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Wuertz Released; A’s Add Hunter and Scribner

October 25, 2011

Didn’t see this one coming, but Michael Wuertz whose option I did not expect to see picked up was released today by the A’s. I don’t know if this is a semantics issue right now but I do assume that Wuertz’ option was declined and that is how this all played out. Regardless, glad to see that Wuertz is gone, which I had previously advocated. At that time, I highlighted some statistics of Wuertz’ following a poor outing. On the year those numbers did not improve but even worsened as he finished with a 6.68 ERA and a poor 5.46 FIP, totaling -0.5 WAR (worst among A’s pitchers). He posted well off his career marks 8.6 K/9, 7.0 BB/9 and 1.3 HR/9 (he was not off his career marks in a good direction in any of these categories). While he was victimized by a .327 BABIP, his SwStr% as I noted back in September was 12.4% his lowest since his rookie campaign in 2004 – his not missing bats clearly resulted in more hits.

The reason for the release was that the A’s plucked two players off of waivers from the San Diego Padres and needed the 40-man roster room. The two players they picked up were outfielder Cedric Hunter and right-handed pitcher Evan Scribner. Hunter made his MLB debut this season with the Padres playing six games managing five plate appearances with a lone hit. Hunter isn’t much of a hitter so I am not sure why the A’s felt the need to pick him up and he may not be long on the roster given his career marks. The 23 year old spent most of the season in Triple-A Tucson where played in 81 games posting a .255/.322/.358 slash line with a decidedly poor .307 wOBA and 68 wRC+. He doesn’t solve any A’s power problems as evidenced by his .358 slugging as he only had two dingers during his time in the homer happy PCL. Hunter also doesn’t walk very often (8.9% with Tucson) in his second season at the Triple-A level (with worse results no less).

Scribner on the other hand is equally unimpressive. Scribner enters an already pretty full A’s bullpen having also split 2011 between Tucson and San Diego. In San Diego Scribner pitched in 10 games, posting a 7.07 ERA though with a much better 3.38 FIP, as he was like Wuertz a victim of a high BABIP (.347) in his limited time on the mound. He had decent peripherals as he posted 6.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. In Tucson, Scribner also had an ERA (4.71) higher than his FIP (3.48) indicates it should’ve been pitching 28 2/3 innings in 28 appearances.

I am completely fine with cutting Wuertz loose, but don’t understand why either of these players were worth plucking from the waiver wire – it seems like Padres fans won’t be sore to see these two go.

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