Monday, June 21, 2010
Is A's Suzuki a worthy All-Star?
Today's burning question is posed by John Shea (and answered, sort of, by Bob Geren):
Who's the A's All-Star? Manager Bob Geren, when asked for candidates, listed four and put the most emphasis on Kurt Suzuki.
"I think Suzuki is an All-Star," Geren said. "I think he should've been last year without a doubt."
In many circles, Suzuki is considered the second-best catcher in the league (considering both offense and defense) behind Mauer. This year's manager is New York's Joe Girardi, who could make a push for Jorge Posada.
Others mentioned by Geren as candidates were Bailey, Trevor Cahill and Ryan Sweeney. The A's haven't had a position player make an All-Star team since catcher Ramon Hernandez in 2002.
Suzuki's enjoying a solid season and there are few catchers more dynamic behind the plate. But it's hard to make a case for him over Mauer and Posada. Sure, if you throw defense and durability into the mix, maybe Suzuki fights his way into the discussion for No. 2 ... but of course the defense is notoriously hard to quantify, so we can argue about this one forever without reaching any real agreement.
If Girardi needs a third catcher or if he's desperate for one Athletic, Suzuki would be a fine choice. It's silly to consider Ryan Sweeney, a right fielder with one home run this season. And while Cahill has pitched well this season, he's got only six wins and his 3.21 ERA is the most impressive piece of his record ... and this season, 3.21 isn't all that impressive.
In the end, it's going to come down to Suzuki vs. Bailey, the American League's reigning Rookie of the Year. Bailey's strikeout rate is lower this season, but so's his ERA. Which of them gets the All-Star nod will probably have less to do with performance than Girardi's roster considerations.
All of which is just moderately interesting unless you're an A's fan. It was that last line in the post that got me, though: The A's haven't had a position player make an All-Star team since catcher Ramon Hernandez in 2002.
Actually, it was 2003. Still that was a long time ago ... and Hernandez wasn't that good! I think six straight All-Star Games without an A's position player -- and this year might make it seven straight -- says a lot about what's been ailing this franchise for the last few years. With the exception of Nick Swisher -- their best hitter in 2006, when they won 93 games and reached the ALCS -- the A's simply haven't developed any high-quality hitters.
And the less said about Andre Ethier, the better.