Marty Lurie and Rickey
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| By diamond_lil on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 08:18 pm:|
Daily Dish: Should the A's Bring Rickey Back One More Time?
Posted by marty on Tuesday, February 11 @ 12:20:26 EST
If you have been anywhere near the Bay Area the past week, the most debated baseball topic has been the public request by Hall of Famer to be Rickey Henderson that he be allowed to play his final season (I guess he means 2003) with his home town Oakland A's.
His request has fallen upon deaf ears within the A's hierarchy. Not surprising, because Rickey has been here before, most recently in 1998, and his skills had dropped so noticeably that Billy Beane let him go at season's end with hardly a handshake good bye.
Now, it's 2003, the team has been in the playoffs three consecutive years without advancing beyond the first round.
Rickey is still playing. Can Rickey help this team achieve its goal of a World Series appearance?
Click "Read more" and I'll tell you my opinion.
First things first, Rickey played in 72 games last season for the Boston Red Sox. He hit .223 with an on base percentage of .369. He stole 8 bases in 10 attempts and scored 40 runs in only 179 at bats, pretty good part time production.
The A's are commited to Terrence Long in left, Chris Singleton in center, and Jermaine Dye in right. All three oufielders make over one million dollars per year and they are going to play 85-90% of the time.
The A's have spare outfielders Adam Piatt and Eric Byrnes as possible bench players with the forgettable Billy McMillon and Jason Grabowski in the wings.
Erubiel Durazo is the full time DH who will get some days off against some tough lefties, but not many. Trust me, if healthy Durazo will be in the everyday lineup as often as his health permits (he is the GM's Holy Grail).
If Rickey Henderson makes the team, one of the part timers must go.
How many at bats will Byrnes get in the majors this year? Not many, he'll be in AAA before May. How about Adam Piatt? At best he'll get 150 at bats, possibly spelling Durazo or Long, if Long struggles (Macha says he'll bench Long, this I'll believe when I see it). Piatt has never shown the ability to hit with any consistency when asked to play on a part time basis. If McMillon or Grabowski or any Rule V draftee get more than 150 at bats, then there is something seriously wrong with this team.
Baseball teams that win championships usually have some magic attached to them. An aging veteran who leads in the clubhouse or on the field? An unheralded rookie who makes a splash. A veteran pitcher who finds himself one last time.
The only veteran on the 2003 A's is back up infielder Frankie Menechino who was sent to AAA last season for a variety of reasons. I'm not sure (I'll have to check the roster carefully) the A's have anyone on the team who has appeared in a World Series game in his career, coach, manager or player included.
Rickey Henderson has been there before on the center stage in the series. He can and wants to teach these A's something about winning in October. On the field, he actually could produce as much as anyone I've named especially since the A's don't have a legit lead off hitter on the roster.
Rickey's attitude is good, better than in the past, he wants to help, to fit in, and be a productive teammate.
Can he help in the clubhouse? I think he can. I've seen him talk baseball before the game to younger players, who sit at his feet listening to him explain the fine points of the game.
The bottom line is he has identity as an offensive player, something this offense can use in the postseason.
Would I rather have him than Piatt on the roster?
No, I'd like them both. I'd send Byrnes packing because I don't think he'll ever get a chance in Oakland. He may have some value on the market now. Once heralded first round draft pick Nick Swisher gets here in 2004 or 2005, center field will be Swisher's anyway.
Rickey Henderson can help this team, believe it or not. Give him a AAA contract now, money isn't an issue. Get him in the clubhouse, take some pressure off Miguel Tejada who will be under the microscope all year long (more on him later), let the young guys see how a Hall of Famer goes through the season.
The A's just might learn something that will help them in October and Rickey just might score some big runs for the team during the year.
I can't see how it can hurt to sign Rickey. I see it as a positive in a baseball sense plus the fans love him and they pay the bills.
C'mon Billy give Rickey a chance, he deserves it.
| By kevink on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 08:29 pm:|
Everyone is campaigning to bring Rickey back. It's nice to see.
Too bad Beane is making a big mistake by not doin it.
| By diamond_lil on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 08:30 pm:|
Jer, if you're out there...I give up trying to upload Rickey's picture from my file. See if you can do it please.
| By deajay on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 08:39 pm:|
I think Lurie makes some very good points. I disagree about Piatt, of course.And I also disagree about Swisher. They may be programming him for center, but I'll bet you he never plays center with the big club. First base perhaps, but I think they'll have one or two or possibly three better choices for center by his arrival date.
| By eyleenn on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 09:58 pm:|
espn.com has a poll on whether BB should bring Rickey back. Of about 18,000 votes, they were split almost 50-50.
| By eyleenn on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 09:59 pm:|
| By jerryo1 on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 10:02 pm:|
| By diamond_lil on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 10:13 pm:|
I have no idea why I wasn't able to upload my pic
| By fansince79 on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 11:25 pm:|
Rickey! Rickey! Rickey!
| By deajay on Thursday, February 13, 2003 - 09:29 am:|
Eyleenn, up to 53.2% yes, at this time. And I only voted once.
| By givedaddy5 on Thursday, February 13, 2003 - 09:40 am:|
That article makes a lot of sense. I don't think Byrnes is going to be anything special and he will never see any playing time here but I think if he were to go to the Tigers or Pirates he would have a chance to play everyday and show what skills he has. I wouldn't be tremendously upset if they were to let him go. That article make me think Rickey would be real good for this squad where as before I was undecided. As of right now who makes up the A's bench? Piatt, Byrnes, McMillion, Menechino, Johnson, Melusky? Am I missing anyone?
| By diamond_lil on Thursday, February 13, 2003 - 09:47 am:|
Grabowski will probably be there too...or at least should be based on his performance last year and winter...
Menechino should be told to be Giambi's personal trainer and shine King George boots...
| By bubba69 on Thursday, February 13, 2003 - 10:22 am:|
This team has no sence of the word legacy!
| By voxhoo on Thursday, February 13, 2003 - 10:23 am:|
Mark Johnson is a lock for the bench. That leaves 4 bench spots, most likely from these guys:
Non roster invites:
| By deajay on Thursday, February 13, 2003 - 10:28 am:|
Jeremy Brown, catcher, is also a non-roster invitee. For complete list see A's mlb site. Also, Rich Harden will be wearing uni #16.
Anyone else surprised that David McCarty is only 34?