Oakland re-signs declining Cust
A’s sign past-his-prime Crisp
Duchscherer brought back despite missing 2009
When the Oakland A’s traded for San Diego third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff on Friday, it demonstrated once again the organization’s inability — or unwillingness — to acquire actual talent for its 2010 roster.
Kouzmanoff is a cheap fill-in at third base (he made only $432,400 last season), and even though he’s 28 years old, his best season was three years ago — and he’s been in decline ever since.
Just the kind of player the A’s need, of course.
Kouzmanoff will fit right in with Jack Cust, Coco Crisp and Justin Duchscherer — the organization’s other “big” moves this offseason.
Let’s see: Cust has been in steady decline for three years, Crisp’s best years came three organizations ago, and Duchscherer has never lasted a full season as a starter and missed the entire 2009 season.
Oh, and there’s also Eric Chavez, Oakland’s veteran third baseman — he hasn’t played anything resembling a full season since 2006.
Yeah, Kouzmanoff is just the kind of the player the A’s need to fit in with the rest of the clubhouse.
At least Billy Beane didn’t give up anything meaningful, sending outfielders Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham to San Diego in exchange. Hairston’s OPS for the A’s last year was .653, and Cunningham hit .151 in 53 at-bats.
So maybe the trade was a “win” for Oakland organization. They get a cheap third baseman, they dump some spare parts, and if they cross their fingers, maybe all the risky acquisitions will pay off with another 75-win season.
That seems to be the new “gold” standard for the A’s these days, anyway.
Kouzmanoff, who will be 29 in July, made his major-league debut in Cleveland in 2006 before being traded to San Diego. As the Padres’ primary hot corner man in 2007, he hit .275 with 18 HRs and 74 RBI — a decent start to a career for a young player.
The problem is Kouzmanoff has declined since, watching his batting average drop to .260 in 2008 and .255 in 2009. In addition, his power and ability to get on base have also waned since that 2007 season: his OBP dropped from .329 in 2007 to .302 in 2009, while his SLG dropped from .457 to .420 in the same time period.
Why else would the Padres dump him for spare parts? This isn’t a player who is going to suddenly get better at 28 while switching to American League pitching.
But it’s the kind of player the A’s now look for, evidently, in the “new economy”.
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