Sam Fuld: Appreciated but Overrated
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
First and Foremost allow me the privilege of wishing you all a very Happy Easter. Now for the matter at hand… Sam Fuld. As most know now, Sam Fuld was designated for assignment when Craig Gentry was due to come off the disabled list on April 12th. Fuld, who was claimed by the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, had hit .200 with an OPS of .706 in 33 plate appearances with Oakland. Fuld had 2 triples and a home run (against Minnesota of all teams) in 7 games. He had quickly become a fan favorite with Athletics fans because of his timely hitting and defensive skills. Fuld will quickly become a very nice role player for Minnesota. But did the Athletics have options other than designating Sam Fuld?
On April 12th, the day Fuld was designated the A’s had a few options. It was quickly obvious that Gentry would have a spot on the Major League team as soon as he was ready to come off the Disabled List. Athletics General Manager, Billy Beane, traded away one of the Athletics top prospects (Michael Choice) for Gentry. Athletics First Baseman Daric Barton had been struggling offensively as was Outfielder Josh Reddick. Although Barton was 2 for 20 to start the season, he had a .250 On Base Percentage (which means he reaches base by hit or walk 1 out of 4 times at bat). Barton has always been an above average defensive player and early on he had shown no reason to believe he couldn’t have continued defensive success. Josh Reddick was another option. Josh Reddick was hitting .091 and had a horrendous On Base Percentage of .143. It would have been easy for Beane and Manager Bob Melvin to send a struggling Josh Reddick to AAA-Sacramento and have Fuld take his place as the everyday right fielder. Beane and Melvin have both since stated that they were waiting for the Reddick of 2012 to start emerging. At the time I was a big fan of sending Josh Reddick to AAA and avoid losing Fuld. But when you take a step back and analyze the numbers, the correct decision was made.
Sam Fuld has a career slash line of .233 batting average/ .312 on base percentage/ .344 slugging percentage. Daric Barton has a career slash line of .248/.357/.368, which are all better than Fuld. In 2013, Reddick’s worst offensive season, he produced a slash line of .226/.307/.379. Again, Reddick’s slash line is very comparable to that of Sam Fuld’s. All three players are above average defensive players. So what was the fascination with Sam Fuld? 4 of Fuld’s 6 hits with the Athletics came with runners on base and he made highlight reel catches. He was a very exciting player and gave the A’s some much needed “spark” but he was just average. I will always wish the best for Sam Fuld (when not playing the Green and Gold) but I am happy with the decisions that were made! This goes to show why fans don’t always make the best GM’s.
Until Next time A’s fans… Lets Go Oakland! #LGO