Sam Fuld the Odd Man Out, Future Implications and Hypotheticals


Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

By all indications, Sam Fuld will be placed on waivers when Craig Gentry is set to return to action, possibly as early as Saturday. According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle,

"Crisp’s return to action strongly suggests that Fuld will be the man to come off roster tomorrow to make room for Gentry."

Fuld has done a decent job filling in for the injured Coco Crisp this past week. His stats aren’t flashy, but he makes his hits count. He is batting an even .200, with 1 HR and 4 RBI. The debate this week has been who would be removed from the big-league roster to make room for Gentry. The common consensus was that it would be either Fuld, Josh Reddick or Daric Barton. Keeping Reddick in Oakland over Fuld may not be a popular decision among A’s fans, but the frustration should not stem from an early-season lack of production. The frustration should be getting rid of depth unnecessarily.

If Fuld is waived, the assumption is that another team will claim him, and he would be lost to the A’s. Reddick is struggling, batting just .103 through 7 games this season. In last game he played in, he hit into a double-play and struck out 4 times. I believe that is called the Golden Sombrero, a hat nobody looks good wearing. He has been held out of the lineup the past couple of games for undisclosed reasons. It would make sense if Bob Melvin wanted to give Reddick a couple of days to clear his head while they still had Fuld on the roster.

Josh has one option remaining, which means that if he were the player sent to Triple-A, he would be able to stay with the club without having to pass through waivers. It could also do him some good to shorten his swing and work on his approach in the minors.

Since it appears as though that won’t happen, let’s concentrate on what Fuld being waived means to the club moving forward. Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes have a habit of missing time each season. Nobody is doubting their status on the club, just whether they can make it an entire season unharmed.

In 2012 and 2013, Crisp played in 120 and 131 games respectively. This season, he has played in just 5 of 10 with a sore wrist. Cespedes has played in 129 and 135 games each of the past 2 seasons. Odds are that one or both of these players will miss time at some point in the season. If the outfield depth is left at 4 players (Reddick, Cespedes, Crisp and Gentry) then the A’s are banking on health this season, something no AL West team has enjoyed thus far.

Let’s look in the minors and see who are possible fits for the Oakland Athletics. Michael Taylor would be an obvious choice after his hot spring, but he has struggled in the majors. In 81 big-league ABs, Taylor is hitting just .135 with 26 K’s. In 7 games for Sacramento this season, he is hitting .200 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI, while also drawing 7 walks, raising his OBP to .394. However, Taylor is not on the 40-man roster. Not to say he can’t be put on the roster, but someone would have to come off. Most likely, Sam Fuld.

Say Taylor has a good showing after a potential call-up. When the injured Athletic is set to return, Taylor would have to clear waivers to make it back to Sacramento, much like Fuld. From an organizational standpoint, you’d want Taylor to perform well  for your big-league club, but that would also put him at risk of being claimed by another team. So let’s assume Taylor isn’t the one called upon this go around.

The other 2 outfielders on the 40-man roster are Shane Peterson and Kent Matthes. Matthes is bating just .200 with an OBP of .294. Peterson on the other hand is tearing up the Pacific Coast League, batting .324 with 4 doubles, 1 HR and 6 RBI. The downside on Peterson is that he is striking out in 1/3 of his ABs (13 of 37).

A’s management knows their roster better than anyone. If they decide to place Sam Fuld on waivers, they know best. Maybe one of these younger players is ready for a bigger spotlight. Maybe they are just hoping for an injury-free season. At the end of the day, we fans have no say in the matter. All we can do is trust in Billy Beane.