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Soon to be Free Agent Decisions

September 27, 2011

We are beginning to get the daily who is not going to return type articles from the A’s beat reporters. Yesterday Joe Stiglich wrote in the San Jose Mercury News about Hideki Matsui‘s possible return, highlighting (if highlighting is even possibly the most appropriate word here) that,

“It doesn’t appear the A’s have a better in-house DH option than Matsui. Power-hitting prospect Chris Carter is hitting .167 in 37 career big-league games.

[Bob] Melvin has voiced his support for bringing Matsui back next season, and Melvin said he believes Matsui’s late-season slump looks worse because of his post-All Star break hot streak.”

I am adamantly opposed to bringing back Hideki Matsui, he is old, his skills are clearly declining if not deteriorating right before our eyes and with DH’s so cheap on the open market should the A’s choose to go after someone there I am certain that Johnny Damon or Jim Thome could provide more bang for your buck even if they did cost more than Matsui. In 2011 Matsui has been worth 0.3 WAR whereas Damon has been good for 1.3 WAR and 1.1 WAR has been extracted out of Thome. While none of those numbers are impressive, I think Damon and Thome are both better P.R. moves and offer more value to the organization as Thome can move into a more secondary role to give more at bats to Carter and Damon could potentially still play a little left field.

In other free agent notes, it seems Coco Crisp and David DeJesus too will be sent packing. Crisp along with Matsui do not project to be Type-B free-agents anymore but DeJesus still looks to be a Type-B. While it is apparent that the potential for a move to San Jose will preclude the A’s from offering him an extension, I’d love to see DeJesus back, I think this is just an off-year for him, but I think it is unlikely. Regardless, Oakland needs to offer him arbitration and potentially collect a draft pick as he looks for a friendlier climate for hitting. Crisp should not be re-signed, though he can play center and no other people in Oakland’s organization seem capable of that feat, he doesn’t provide much to the organization in my mind and I think I am OK with leaving Ryan Sweeney in to man center in 2012. Interestingly, in a Susan Slusser piece about Coco Crisp from today’s San Francisco Chronicle Crisp’s agent Steve Comte also alludes to the stadium issue as Josh Willingham‘s agent did prior saying,

“The reality is that we knew in spring training that the situation with the stadium could impact their long-term spending.”

Meanwhile the only other looming decision regarding a soon-to-be free-agent is about Rich Harden whom I feel the A’s have no reason not to sign to an incentive laden deal in the $4-5M range for one-year.

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