Another night - another chance to see Ruiz warm the bench. Why? Why are the Athletics giving so much playing time to Lawrence Butler? His BA average and play in the field is suspect. Highly, suspect. But this article is not about cutting time for Butler, who needs it but why is Ruiz's not taking another spot in the outfield if Butlers feet are in concrete in center?
The two other mainstays in the outfield are Tony Kemp and Seth Brown. Both players are north of 30. Tony Kemp, you might say has a higher OBP of .313. True but Ruiz's OBP is .303. Seth Brown hits HR and gets RBI's. True but Ruiz has only 6 fewer RBI's than Seth. And Seth is usually the cleanup hitter - 3rd in the lineup. Ruiz's slot in the lineup is either lead off or 9th (2nd lead off man?). This would mean that the batters in front of Ruiz are not your "get on base and we will knock you in" sort of guys.
It continues to strain credulity that Ruiz is somehow being limited because of a massive payoff. He is not a FA until 2029. Until then Oakland can do as they please with him. He is not arbitration eligible until '26. What is the problem here? His fielding has drastically improved. In the photo above, Ruiz had tracked down a hard hit ball, back hand while the ball was trailing away from him. Not too shubby when I saw it live.
Are we worried about some sort of massive influx of cash to payroll headed Seth Brown's way? I dont think so. Oakland could not find a trade partner for Seth and like wise Tony Kemp. For both players their prime is either here, or gone. And I am staring at two players whose BA's are .223 and .213 - respectively.
Tony is a free agent next year and you can expect Oakland to keep him around as a clubhouse guy. If he receives a dime more than his current salary (3.73M) I would be shocked. Not much market for a .213 hitter with light to non existent power.
Seth Brown is a different song however but the same rhythm. He is arbitration eligible next year, so if Oakland wants to keep him they are most likely going to have to pay more than his current deal ($730). But he is not a free agent until 2027. Seth Brown might be a "grity" player who does occasionally go yard, and I am being nice when I say occasionally. Shea Langeliers, a more or less rookie, as he exceeded his rookie limits during the '22 season, has already hit 20 dingers and 56 RBI's. Shea might have a lower average than Brown but he makes up for it with more RBI's than Brown. Shea also is working out he kinks of his first (real) major league season behind the dish. Fair to say his mind is more on his battery mates than learning to go the other way,
So what is the problem... really? Are we all just going to sit here and watch Ruiz break Kenny Lofton rookie mark while playing in 28 less games. Even if Ruiz were to play in every remaining game (not likely) he would still have chance to beat Mr. Lofton's mark in 15 less games played. Is anyone else as lost as me?
Oakland A's fans have had ALOT to say this season (rightfully so) about ownership but we are talking about the lineup card and according to Art Howe (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), the lineup card belongs to the manager. So Kotsay, what say you?
Why are we benching what is clearly one of the base runners currently in the game and o, yeah I forgot one stupid little detail the guy who has THE HIGHEST BATTING AVERGAGE on the team (Gelof does not quality, yet)? Why? Someone, anyone?
Baseball continues confuse me, which in some way makes it such a fun game to watch but at times we just need to keep it simple. Play Ruiz and let's get on with it