Oakland Athletics’ 25-Man Roster Decisions: Insanity Defined (Again) For the A’s


This is why we can’t have nice things: Oakland Athletics send Matt Chapman and Andrew Lambo to minors in favor of Coco Crisp

Last season, I wrote a piece about the failing bullpen and Bob Melvin ignoring Albert Einstein’s quote “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

With the 2016 roster whittled down to 25, here we go again – Part II.

While BoMel can only play the cards he’s dealt – and he seemed to do an adequate job in determining the starting pitching staff and bullpen – he appears to be back into old habits, having discarded some valuable contributors to the team in favor of the oft-injured, no-arm, .170-hitting Coco Crisp due to him being a past staple of the team (and probably because of a hefty contract).

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Here we have Matt Chapman, a 22-year-old infielder, just killing opposing pitching this spring. While he only played at Single-A Stockton last year, he dominated with 23 home runs in only 80 games due to a wrist injury. This spring. he came into camp and led the Athletics with six homers, while hitting .295 and only striking out five times. Translation: The kid makes contact.

So to reward the guy for his outstanding performance – and to BoMel’s credit, maybe he needs everyday at-bats – he gets sent down to the minors in favor of outfielder Coco Crisp remaining in the lineup. Yes, Chapman is a third baseman – but remember that up until last season, Danny Valencia, who now occupies third, was an outfielder. Valencia was second on the Athletics this spring with 5 home runs, so there would definitely be a threat with them both in the lineup to supplement the $11-million groundout, Billy Butler.

So Then Is It Outfield Depth?

Last November, the Athletics acquired Andrew Lambo off waivers from the Dodgers. The 27-year-old Lambo, who played parts of three seasons for the Pirates as a right fielder – and can also play left field and first base– came into 2016 spring training and performed like a veteran, hitting .333 with a couple of homers in 25 games.

But it’s Groundhog Day all over again, and in lieu of seeing the promise and development opportunity in front of them, BoMel et. al. goes with the same logic from Opening Day 2015 that saw Billy Burns start the season in Triple-A in favor of Crisp. However, a few weeks later Burns came up and solidified the Athletics’ leadoff hitter position, played fantastic defense, and competed for the 2015 Rookie of the Year Award – despite playing on a losing team.

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Simply put, Crisp had his chance to make this team based on ability and performance. He was in the upper half of A’s players in games played and at-bats this spring but could not show any turn-around from last season, when he posted a .175 batting average in only 44 games. (Fourteen of his last 15 appearances were as a pinch-hitter coming off of the bench.)

I can’t understand the moves. Yes, in addition to the contract, there is a fan sentiment towards Crisp on the team, and the Athletics are doing all they can to bring in and keep fans. But that should be secondary. WINNING brings in fans, not some guy who can do the outdated Bernie Lean.