Arbitration Issues: What Will Happen To Jack Cust?

By Editorial Staff

 9 Other Players Are Under Non-Tender Contracts

The A’s may have some decisions to make as to whether to keep DH Jack Cust, along with nine others, whose contracts are eligible for arbitration. Oakland will have until a Thursday’s 8:59 p.m. PST deadline to decide whether to tender these contracts.

According to reporter Jane Lee “although the deadline affects all players under the club’s control the focus befalls those eligible for salary arbitration. Most of Oakland’s choices will be rather easy ones. The one on Cust, however, is murky”.

Cust, who batted .272 with 13HR and 52 RBI in 349 at-bats in 2010 for the A’s, was non-tendered during the last off-season due to the fact that management did not want to pay him $4 million via the arbitration process, even though, they would re-sign him a month later for $2.6 million.  Cust did have a stellar 2010-year after he was called up from Triple-A in May and although he was able to accumulate his best average overall, his HR count was pedestrian like, to say the least.  So in a nutshell, why keep a player who is being paid a lot of money, who is not playing up to his potential?

Well, after closer examination, his salary is not the usual top salary a player earns, and he does have that potential to do better as a DH to be a major force in the A’s lineup.  The question is, “will the A’s take that into consideration or will they go with a player such as former Astro Lance Berkman?”  Currently,  Berkman is shopping around for a one-or- two year deal and most likely will be looking for twice the amount they are paying Cust.  Now, who will be the better fit for the team? In Reviewing Berkman’s career stats, they have steadily declined over the last couple years, so Cust would appear to have a greater upside.  Regardless, fans will have to wait until Thursday to find out.

LF Travis Buck who earned Super-Two status could be non-tendered because he has regressed in the four years he has been with the A’s and was plagued with injuries during the 2010 season.  It is hard to believe that at one point he was labeled one of the top prospects in the franchise.

Meanwhile, other players that are under the radar for non-tender candidacy are Reliever Brad Ziegler, who also earned Super-Two status, will in all probability keep his job with the team.  Players, Craig Breslow, Joey Devine, Dallas Braden, as well as both outfielders Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson are all anticipated to be tendered contracts.

In other news, there are rumors that the A’s have not ceased their negotiations with Hisashi Iwakuma you can read a bit more about that here.