catslash: (fried gold - credit londonpie (??))
( Jul. 17th, 2007 08:41 pm)
Here's an interesting additional tidbit:

Kendall has a no-trade clause.

That puts an interesting new perspective on things. (I have this image of Kendall jumping at the chance to escape before something can go wrong for him, too, but that's probably fiction. Probably.)
catslash: (the crap?)
( Jul. 16th, 2007 08:55 pm)

The Chicago Cubs, looking for help at catcher, are closing in on a deal for Oakland's Jason Kendall, two sources told


For those of you who don't read/skim over my posts, HERE IS A RECAP OF THE A'S CATCHING SITUATION.

They traded their backup, Adam Melhuse.

They called up a kid from the minors, Kurt Suzuki.

They failed utterly in executing their badly-formed plan to have Piazza catch, since his shoulder is not up to strength and not likely to get that way in any reasonable amount of time.

So basically, they have Jason Kendall. Kendall has been having a disappointing year offensively, so I've heard his name in trade speculation once or twice, but but.

How is Rob Bowen an improvement? He's been doing even worse!

There has got to be something else going on here. If this goes through. This is insane. The logical trade would be to send Piazza to a team in need of a DH - and, given how Cust seems to have cooled off, even that might be a tad hasty. This makes no sense on any level.

. . . oh, man. Anyone wanna lay odds on them trying to make Piazza catch anyway?

We'll see how this plays out, but I'm thinking it might be time for an intervention in Oakland. Or at least time to make Beane upgrade to the good crack.

(Thanks to [ profile] beckla30 for the link.)

Edited to update like ten minutes later:

They did it.

And hey, here's a thing.

Contacted by phone early Monday evening, A's general manager Billy Beane confirmed the deal but would not reveal the name of the player being acquired in exchange for Kendall. has learned that the player is a Minor League left-handed pitcher.

That article says nothing about Bowen, but the Cubs article does and names the pitcher as a Jerry Blevins.

Let's read on, shall we?

Beane said the decision to deal Kendall wasn't easy given Kendall's rapport with Oakland's promising collection of young pitchers, headlined by Dan Haren, Joe Blanton and Chad Gaudin, but noted that rookie Kurt Suzuki appears ready for "baptism by fire."

"We've always been an organization that's given young guys a chance, and we think Kurt deserves a chance right now," Beane said of Suzuki, who was batting .269 in 10 games with Oakland through Sunday.



This is killing me. This is so bad. I can't even gather my thoughts.
catslash: (creepy Piazza)
( Jul. 14th, 2007 01:21 pm)
So, usually I leave the injury analysis to people who have, like, the first clue what they're talking about when it comes to anatomy. Because seriously, I have no clue. I don't know which bone is connected to which bone. I mentally smile and nod when Sam at Blue Cats and Red Sox/Roar of the Tigers writes entries about injuries complete with lovely color-coded diagrams to help the scientifically-impaired like myself grasp what she is talking about.

But I had to dive in and do a little poking around in the subject myself, and what I found isn't exactly rocket science.

Backing up for a second. Since Rich Harden's return to the DL, there has been discussion of how much of his lengthy injury history is his body being fragile and how much might be attributable to the Oakland medical staff. By "discussion," I of course mean, "a thread in a friend's locked journal entry," but it caught my attention.

As some of you know, I've been following the Ongoing A's Catching Saga, in which there has been a couple new developments with Mike Piazza in the last couple of days. These are the first new things to happen since my entry about a month ago. The past month has mostly contained the occasional, "Yeah, we're working on the shoulder, but it's not really coming along to throwing strength as fast as we'd like." A few days ago, though, Piazza's agent finally had a little chat with Billy Beane about the whole thing, and lo and behold, Piazza finally started rehabbing for real - as a DH - yesterday in Sacramento. (I also found an interesting observation here about the possibility of the players' union getting involved: "Since the A's signed Piazza strictly as a DH over the winter and he has been ready to hit since mid-June, there's some thought that the union might have grounds for a grievance if Piazza's return is delayed much longer." I wonder if that came up during that little chat.)

In other words, Piazza lost a month of his season trying to rehabilitate to throwing strength a shoulder that was not even catching-ready before his injury, as he had been told specifically during Spring Training not to bother keeping himself in catching shape. And this decision was made at the last possible minute (seriously, Piazza didn't even get the message that they wanted to have him extend his recovery time until he was practically out the door on his way to rehab at Sacramento the first time), so he was not working to come back from the injury with an eye toward catching until almost two months after he hurt his shoulder in the first place. I don't know anything about physical therapy, but that sounds damn sloppy to me. The abrupt change of tune on the catching is just amazingly bad planning - like, hilariously bad - and the injury was bad luck. But, considering that they did in fact make the decision to have Piazza be backup catcher several days before the injury, why not rehab him with that in mind from the beginning? Especially since they freaking traded Melhuse and there was no guarantee that Kurt Suzuki would do in the majors anything approaching what he had done in the minors? There is a lot of wasted time here, and last I heard, Piazza's shoulder is still bothering him when he works it too hard. How severe does a sprain have to be to still be causing problems two and a half months after the fact? With more organized management of his recovery, could he have been back and catching by now? (These are not rhetorical questions. I welcome any answers anyone might have.)

So these are things I am thinking about in the last couple of days, wondering if Harden and Piazza are in fact the victims of crackmonkeys with medical training, when, tucked into the latest article about Piazza's rehab assignment, I find this little tidbit:

Little has been heard from lefty Brad Halsey since he slammed the A's for not properly diagnosing an arm problem he had this spring and for not calling him up for a potential start at Baltimore. On Tuesday, noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews performed surgery to repair a torn labrum in Halsey's left shoulder. Halsey said he can begin throwing again in four months and be ready for spring training.

Halsey said he has filed a grievance against the A's with the players association over the handling of his injury. He said he was told the problem was biceps tendinitis and he was not given an MRI exam when he requested one. Halsey contends the matter wasn't attended to properly until he was no longer on the big-league roster, which cost him both his big-league salary and major-league service time.

OH MY GOD. He said he was told the problem was biceps tendinitis and he was not given an MRI exam when he requested one. Oh. my. GOD.

And this is where my intro about me and injury analysis comes in, because I had to check this shit out. How, I wanted to know, could a torn labrum be mistaken for biceps tendinitis? The labrum is in the shoulder and the bicep is in the arm, right?

Sort of. The biceps tendon is connected to the labrum, and an injury to the labrum can involve the tendon as well. A torn labrum can be confused with any number of other shoulder injuries. So a diagnosis of biceps tendinitis is not unreasonable, which gets the A's medical crackmonkeys off the hook, right?

NO. Because he is a pitcher, which involves exactly the sort of repetitive motion that can tear the shit out of his labrum, it is not exactly an unheard-of injury, AND THEY WOULDN'T GIVE HIM AN MRI. OH MY GOD.

Creepily enough, the med staff might not even be entirely to blame for this one. If you believe Halsey's side of the story, the A's deliberately delayed the MRI until he was in the minors just to avoid paying him a major league salary if he ended up on the DL. Which, in late April, he did. Given everything I've outlined here already, guess whose side I'm on?

At this point, that entire organization breaks my brain. I want to kidnap my favorite A's and squirrel them away in Detroit and Boston, where the med staffs may not be perfect, but the disabled lists have not been used seventeen times already. RUN, BOYS. RUN.

I would like to conclude by briefly revisiting the Harden question. His official diagnosis at the moment is "shoulder impingement," which I looked up while I was getting all carried away with the research, and damn if that doesn't look to my inexpert eye like something that could be confused with a torn labrum. He did, however, receive diagnosis from a doctor not on the A's staff. I am still disinclined to hold my breath.

By the way, anyone who knows better than I do what the hell I am talking about is more than welcome to chime in and correct any errors I've made.
Make up my mind already, would you, A's?

So first, the A's sign Piazza, except he's totally only DHing and he's not gonna do any catching like NO WAY RILLY WE SWEAR. Their manager, Bob Geren, went to far as to tell Piazza not to worry too much about working on his catching during Spring Training. Because he completely wasn't gonna be catching. At all.

This lasts for a couple months. Then, Dan Johnson returns from an injury, so the A's send their backup catcher, Adam Melhuse, down to AAA, leaving guess who to be the new backup? Why, one Michael Piazza! Melhuse and Piazza, the only two people on the planet who did not see this coming, are stunned. And we can all imagine the intensive tear Piazza went on to get himself back up to snuff, and how secretly grateful he was that Jason Kendall takes a day off, like, never.

Said tear lasts for approximately twelve seconds, as Piazza is injured in the beginning of May, resulting in Jack Cust being called up. Cust goes on a tear of his own, hitting about 742 homers in a week. He settles down shortly thereafter, but continues to contribute steadily, showing no sign of Chris Shelton Syndrome.

Then the A's make a Shocking Trade!, sending Melhuse to Texas in exchange for "cash considerations." Melhuse, who has played twelve times to date and started only six games, is so ecstatic he doesn't even try to hide it in interviews.

But Piazza, though getting pretty close to returning, is still injured! What now? Kurt Suzuki, that's what. The A's call up Suzuki, a rookie who's been making waves in the minors, to play backup catcher, and seem pretty set on keeping him around.

So that, I figure, is that. Contrary to my expectations, the A's will apparently not be finding a way to ignore their extensive initial protestations and have Piazza do some catching. Impressive.


OAKLAND -- A's designated hitter Mike Piazza was all set to make a trip to Sacramento to begin a rehab assignment for his ailing right shoulder.

That plan has now been changed.

Piazza did not go up to Sacramento, but instead will wait for his shoulder to feel good enough to throw.

So you might be wondering, why would a DH wait for his shoulder to feel good enough to throw?

Well, the A's are now planning to bring Piazza back as the full-time DH and as the backup catcher to Jason Kendall [...].


Apparently, the A's are very keen on keeping Cust around, and figure this to be the best way to do so and get maximum bang for their buck contribution from Piazza, as well. I have no idea how they're going to work that, especially with several other injured hitters working their way back. How many DHs are they going to have? Will Cust be playing other positions? Are they going to make Kendall take more time off to get Piazza behind the plate more? (And would Piazza's joints tolerate such a thing for long before just snapping right in half? The entire reason he switched leagues to DH was because his body couldn't take the strain anymore.) And what the fuck are they gonna do with Suzuki?

God, this is going to be interesting. I may have to pop some popcorn for this one.
catslash: (Piazza)
( May. 3rd, 2007 06:40 pm)
I blame you, Myglowl.

But that's FINE. I didn't want the BEST hitter on my fantasy team ANYWAY. I was COMFORTABLE in last place and finding myself in the penultimate slot was confusing and a bit scary. SO THERE, MYGLOWL. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TRY HARDER TO UPSET ME.

. . .

catslash: (Piazza)
( Apr. 26th, 2007 12:36 am)
(Thanks to [ profile] ayrdaomei for bringing this to my attention.)

So, you guys remember my smartass Piazza poll?

Check out my psychic powers.

Several lockers down, packing for a trip he never imagined he'd be making at this stage of his career, catcher Adam Melhuse was feeling a very different emotion. To clear room on the 25-man roster for Johnson, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list, the A's optioned Melhuse to Triple-A Sacramento.

"Yeah, definitely shocked," Melhuse, 35, admitted. "I thought these days were over for me."

And then there was Mike Piazza. After 15 years as a catcher in the National League, he signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal in the offseason to replace Frank Thomas as Oakland's exclusive designated hitter. Yet in announcing the latest roster moves, A's manager Bob Geren, who actually dissuaded Piazza from doing much work to stay sharp behind the plate this spring, said Piazza is Oakland's No. 2 catcher for the time being.

"Isn't that funny?" Piazza said. "The irony?"

Melhuse and Piazza: the only two people on the planet who didn't see something like this coming.
catslash: (Piazza)
( Apr. 17th, 2007 11:26 pm)
[Poll #968583]

I totally just jinxed the shit outta Kendall, didn't I? And why did I know the A's catcher's name without having to look it up, anyway?


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