In early June, the A’s were right in the thick of the AL West race and the offense was starting to heat up. By last week half the A’s starters were on the DL, the A’s fell to last place, Brett Anderson seemed destined for Tommy John Surgery, and Bob Geren had been fired. All seemed lost.
This week we get news that Tyson Ross and Brandon McCarthy are aiming to be back in early July, Rich Harden is on a rehab assignment, Brett Anderson doesn’t need surgery, Bob Melvin seems like a savage, the Rangers lose almost as much as the A’s do, Jemile Weeks looks like God’s gift to A’s baseball, and the A’s find themselves just 6… games… back.
Phew! I’m out of breath.
The A’s only have three wins in their last sixteen games, but have somehow managed to stay within striking distance of the AL West leading Texas Rangers. And the terrible injury news that kept snowballing last week has since disappeared almost entirely.
And more importantly than anything else, even though I don’t want to get my hopes up, these past few games have just been fun to watch. Matsui seems to be rejuvenated, hitting three bombs since Melvin arrived (he’s only one more homer away from 500 combined with the US and Japan). And Jemile Weeks is electric. He’s the type of spark plug that can help an ailing offense and he plays the type of game that people enjoy watching. It’s refreshing to see, but Oakland needs make up some ground before they’re taken seriously again.
If you ask me now “do you think the A’s are a playoff team?” I still say no. But it looks a hell of a lot better than it did just seven days ago, at least for now.
I was resolved to let this year go. I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but that losing streak took it’s toll on me and I had given up. Yes it was early, but the A’s looked unfix-able. For the record, that doesn’t mean I think that they’re fixed, but now with a bit of luck and the rest of the division’s inability to separate itself, the A’s have given me a small window of hope.
DECISION TIME COMING: They say that you can’t lose your job to injury, but as Mark Ellis readies himself for his imminent minor league rehab assignment, I’m not so sure if the A’s longest tenured player will necessarily have a starting spot waiting for him when returns.
The A’s acquisition of Scott Sizemore and the inevitable call up of Jemile weeks, coupled with the solid recent play of Cliff Pennington and the return of Adam Rosales has created a logjam of infielders. I love me some Mark Ellis but it might be time to look at the future.
Weeks, generously listed at 5-9, looks like a stud hitting .344/.364/.594 with three triples in his first nine games. Obviously he isn’t going to keep that up that line but he’s clearly the A’s long term second baseman and if he stays hot, the A’s won’t be able to justify sending him back down to AAA.
So the question becomes whether to keep Mark Ellis in more of a reserve role, or ship him to a team looking for infield help; many have speculated the Giants as being interested. He’s such a class act though, that I think he would be open to having a reserve roll if asked. He’s never been a star and has to understand that the team needs to do what’s best for all parties.
Mark Ellis is rightly viewed as a team leader, but his actual time with the team may be limited.
Up Next: The A’s face the Giants in Oakland tonight and look to take revenge after getting swept in San Francisco.
Next week I will do a State of the Union type thing with the A’s organization. Spoiler Alert: It’s not going to be pretty.
About the Author
Written by Josh Muller
My name is Josh Muller. I was born and raised in Oakland, California and currently live in San Francisco. I watch sports religiously and organize my calender year to coincide with baseball season. I'm a diehard A's and Warriors fan, love talking sports all day and believe that the words "Opening Day" are the two greatest in the English language.