By Jason Wojciechowski on May 15, 2005 at 1:23 AM
The ever-reliable Klutts responded to my last post here, and the comment deserves highlighting here.
When I wrote the post in question, deciding that Dan Johnson shouldn't be brought up after all, I'd forgotten how old Johnson was. Klutts pointed out that since he's already 25, even if he was brought up now, the A's would still have his rights until he was 31. Even better, the A's wouldn't even have to go with arbitration with him until after his age-27 season. So on that point, I withdraw my earlier withdrawal and return to my original clamoring: Free Dan Johnson!
Klutts also mentions a rumor that Matt Watson could be brought up if Rich Harden hits the DL, with Keiichi Yabu moving to the rotation. I don't take as much issue with this move as he does. First, six relievers is plenty. Also, while Yabu has been successful in his role, and there's some attractiveness in being risk-averse, the A's didn't become such a strong organization by being risk-averse. They did it by putting the best man for the job in to do the job more often than most other teams in baseball. Seth Etherton's been hurt and Yabu has pitched well. While Klutts argues, "Why change roles when a replacement is available at AAA?", I think a just-as-valid argument is, "Why call up a pitcher when a replacement is waiting in the bullpen?" Part of Yabu's value to the team is his ability to make starts here and there, after all.
Klutts's other point about the move is dead-on, though. Watson would be Oakland's sixth outfielder, and their fourth left-handed hitting outfielder (plus Kielty, a switch-hitter), which is extreme overkill. Once again, the A's find an opportunity to shake things up a little by bringing up Dan Johnson without having to send anyone down and, if the rumor is true, they fail to make the move.