It’s official: the elephant is in the room

Posted By on March 6, 2009 11:01 am

Catchy headline, especially considering we’re talking about the A’s? Anyway, the A’s made it official this morning by announcing the signings of Orlando Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra.

Susan Slusser writes in her sfgate blog that Bobby Crosby met with the A’s brass this morning to discuss his new role. She noted that later on Crosby and Cabrera were taking ground balls, side by side. That must have been a sight.

It’s going to be a fascinating thing to watch how all of this unfolds. Crosby has said that he’s not going to be content as a backup infielder. (Gotta admire his honesty.) He’s also said he’s never played second base. Ever. So how effective of a backup middle infielder could he be anyway?

With two new infielders showing up on the same day, that sends quite a ripple down the roster, beyond simply the impact on Crosby. It was all laid out pretty well here.

The A’s aren’t likely to keep more than six infielders, and we have to count Jason Giambi as one of them. With Eric Chavez, Mark Ellis, Garciaparra and Cabrera, that leaves one backup spot, and it’s got to be a middle infielder (unless the A’s want Nomar to be their backup shortstop and second baseman). If Crosby’s around, he’s the guy. But that means no Jack Hannahan, no Cliff Pennington, no Gregorio Petit.

And no Daric Barton.

That’s a pretty big step back for a guy who one A’s official told me last spring was a lock to be top five in the rookie of the year voting.

Bear in mind that none of this is set in stone. The A’s could squeeze out a seventh infeld spot if they decide to go with just four outfielders (Matt Holliday, Ryan Sweeney, Jack Cust, Travis Buck and no Rajai Davis) or with only six relief pitchers. I think the latter is unlikely because they have such a young pitching staff.

However it shakes out, it will be interesting to watch.


6 Responses to “It’s official: the elephant is in the room”

  1. Brad Jensen says:

    Barton’s window began collapsing when the A’s got Carter in the trades last year. His future with the team seems in doubt. His little accident last year in the swimming pool I don’t think sat very well with management either.

    He’s probably the odd man out at this point and starts the season in AAA. I think they most likely go with 5 outfielders since they don’t have any utility guys that play both.

    So long as he doesn’t complain by being a clubhouse cancer (which would be out of character) I think Bobby should be able to state his mind appropriately as he has.

  2. Oakland Sí says:

    Crosby doesn’t help himself by announcing to the world that he’s never played anything by shortstop — ever. Anyone can look up his player history and know that. He can certainly express his disappointment, but a pro should also be willing to play wherever he is needed.

    By contrast, when Nomar was a top shortstop in Chicago he went to the manager and offered to play third — even though he hadn’t to that time played anything but shortstop — because there was a need, and Nomar was willing to do whatever was needed to help the club win.

  3. micdog2001 says:

    I would much rather have Rajai Davis on the team than Bobby Crosby. Rajai and Crosby both suck as hitters (for the most part, RD did go 4-4 today) BUT Rajai has value because of his blazing speed and defense. It is also important because of Buck’s injury history and poor performance last season and because Jack Cust needs a defensive replacement and pinch runner. Also, with Holliday, Giambi, & Cust in the lineup, offense hopefully won’t be as hard to come by.

  4. Brad Jensen says:

    I agree with you micdog. I also think that Davis has shown progress at the plate and although I don’t think he’s ever going to be a great hitter, I don’t think .250 is out of the question for him. His speed and late inning defense make him more valuable than Crosby to me as well although I think he’s probably going to miss the club.

  5. Sean says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about having a crowded infield. With the way the A’s manage to get injured, there will be plenty of at bats for Barton and Crosby. I would also be surprised if Pennington doesn’t get a a lot of times at the major leagues as a back up utility man. I think the bigger concern with Barton and Crosby is that they just aren’t very good. Although Davis is limited, his speed and fielding ability make him a valuable backup.

  6. Jeremy says:

    If Crosby refuses to play anything but SS, he’ll be out of baseball in 2 years tops. Good luck with getting that every day job as an oft injured .240/.310 guy who refuses to help the team in any way he can…

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