Parker Optioned and Coco Has Second-Thoughts
Yesterday Jarrod Parker had a rough outing walking seven Dbacks in his three and two-thirds innings of work. Subsequently, the Athletics optioned him to Sacramento to work on his command. Parker has thrown eleven innings this spring – second only to Tommy Milone‘s 12 2/3 – and in those eleven innings he has issued thirteen walks with only nine strikeouts. Melissa Lockard of Scout.com tweeted regarding Parker’s performance,
“when evaluating Jarrod Parker, it’s important to remember that command is often the last thing to return for Tommy John survivors.”
While I agree with that assessment, though not perhaps with the use of the term “survivors”, Parker did pitch a full 2011 season in the Diamondbacks system going 136 1/3 innings and walking 56 or in other words, getting 3.7 BB/9. I agree that still needs to be worked on, but I think these Cactus League statistics should be taken with a grain of salt and not entirely indicative of a control problem. Prior to the surgery Parker in 215 innings had 3.0 BB/9 so that seems like a good baseline goal for him. Aside from the walks, Parker managed to keep the ball in the ballpark so a rough FIP for him this spring would be 5.11 much better than the 3.27 ERA he posted, after all yesterday he skated through seven walks in such a short period of time yet only allowed two runs.
“It doesn’t mean he’s not in the running for the fifth-starter spot, and he knows that. I think he was very disappointed in the fact he didn’t get to go to Japan and be with his teammates, and I understand that… His stuff is good when he gets it over the plate. He has the stuff to get behind guys and get guys out, but you just don’t want to put guys on base like he did today… He needs to get his rhythm a little bit better, find a consistent arm slot and throw the ball over the plate, like he has in his career.This is kind of against the grain for who he is.”
On account of their bizarre schedule the A’s do not require a fifth starter until April 17th, but I find it hard to imagine that the A’s will only use four starters as there is not much to be gained in my mind as there isn’t a significant difference between any of the third, fourth or fifth starter options that would make one want to skip the fifth starter. I still think it will shake out with the 3-4-5 spots being won by Graham Godfrey, Tom Milone and Tyson Ross though not necessarily in that order.
The other big news came from a USA Today report from Bob Nightengale who spoke to Coco Crisp on the day after he found out he had lost his spot in center field to apparent “demigod” Yoenis Cespedes. Crisp said to Nightengale,
“No, I wouldn’t have come back here as a left fielder. I would have signed with Tampa. But that said, I’m glad I’m back here. I love the guys that are here in the clubhouse. The family situation was right for me. The location was right for me. The only thing that has changed now is my thought I was going to play a certain position.”
That doesn’t sound too much of a ringing endorsement. Clearly people are upset over lost spots all the time, but mouthing off like this doesn’t appear to be a great public relations move. Especially from someone who has won over many fans by his apparent willingness to be in Oakland. I wonder if this could be the precursor for a trade? Crisp’s spring has been strong having a .321/.367/.464 slash line in 30 plate appearances, but his upside to me is much more limited than that of Seth Smith whom he usurped in left field. Cespedes, could indeed find himself in Sacramento if his learning curve isn’t sharp at the MLB level meaning Crisp could have his spot back but to me this is just more indication that the signing was a mistake. Now in fairness, one could argue it wasn’t a mistake as the A’s had no certainty they’d land Cespedes, but I really think Collin Cowgill would’ve been a better option in center as well. It’ll be interesting to see if this is just a blip in the relationship or if all can be remedied much like Michael Young‘s near annual protestations over position or playing time in Texas without any changes in his results.