Tag: Conor Jackson

Billy Beane Makes Quiet, Effective Moves: Trying To Catch Up in the AL West?

Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane is still playing “Moneyball” to this day.

The team that used to perennially contend for the playoffs finished just exactly .500 last season, and was nine games out of first place behind the American League champion Texas Rangers.

Beane looks to compete more aggressively in 2011, as he has made quiet moves this offseason.

For example, they signed Hideki Matsui to a one-year deal to be the permanent DH. Not only is Matsui a consistent .270, 20 home run hitter, he knows what it is to be a World Champion as he won it all with the Yankees back in 2009.

The designated hitter spot was also one of the weakest spots in the lineup, so adding Matsui is already a good move. 

Another consistent hitter, Josh Willingham, will also join the lineup with his 15 home run, .260 seasons.

Grant Balfour was added to the bullpen for pitching depth. To further bolster that ‘pen, Brian Fuentes has reportedly agreed with the A’s on a two-year contract. Both of these guys had ERAs under 3 last season.

These free agents make Oakland a competitor, as they were just an average team before.

Did it take a lot to sign these guys? Yes, they aren’t minor league cheap guys, but they also aren’t big time free agents worth $15 million per year.

With the addition of a defensive outfielder in David DeJesus, who is a .300 hitter, this club is looking good.

Don’t forget about the dominant starting pitching, either, which is led by youngsters Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill.

And if some injured players regain their form from about two to five years ago, Oakland might just overpower the Rangers.

Conor Jackson had hit .300 in 2009 before taking a hit with injuries. Coco Crisp is always a threat on the base paths.

The Athletics are also set on defense, with Kevin Kouzmanoff at the hot corner and Daric Barton scooping ground balls easily at first.

Beane is up to something, and they can catch up in the AL West with the Los Angeles Angels not a great team like it used to be, and the Rangers losing Vladimir Guerrero.

“Moneyball” might just work in 2011. 

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Conor Jackson Traded by Arizona Diamondbacks To Oakland A’s

The first somewhat significant trade of the 2010 season took place yesterday between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland A’s.

I say somewhat because no major names were involved, but I think it was a trade that could help both teams.

Yesterday, the Diamondbacks traded OF/1B Conor Jackson to the A’s for minor league RHP Sam Demel. Here is what both teams got.

As you probably have heard me say throughout the years here, Conor Jackson sounds and looks like a guy who should hit .300 with 30 HRs and 110 RBI every year. Unfortunately, he was never that guy and more so now after suffering from valley fever last year.

In his first three full years in the majors, Jackson averaged .292/.371/.451 with 14 home runs, which is pretty respectable. However, last year Jackson suffered from a rare case of valley fever and saw his hitting line dip to .182/.264/.253 with one HR in 30 games.

Things haven’t been that much better for Jackson in 2010, as he has gotten off to a .238/.326/.331 with one HR start. Jackson has done well against lefties, however, as he has hit .300 with an .833 OPS against southpaws this year.

Jackson does represent an upgrade for the A’s over Eric Patterson in left. Patterson was hitting only .210 with a .262 OBP in 42 games. The A’s could use any upgrade they can find on offense, as they rank 12th in the American League in runs scored and 11th in OPS.

As for the Diamondbacks, I believe this is the first of many moves to come. It wouldn’t shock me to see them unload Kelly Johnson or Adam LaRoche in the near future.

What they get in this trade is a 24-year-old right-handed reliever who posted a 1.26 ERA and 28 K’s in 28.2 IP for Triple-A Sacramento this year. The Diamondbacks’ bullpen is the worst in baseball this year, so any sort of fresh arm is greatly welcomed. If Demel proves himself at the major league level, he could find himself as the Diamondbacks’ closer of the future.

Good trade for both teams.

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