David Purcey for Scott Sizemore

By Jason Wojciechowski on May 27, 2011 at 4:45 PM

This is an A's blog, so I'm supposed to stay stuff when the A's do things with their roster. On the other hand, this is a May trade (barely). What was the last groundbreaking May trade? This'll be short. (I wrote that part before I started writing, but then I got intrigued by a couple of roster questions, present and future, and I ended up writing 850 words instead of 250. Oops.)

  1. Roster room: Andrew Bailey is coming back. Joey Devine and Brad Ziegler are the only A's relievers with options. Anyone else would have to be subjected to waivers to get Bailey on. The A's aren't exactly loaded with shitty relievers, so they're not going to sneak anyone through to AAA. Thus, after they designated Craig Breslow or David Purcey or whoever for assignment, they'd have to make a trade or lose the guy on waivers. So they made the trade sooner rather than later. (A micro version of Branch Rickey's famous advice, perhaps.)

  2. Upside: Scott Sizemore isn't a superstar, he's never appeared on a Baseball America top-100 list, and he's already 26. He has, however, put up a .392/.487 OBP/SLG at AAA in a ~4.5 runs-per-game environment. With Kevin Kouzmanoff having been eaten by a grue and no clear successor at the position, why not cobble together as many guys with upside (Adrian Cardenas, Andy LaRoche, Scott Sizemore) and see if something pans out?

    It doesn't hurt that all of these guys have played second base given that Jemile Weeks, the heir apparent to Mark Ellis, while destroying AAA (.412/.454), has had his injury troubles (he missed time in all three of his years in the minors, and it's apparently been a hip injury each time -- as Will Carroll has noted, it can be really tough to run down minor league injury information, and he's saying that as a reporter with sources, not as me, a blogger with Google), so even if he takes over next year and plays well, the A's still have to be prepared to fill that spot for significant periods of time.

  3. More roster: the A's sent Sizemore to AAA and called up round lefty Bobby Cramer to take Purcey's place. This keeps the bullpen full to bursting in Purcey's absence, but it also sets up the question of who the fifth starter is. Does Guillermo Moscoso earn another start with his six shutout innings (but three walks vs. three strikeouts), or is it Cramer, who fans assumed would be the Tyson Ross replacement before going on the minor-league DL at just the wrong time?

    ZiPS and PECOTA agree that Moscoso is right around a 5.5 R/9 guy,1 but there's a weird disagreement on Cramer. Switching to the ERA scale for a second, Cramer's ZiPS rest-of-year projection is 5.46 ERA and 4.09 FIP. ZiPS appears to believe something I've expressed before based on my sense from watching the man pitch: Cramer gives up hard-hit balls, to the tune of a .351 BABIP. PECOTA doesn't agree, calling for a .308 BABIP and a 4.09 ERA.2

    The fact that the ERA and FIP from the two systems are exactly the same is more freakish than meaningful, but it does highlight the fact that there's a core disagreement going on: how many hits will Cramer allow on balls in play?

    If you think that ZiPS is right and Cramer is going to turn everyone into Laser Show Pedroia, then Moscoso is probably your 5th starter choice, since a 5.46 ERA translates to about a 5.9 R/9. If you think Cramer's .306 BABIP in AAA is more reflective of his major league abilities, then Cramer wins by a lot -- that 4.1 ER/9 translates to about a 4.4 R/9, over a full run less than Moscoso.

    I'm the blogger here, though, so I have to make a call, and here it is: split the baby!3 I want to platoon Cramer (a lefty) and Moscoso (a righty) depending on the handedness of the opposing teams. Since both pitchers are optionable (I think?), the A's can keep them on the same schedule and call up whoever's going to pitch the next game as soon as the last one is over. (You wouldn't want to wait to call him up until just before the start because you want to give him a chance to do his preparation and side-work with the major league catchers, coaches, scouts, etc.)

    Tell me that's not a fantastic freaking idea.

    PECOTA is, of course, a rather sassy human.

  1. That's runs, not earned runs. I'm just multiplying ERA by 1.08, since that seems to be a pretty stable multiplier, per this article by Matt Klaassen. The American League is at 4.2 R/G this year, so 5.5 ain't great. 

  2. Look at the league averages in that Klaassen piece I linked in the last footnote. Now look at Cramer's projected ERA. It's so on the nose that I wonder if PECOTA barfed on Cramer and just said, "I don't know, dude, league average, what do I care." 

  3. This is not actually a proper use of this metaphor. I don't care. I like baby-splitting.