Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SweetSpot [Print without images]

Sunday, December 13, 2009
An era ends in Oakland


An era is over:

Cust

I like Cust as much as the next guy -- more, probably -- but this is exactly what you're supposed to do with marginal major leaguers like Cust: get the most out of them when they're young and cheap, and then dump them.

That's harsh, I know. If someone asks Billy Beane, he'll couch Cust's non-tendering in far friendlier terms. But he might also talk about Cust's "trendline" -- I haven't talked to him lately, but that used to be one of his favorite words -- and Cust's trendline is heading in the wrong direction.

In 2007, when Cust's services were essentially free, he hit .256/.408/.504.

In 2008, when he still was basically free ($410,000), he hit .231/.375/.476.

And in 2009, when he cost $2.8 million, he hit .240/.356/.417.

That's a steeper decline than we would have guessed, and so we might expect a bit of a comeback in 2010. Is it worth spending more than $4 million to find out, though? Probably not. This probably ends soon, and not prettily.

It's funny; I thought Fox and Cust would be perfect platoon partners. Was sort of looking forward to it, in fact. But with prospect Brett Wallace on the fast track, non-prospect Daric Barton might soon find himself in a limited role ... say, platoon with Fox?

Hey, a guy can dream a little, right?