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Hicks and Miller DFA’d

November 20, 2012

Teams around baseball are designating players for assignment, cutting them, and making all sorts of roster moves in advance of the Rule V draft by freeing up space to add young players to the 40-man. The A’s joined that growing chorus today as they designated Brandon Hicks and Jim Miller for assignment and added Grant Green, Arnold Leon, Shane Peterson and Michael Ynoa to the 40-man roster.

Hicks came to the A’s as a waiver claim from the Atlanta Braves way back during spring training. This season he appeared in 22 games, posting a .172/.243/.391 slash line in 70 plate appearances with three home runs. He was worth an even 0.0 WAR on the year while drawing walks 8.6% of the time and having a gaudy K% of 44.3%. His only role with the A’s whose depth chart is awfully weak at shortstop, seemed to have been a possible infield backup, but guys who hit like him are not difficult to come by and Billy Beane and the A’s brass certainly made that calculation.

Miller was incidentally added to the team in advance of last year’s Rule V draft – though as an MiLB signing he was not on the 40-man roster. Miller eventually made the big league club appearing in 33 games and logging 48 2/3 innings of 8.1 K/9, 5.0 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 baseball. He had a sparkling ERA of 2.59 aided by an unsustainable 89.1% strand rate but a sloppy 4.74 FIP. He looked to be a possible bullpen piece in 2013, but I would not be surprised in the least if he cleared waivers. Likewise, Hicks seems all but certain to clear.

Green’s inclusion comes as no surprise, as the University of Southern California alum was ranked the A’s fourth best prospect entering 2012 by Baseball America and spent 2012 with Sacramento hitting to a .294/.336/.452 slash line with a .345 wOBA and 102 wRC+ in 562 plate appearances during which he slugged 15 long balls. He was drafted as a shortstop but has played all over as the A’s see him as something else. Could the vacancy give him an opportunity at short? We will have to wait and see but I’d like to see him get a shot there.

Leon, who the A’s found in the Mexican League and who previously participated in big league camp, split 2012 between Stockton, Midland and Sacramento, pitching a grand total of 44 games for 66 2/3 innings of 10.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9 baseball to the tune of a 2.70 ERA. He turned 24 in September and could be someone we see out of the A’s bullpen as he is a hard thrower and everyone loves seeing guys like that in the bullpen.

Peterson is the last direct remnant of the Matt Holliday escapade as he came over in the deal that sent Holliday to St. Louis (Michael Taylor is another remnant of the deal as he came to the A’s via Brent Wallace’s being flipped to Toronto- Wallace coming along with Peterson from St. Louis). This past season was split for him between Midland and Sacramento where he posted a .326/.460/.510 slash line with nine home runs primarily playing in the outfield. I understand why the A’s added him to the roster, but he doesn’t figure to get much if any big league playing time with the A’s outfield logjam as it is.

Finally, thus far he as been a bust extraordinaire, but bonus baby Ynoa was also added. Ynoa who has struggled mightily with injuries since signing his record-setting $4.25M signing bonus had once been called the greatest Latin American prospect since Felix Hernandez. Today, the praise is not so high, as he spent 2012 split between the AZL A’s and short-season Vermont tallying 30 2/3 innings of 7.3 K/9, 7.3 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9 baseball with a 6.46 ERA. Ynoa is further from the majors than anyone on here and I have to feel is on here solely due to the massive investment (gamble?) Oakland took on him. That said, he did rank 27th in the 2012 Baseball America Prospect Handbook where they said,

“Ynoa’s talent is apparent whenever he does pitch, but those times have been too few and far between… He still has frontline potential, but it’s time he gets on the mound and shows it.”

I was very surprised to not see Jermaine Mitchell DFA’d. This time last year he was added to the 40-man to protect him from the Rule V, but this past year he spent entirely in Sacramento putting together an unimpressive .252/.345/.386 slash line with six home runs in 474 at bats while accruing a .331 wOBA and 92 wRC+. The speed he has had touted resulted in a mere 15 stolen bases, while he was caught an unacceptable seven times. While these numbers wouldn’t merit his being opened up to the entire league for most players, Mitchell celebrated his 28th birthday just a few weeks ago, very long in the tooth for a “prospect”.

Andrew Carignan was outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento removing him from the 40-man roster as well. With that, the A’s 40-man roster is now 40 men full.

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