Former Oakland Athletics closer comments on Esteury Ruiz's demotion

Oakland A's fans have been blasting the team on social media since Esteury Ruiz's demotion on Monday

Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics
Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics / Brandon Vallance/GettyImages

The Oakland Athletics made the decision to demote outfielder Esteury Ruiz to Triple-A on Monday afternoon to make room for infielder Tyler Nevin, who was claimed off waivers over the weekend.

Ruiz had some challenges at the plate in 2023 but finished with a .254/.309/.345 batting line and stole 67 bases. His defense in center field wasn't great, to be fair. Both FanGraphs' Defensive Runs Saved and Statcast's Outs Above Average deemed him well below par for the position, though he was a bit better while working in the outfield corners.

Despite that, FanGraphs had him good for 1.3 WAR in 132 games. An unspectacular number, for sure, but it was a solid showing from the rookie.

Ruiz looked about the same in spring training, posting a .236/.295/.400 line but the vast majority of A's fans felt he was locked into a roster spot heading into Opening Day. Manager Mark Kotsay revealed that wasn't the case in a conversation with the media on Monday.

Kotsay told reporters that Miguel Andujar's injury was the reason Ruiz didn't start the year in Triple-A. After four games, the A's claimed infielder Tyler Nevin off waivers from the Orioles and in a corresponding move sent Ruiz down.

Many fans voiced their displeasure with the move, citing Ruiz's strong start to the year, overall skill set, and on-field personality. One of those who spoke up about the move was former Athletics' closer Trevor May.

May has been vocal about John Fisher's methods in the past, even going as far as joining the fans and stating that Fisher should sell the team. His snarky comment on Twitter about the Ruiz demotion is just another reason to question the A's methodology here.

Respectfully, the A's don't have a ton of exciting players on the roster. Ruiz is near the top of that list due to his speed on the base paths and ability to fly around the diamond.

It would be one thing if Ruiz were sent down for a top prospect who was mashing in the minors. Even if they had chosen to start Ruiz in Triple-A in favor of someone like Hoy Park, who hit .477 during the spring, you could maybe talk yourself into the idea.

But the A's didn't do that. They demoted him in order to get a guy with a career OBP one point higher than Ruiz's figure of .309 last year. Nevin was worse at the plate than Ruiz was in 2023 and isn't an exceptional defender.

GM David Forst mentioned that Ruiz's low OBP was a big reason why he down to Las Vegas. However, the A's still have Seth Brown in the lineup most nights. The platoon outfielder has a career .294 OBP, can't hit lefties, and at 31 years old offers limited upside for an A's team looking toward the future.

Lawrence Butler is still on the roster despite posting a .240 OBP in 42 games last year. Butler offers more power than Ruiz but hasn't shown the ability to hit in the majors, even to the level Ruiz did in 2023.

I don't want to sit here and disparage the other guys on the roster. It's not about them. It's about the front office making a nonsensical decision that has essentially gone without a reasonable explanation.

Athletics fans have a lot to be upset about. This is just the latest in an ever growing list.