By Jason Wojciechowski on June 29, 2012 at 6:00 PM
The A's made a surprise (well, to me, anyway) move today, finally cutting their pitching staff down to a reasonable twelve and adding another player to their bench in Chris Carter. Rather than send down a reliever like Jim Miller or Evan Scribner, though, the A's demoted Tyson Ross, leaving the bullpen eight men "strong" and setting up a situation very soon where the A's will need another starter on Tuesday the 3rd.
Now, as it happens, Bartolo Colon is able to come off the disabled list on Tuesday. If he's ready, then that's great: activate him and presumably send down Evan Scribner at that point. (Theoretically, the A's could send Chris Carter back down, but the talk is that he's here to platoon with Brandon Moss at first, not to be a four-day bench bat, which would be a bit of a waste, not to mention a disruption.)
If Colon is not ready, I assume they'll turn to Graham Godfrey to make a spot start (since Ross won't be allowed to come back up yet) and still send down Scribner. Brad Peacock is a name I've written here about 18 times when questions of "who's the starter?" come up, but if he's going to pitch in Oakland this year, I can't imagine it would be on a spot-start basis -- he's not Jarrod Parker, but he's a good enough prospect that you presumably want to say, "Ok, son, now you're here, go pitch for the rest of the season."
Now, Chris Carter! A's fans of a certain type have been calling for his release for some time, and I sense that there was some frustration when the journeyman having an absurd season (Brandon Moss) got the call to the big leagues instead of the legitimate prospect having a good season.
Carter was hitting .279/.367/.486 in Sacramento, though 74 strikeouts in about 314 plate appearances is alarming. If you hit like that in the big leagues, you're Adam Dunn and you're providing value. But if you hit like that in Triple A, it raises questions of whether you can make enough contact to survive in the majors.
The A's do not appear to desire to find out the answer to that question via the sink or swim method. Instead, Bob Melvin indicated that he's going to be in a standard lefty-righty platoon with Brandon Moss. The unfortunate aspect of this, besides breaking up the triple-Brandon infield, is that right-handers get the short end of platoons. By my count, the A's are tonight facing their 25th left-handed starter of the season out of 78 games. Chris Carter starting once per series might let him settle in against the pitchers he's most comfortable facing. (Theoretically, anyway -- in the last two years (small sample alert!), Carter has hit righties significantly better than lefties.) It also might prevent him from ever getting into any kind of rhythm, starting and sitting and sitting and sitting and starting and sitting again. I can't speculate about what result his particular mix of psychology and skills will give when faced with with this role, but hey: in Billy we trust, right? Are we still saying that?