time very good, and I think capable of being a leader in the unit.

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