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Bunch of Moves Result in Pat Neshek DFA

August 26, 2013

The A’s had a series of moves today. Josh Reddick, reinjurying his wrist yesterday has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. To fill his spot on the roster the A’s brought Daric Barton back up from Sacramento, presumably so Brandon Moss can move and cover some of the outfielding duties. While that move has relatively large implications, it wasn’t a surprise to see Reddick headed to the DL and aside from two games in Toronto, he has had quite the moribund season. Barton doesn’t make this club any better and while I’d love to think Kendrys Morales who was placed on revocable waivers somehow got to Oakland and they have selected him, it is far more likely that Baltimore or New York scooped him up and that no serviceable first base options will make it to the A’s on the waiver wire. The best we are going to get is Barton for now with Moss moving to the Oakland, and likely more playing time for the double-headed disappointment of Seth Smith and Chris Young. For what it is worth on the year Barton in Oakland: -0.1 WAR, .143/.217/.286 in 23 plate appearances with a .230 wOBA and 41 wRC+; in Sacramento: .297/.423/.430 with a .392 wOBA and 134 wRC+ in 488 plate appearances. Reddick meanwhile is hitting an underwhelming .213/.297/.362 with a .292 wOBA and 84 wRC+ (his 2.0 WAR heavily influenced by both his defense and baserunning) in 375 plate appearances.

In another move the A’s chose to fortify their bullpen by DFA’ing the struggling Pat Neshek and recalling Evan Scribner from Sacramento. Neshek, who the A’s acquired from the Orioles last summer, has had success with the A’s this year throwing 37 2/3 innings in his 41 games, with 6.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9. Aside from the HR/9 those are pretty good numbers but the HR/9 isn’t due to some weird HR/FB and at 10.2% is about where it should be. As a result, despite the solid 3.58 ERA, advanced metrics don’t like him with FIP at 4.57 and xFIP at 4.66 giving him -0.1 WAR. The BABIP at .283 isn’t low but the strand rate can’t keep up at 80.3% but still it doesn’t seem like he should be DFA’d especially given that rosters expand on September 1st. Was it really worthwhile to DFA him? Could some more patience have been warranted? His last three outings have been about a week apart and it seems Bob Melvin may have lost confidence in him (3.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 H, 0 BB and 4K) – even though it seems he hasn’t had much to begin with as he pitches in games that seem out of hand as indicated by the 13-28 record that the A’s have in games he participates in. Still, you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, this move seems sort of needless to me.

Scribner meanwhile has split his time between Sacramento and Oakland. In Oakland he is the owner of a 5.03 ERA and 4.66 FIP (5.20 xFIP for what it is worth) which put him bascially at about the same level as Neshek. His peripherals in his 19 2/3 innings on the hill are an OK 5.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9, he too being worth -0.1 WAR. Up I-80 he has performed far better in his 42 2/3 innings as a River Cat he has a 2.32 ERA and 1.96 FIP backed by 11.2 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and 0.4 HR/9, numbers that if they held up in Oakland (which they haven’t thus far) would make him the far superior choice. To me, when you are trading one guy for another and it isn’t clear that one is a better alternative, it doesn’t make sense to just let that asset float away. There is a chance Neshek goes unclaimed, but I suppose the A’s wouldn’t put him on waivers until after September 1st as maybe that gets a few others out of the bidding and lest they face him again in the postseason.

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