1. Dallas Braden- Braden was released today after spending his whole career with the A’s. After a nerve injury in his foot Braden had shoulder surgery causing him to miss the last season and a half. When Braden got close enough to return an issue again appeared in his shoulder and he underwent a second shoulder surgery. He is slated to return next season around June or July so the A’s might want to sign him to a minor league deal. Braden has been a big part in reaching out to A’s fans. He is local guy who is very charismatic and can mentor a younger similar pitcher in Tommy Milone.
The A’s have nine arbitration eligible players for the 2012 offseason. The player and team have until February to try and work together to come up with an amount for the player to make for the next season before they go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration hearings happen when the player and team cannot come up with an amount that the player will make for the next season before a February due date. The player and team then go before an arbitration panel which will then determine the contract. A player presents his case: this usually consists of awards, comparable players, etc. The team does the same to try and back up their argument for an amount. These cases can sometimes get ugly (the team tries to dismiss the player’s career to make their case) so rarely does it get to that point. If a team feels the player is no longer needed or becomes too expensive they are non-tendered (or in simple terms released). Here are the A’s nine arbitration eligible players and whether they will be tendered contracts this season.
2. Joey Devine- Devine, along with Braden, was released today as well. Devine was an excellent late inning reliever before undergoing Tommy John surgery. After making a brief return in spring training Devine underwent Tommy John surgery again in March. He should be available in March 2013 and other teams may want to sign him on a minor league deal.
3. Adam Rosales- Rosales is quietly a fan favorite. Unfortunately, the A’s have Grant Green in the wings ready to take over the utility spot. I see Rosales being non-tendered and possibly catching on with another team looking for a cheap utility player.4. Daric Barton- Barton has gotten many opportunities over the past few seasons to prove himself. He has never lived up to the expectations thrust upon him after coming over from St. Louis. With the Brandon Moss and Chris Carter power platoon there is no longer room for Barton. It is time to cut him loose.
5. Pat Neshek- Neshek was a late season acquisition for the A’s. He is considered a righty on righty specialist. Neshek had a horrible end to the season off the field when his newly born son passed away with no cause. He was a valuable commodity in his short time and I seem him being tendered a contract.6. Jerry Blevins- Blevins had a career year in 2012 pitching in big time situations late in games. He was the lefty on lefty specialist of the staff and is still relatively cheap for a reliever with high numbers. He will return again next season.
7. George Kottaras- Kottaras was another late season acquisition for the A’s. The left handed hitting catcher is a great platoon partner for Derek Norris and is very cheap. He gets on base at a decent clip which the A’s desperately need. Expect him back next season.
8. Brandon Moss- Moss had a breakout year for the A’s in 2012 finding his power stroke and developing into a solid 5th place hitter. His defense is average but the power numbers make up for it. He will no doubt be kept.9. Seth Smith- Smith was acquired from the Rockies last offseason and was the team’s designated hitter (along with Jonny Gomes). He also filled in in leftfield when Yoenis Céspedes was injured. He had clutch hits and got on base at a relatively decent clip. His situation is a little muddy in my opinion however. He is becoming expensive for a player who needs a platoon partner. Jonny Gomes was brought in to face left handed pitching since Smith struggled against them and he had better numbers against right handed pitching. With Gomes seemingly gone and four outfielders capable of starting everyday there is a logjam for a couple of roster spots including Smith’s spot at designated hitter. I expect Smith to be tendered a contract but he might be considered a trade candidate.