Nate Freiman showing off his speed. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
It’s pretty safe to say that everyone is rooting for Billy Burns to make the team. His speed has had a major impact on the Athletics this spring, and he leads the team with 19 hits. Today, the Athletics announced that Craig Gentry and Ryan Cook will start the season on the DL. The team also sent Nate Freiman, Josh Lindblom and Arnold Leon back to the minors. The players that are left will be traveling to the Bay Area for their final series with the Giants, and Burns is among those players.
The righty Lindblom struggled at times this spring, but in his final appearance on Sunday, he went 4.2 IP, giving up 2 Hits, a walk and 2 runs. He finishes with a 4.02 ERA this spring. Not the best numbers, but he was facing some quality opponents. In Sacramento, he will be highly effective. If another starter goes down, it would be between him and Drew Pomeranz to fill the open spot.
Leon had a solid spring with the Athletics, posting a 2.13 ERA. His ERA in Sacramento was a 4.42 in 12 games started in 2013. It’s safe to assume that the Athletics want to give Leon more time in Sacramento before calling him up into the rotation.
The big guy. This cut was simple. He rakes against lefties and struggles against righties. Bob Melvin told Jane Lee that Freiman just needs more ABs against righties before they bring him up. He crushed some balls the past couple of games, one went out, many to the track. He can easily find himself getting called up to Oakland this season. The A’s are happy to have him, they just want to see him grow a little. It’s not often that you can say a guy that’s 6’8″ has room to grow.
As we said earlier, Craig Gentry will start the season on the DL. He has begun baseball activities, and shouldn’t be out for very long. If it was just about baseball, Billy Burns would most likely take his place. In a short span, Burns’ speed could have more of an impact on the club than Sam Fuld’s .199 average in 2013.
On the business side, bringing Burns up would start the clock on his arbitration service time. Fuld is also slightly more versatile and has an opt-out clause if he is in the minors to start the season. Having Fuld in Oakland would at the very least keep him in the organization until June 1, when he has another opt-out option.
What about Michael Taylor you ask? Other teams have reportedly been asking about him after his monstrous spring. Taylor is out of options, and him making the club for Opening Day would only prolong the inevitable trade. If he isn’t traded, he would be on waivers and the Athletics would get nothing in return. Trading him isn’t the best option, it’s the only option.