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Weeks Optioned and Other Moves

August 21, 2012

The addition of Stephen Drew meant someone had to be sent down. Despite his versatility which is important to a contending ballclub down the stretch (and let’s be straight here, with expanding rosters on September 1st, really we are talking the last ten days of August) I figured that Adam Rosales would be the one to get the boot if it were a position player, though I felt it probably should’ve been one of the extra relievers the A’s were carrying. Regardless that is not how things worked out. With a flurry of roster moves the A’s reset their 25-man roster to accommodate their new acquisition and made quite a splash in doing so by demoting struggling second baseman Jemile Weeks.

The writing has been on the wall so to speak that possibly Weeks had been losing favor with the A’s brass as Grant Green was seeing playing time at second base – a position one would think was blocked at the MLB level – in Sacramento.  But ultimately he just wasn’t putting up the numbers the A’s expected of him and while many fans expected quite a bit out of him, he did not even meet the muted expectations of skeptics like me posting a .220/.305/.302 slash line with a .276 wOBA and 74 wRC+ posting a mere 0.2 WAR over his 504 plate appearances. He fell from being a top of the order guy to a bottom of the order guy over the course of the season and now will be relegated to manning second base for the River Cats.

Way back on May 1st, there was discussion on Athletics Nation about whether or not there was something wrong with Weeks and what the best course of action was. The consensus was that there was little to worry about and that he’d right his ship. I disagreed with that and put a post up both here and on Athletics Nation I argued that his offensive struggles, led to defensive struggles and that all in all,

“if not demoted, Weeks shouldn’t be batting leadoff – his skill set never really warranted it with an OBP (.340) so highly based upon his BABIP (.350) last year along with a pathetic 4.8% BB% – he should be batting ninth in a lesser pressure spot. Let Weeks be the player he can be, send him to Sacramento for some fine tuning.”

Well the A’s took my advice doing the former and removing him from hitting at the top of the order, and then waiting it out painfully through the latter half of August before taking the next step and letting him work things out with the River Cats. This move has been a long time coming and I am happy to see it. Weeks does have the ability to be what I think is probably at best a slightly better than average second baseman. He isn’t someone to give up on and the A’s should let him work out the kinks in Sacramento, so I am thrilled with this move.

There were however two other movements on the roster as well, as reliever Jordan Norberto was put onto the disabled list with a strained left shoulder. Being a left-handed pitcher that is of course a very concerning development, but perhaps some caution is needed as Norberto did go on the DL with a shoulder strain (injuries that seem to just last forever in pitchers) back in June when he was out from May 31st to June 20th, so it is conceivable if things have not deteriorated further that we see Norberto again come this September. Norberto has to be one of the more pleasant surprises this season, as the wild lefty has harnessed things to a degree and has a 2.77 ERA, with 8.0 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 (a major departure from his 9.0+ marks previously) and just 0.9 HR/9 for a 3.91 FIP. He has thrown 52 innings, second only to Grant Balfour‘s 57 1/3, in terms of bullpen innings. Norberto’s placement on the disabled list, got rid of the extra bullpen arm as it was accompanied by Seth Smith‘s return from the disabled list.

Smith’s return helps out the A’s as in 325 plate appearances he has a .237/.342/.424 slash line with 11 home runs has given him a solid .329 wOBA and 109 wRC+. I assume he will reenter the platoon he had shared with Jonny Gomes and that’ll give the A’s a needed offensive boost as they look to stay in the mix. Drew’s addition to the 25-man roster of course also meant he was added to the 40-man roster and the A’s announced that move at the same time as they designated righty Graham Godfrey for assignment. Godfrey made the Opening Day rotation but as the A’s young arms kept succeeding and leap-frogging him on the depth chart it became clear that Godfrey’s utility would be limited. Even for being used as a reliever Godfrey was often overlooked in favor of guys like Pedro Figueroa, Jim Miller and Evan Scribner and even more recently waiver pick ups like Pat Neshek. In his time in Oakland this season, Godfrey acquired in the trade that sent Marco Scutaro to Toronto, was worth -0.2 WAR in his 21 innings, going 0-4 with a 6.43 ERA well in line with his 6.48 FIP as he put up 4.3 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and 1.7 HR/9 across four starts and five total appearances. In Sacramento he fared better but was still largely non-noteworthy going 104 innings posting a 3.29 ERA with a 4.06 FIP putting up 5.2 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9. I assume that he will clear waivers and be outrighted to Sacramento but we have ten days to find out. As an organization filler type, I have no qualms about hanging onto the likes of Godfrey.

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