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Parker Optioned and Coco Has Second-Thoughts

March 20, 2012

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.

In a Jane Lee report from MLB.com, Bob Melvin said this,

“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.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kasper & Ghosts permalink
    March 20, 2012 3:39 pm

    I like Coco Crisp a lot, I think he’s underrated in many regards.

    He’s the veteran, he paid his dues, signed the contract for center field. That being said…he’s probably better off in left field.

    • March 20, 2012 3:50 pm

      As you know, I am not a fan of Coco. He is fun to watch, I just don’t like his skillset. He is fast and a baserunning threat but doesn’t get on enough. He has great range in the outfield but an arm that often offsets it. The amount we paid for him is obscene for the type of ballplayer he is. Just not impressive to me. I think if anything he is overrated. Why do you feel he is underrated?

  2. Kasper & Ghosts permalink
    March 20, 2012 6:07 pm

    He’s fast and plays great defense, he hits above avenge and has great speed on the bases.

    It’s not statistical reasons I like Coco Crisp. (Besides I do like his stats). I wasn’t always sold on Crisp, but he’s the best guy for the job at this point. Would you rather have Matt Carson running into walls again like a cartoon ? All I mean is we have very few options and that makes him underrated with his skill sets.

    • March 20, 2012 7:57 pm

      He is fast, I think his defense is overrated as I think his arm really is deficient and I think his hitting is about league average. wRC+ liked his hitting as exactly 100 this past season, and aside from a high 127 in 2010, it hasn’t been anywhere near league average for a while.

      I really am far from convinced he is the best for the job. He certainly isn’t the best for the job at the amount we are paying him. I would much rather have Cespedes in center with Smith in left than Crisp anywhere on the diamond. If Cespedes weren’t in the picture, I am not convinced as to why I’d want Crisp over Cowgill.

      If anything I think in the outfield we have the most options. But I get why people like Crisp… he is entertaining.

  3. Drew W permalink
    March 20, 2012 7:42 pm

    When Coco signed I thought, well, he signed right after Sweeney was traded and right before the Seth Smith deal and Gomes signing, which made it seem like an outfield of Reddick in RF, Coco in CF, and Smith/Gomes in LF. Also, Coco helped the A’s reach the rumored “salary floor” and would satisfy the other MLB owners that the A’s were making an effort. But I might have preferred bringing DeJesus back before Coco, if he was interested. I would have also preferred to see Chris Carter and Michael Taylor on the team this year–the A’s are rebuilding, and if not now, then when, exactly, are they going to get an extended look? When Cespedes signed, I thought he might be destined for RF, but not so. Now when I think about it, I suppose Coco might be traded to a team that needs a CF (Nationals?). But I try not to think about it. I’m sure things will shake out–they always do.

    • March 20, 2012 8:00 pm

      Indeed, things have a way of working themselves out. My thinking was identical to yours regarding DeJesus. DeJesus in my mind was the superior player and the Cubs got him for less. I just don’t see how Coco has much trade value, but then again just getting that salary off the books may be worthwhile regardless, as I think I said on my podcast, it is amazing how a two-year contract can be an albatross but to me this one is.

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