Friday, March 12, 2010
A's should go with radical shortstops
Via our Rumor Central, Susan Slusser with a hint of March drama:
Do the A's have a shortstop competition brewing?
Manager Bob Geren said last week that there is "competition" at the position, but Thursday he said emphatically that Cliff Pennington, who spent the second half of last season playing shortstop for Oakland, remains the favorite.
"Cliff is definitely the front-runner," Geren said. "Cliff is doing exactly what we want."
Still, the A's made a strong run at Marco Scutaro this winter, offering him a three-year deal to take their starting shortstop job. Scutaro took two years in Boston instead. Then, Oakland acquired Willy Taveras only to dump him, absorbing his $4 million salary to pry Rosales, 26, from the Reds.
One reason Oakland did that, of course, was because Rosales has options remaining, giving the team roster flexibility. So he's likely to open the season at Triple-A Sacramento, but a standout spring could put heat on Pennington.
That's a lot of money for a guy you're just going to send to Triple-A. Especially a 26-year-old guy.
Adam Rosales is a right-handed hitter. Cliff Pennington is a switch-hitter with a .373 on-base percentage against right-handed pitchers in the minors and terrible numbers against left-handed pitchers in the majors (warning: small sample size).
This is idle speculation, because the A's aren't half as radical as people think. But if there was ever a time to platoon your shortstops, this might be it. Rosales could play against lefties, and the rest of the time Pennington could play, with Rosales -- who's played plenty of shortstop, second base, third base, and first base in the minors -- serving as a super-sub.
A good baseball man would say you can't platoon shortstops because the shortstop is the anchor of the defense, and your good baseball man might be right. But the A's are projected almost everywhere to finish in last place. Why not try something a little bit radical?