SweetSpot: Dallas McPherson

We'll miss you, Dallas McPherson

January, 16, 2010
Well, the Oakland A's just got a little better (or will, if everyone passes their physicals). So why am I not happier about it?
    After coming up short in a bid to sign free agent Adrian Beltre, the Oakland Athletics filled their third base void Friday by acquiring Kevin Kouzmanoff in a four-player trade with the San Diego Padres, a baseball source confirmed.

    Kouzmanoff, who hit 18 homers and drove in 88 runs for San Diego in 2009, goes to Oakland with a minor leaguer in exchange for outfielders Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham, the source said.


    Acquiring Kouzmanoff will help with Oakland's efforts to upgrade defensively this offseason. Kouzmanoff made only three errors in 311 total chances at third base last year for a .990 fielding percentage, breaking the previous National League third base record of .987 set by Colorado's Vinny Castilla in 2004. Kouzmanoff sent a glove to the Hall of Fame after the season at the museum's request.

Kouzmanoff's an upgrade at third base for the A's.

Defensively? Sure, I guess. But Kouzmanoff isn't a great third baseman. He's a good third baseman with a great fielding percentage.

Offensive? Sure, I guess. Oakland's third basemen were the second-worst in the American League last season. Kouzmanoff was league-average in the National League, and wasn't getting any help from his home ballpark.

So, sure: Nice move for the A's.

I just wish they hadn't made it, because Kouzmanoff's arrival probably torpedoes Dallas McPherson's chances for anything like a regular job.

McPherson's 29. He's got a .280/.360/.635 line in Triple-A. Oh, one more thing: McPherson missed all of 2007 and 2009 with back injuries. So you can understand why the A's weren't exactly counting on him to play 150 games at third base in 2010.

Still, let's assume he can actually play, and that he can still hit ... You know what might be close to awesome? A McPherson/Kouzmanoff platoon (with Kouzmanoff coming in for defense when the A's are ahead after six or seven innings). For that matter, a McPherson/Jake Fox platoon might have been interesting, too (except neither of them would have been suitable for late-innings defense).

That's all gone now. Thanks to the dozen-man pitching staffs that we all love so much, teams resort to platoons only as a last resort. You've got your 12 pitchers, your nine guys in the lineup, and your extra catcher, and now you've got room for only three more players. You also need a utility infielder and a fourth outfielder ... and now you're down to one roster spot.

Which is why you don't see many platoons at all anymore. I continue to believe that 12-man pitching staffs are foolish, because the manager has to sacrifice offense at one position (at least) while benefiting very little from that last man in the bullpen.

But nobody listens to me. And I doubt if I'll see much of Dallas McPherson (or Jake Fox) in 2010.

Monday Mendozas

April, 13, 2009
Today's links were amalgamated while I watched golf highlights for the first time since Tom Watson was making hay ...

• One of the things that makes baseball so endearing is the silly old fourth-out rule. You have to love it.

• Did you hear the big news? Jack Wilson is off to a hot start! It's true! He's 7-for-22! Granted, if two of those seven hits had been non-hits, nobody would notice how hot he's started. But it's April and we have to write about something, so ...

• As Doug Glanville writes, even ballplayers aren't invincible.

• R.J. Anderson wonders if Juan Morillo and his 97-mph heat have a future (short answer: probably not).

• I do Tweet occasionally (@RobNeyer), but I'm not exactly sure if this is a cool thing. Could be, though. Why don't you try it first, and let me know!

• Hey, Dallas McPherson has a job! Well, sort of a job. First he gets to spend some time in extended spring training. Then he gets to spend some time in Fresno, backing up someone named "Ryan Rohlinger." But if Travis Ishikawa doesn't hit and Pablo Sandoval continues to look like a first baseman trying to play third base, McPherson might eventually wind up having some fun with the big club.

• Wondering where Baseball Prospectus' top 100 prospects landed this spring? Here's where.

• I used to want to write a book about umpires. But I didn't, in part because it would have been a lot of work. OK, that's mostly why. But also because I figured nobody would care. But Bruce Weber's written a book about umpires and he got on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross! So I might have been wrong about that one.