Well as you probably figured out by now, we all survived the apocalypse that was supposed to wipe us all from existence today, so that means I have the privilege of completing the Santa’s Oakland A’s Naughty or Nice List trilogy tonight. It’s become quite clear that Santa knows his stuff, and he certainly doesn’t pull any punches.
NICE: Bob Melvin
“The A’s really seemed to strike gold when they hire Bob Melvin in 2011. He gave the team just enough structure to keep them focused on their goals, but was relaxed enough to allow them to have fun while they did it. He won the AL Manager of the Year, and deservedly so. I expect bigger and better things from Melvin going forward, and I’ll leave a little extra strategic expertise under his tree.”
NICE: Tommy Milone
“Tommy Milone was one of my personal favorites this year because he didn’t flash the nasty stuff, the blazing fastball, the high strikeout numbers, but he was effective anyway. He set an Oakland rookie record for wins with his 13 this season, and for the first half he truly dominated in Oakland. He may have been one of many pieces the A’s got in return for Gio Gonzalez, but he’s the one who’s already had the biggest impact in Oakland. With a little more experience and some fine tuning he can continue to develop as a solid middle of the rotation starter. He deserves a lot more credit than he received, maybe a 15 win 3.25 ERA type season in 2013 might do the trick, he’ll find that sitting under his tree.”
NICE: Travis Blackley
“What more can you say about a guy’s grit and determination? He travelled all across the world, pitching in Korea in an effort to make his way back to the Major Leagues and he did it with the Athletics better than he ever had before. He hadn’t won a single game in almost 8 years before collecting the first of his 6 wins in 2012, talk about perseverance! He proved that he can pitch at this level, and for that he shall stay. I hope he gets comfortable playing in Oakland, because that’s where he belongs, and I’ll leave another magical season with the Athletics under his tree. Our bad indeed.”
NAUGHTY: Ryan Cook
“This is not to say Ryan Cook did not perform very well at times, but there was some rather frustrating moments to say the least. His tendency to walk hitters and get himself into sticky situations was not pleasant to watch and he needs to cut that out if he wants to have sustained success in Oakland. There’s no doubt he has nasty stuff, but he needs to be able to harness it. I expect big things from him in the future, so I’ll leave him a drastically decreased walk rate in 2013 under the tree, or else we might have a problem.”
NAUGHTY: Cliff Pennington
“This year was supposed to be his breakout season, when he established himself as a legitimate shortstop in the Major Leagues. But instead he struggled so horribly that the A’s had to go out and trade for a replacement to keep him from dragging the team down. I’m not saying he’s a bad teammate, because he most certainly is not, but his bat left much to be desired. Now he’s been dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who already have acquired a shortstop to play ahead of him and he hasn’t even suited up for the Snakes. He’ll have to make an impact in a very limited sample to increase his time on the field, but at least he’s playing with a ton of former Athletics. Something as simple as a batting average over .250 for him next year will seem like a huge boost, so I’ll leave that for him under the tree.”
“You may wonder why did Daric Barton make my naughty list? It’s simple, he just won’t go away. I understand he had one solid season in 2010 where he showed exceptional on base skills, but he’s never shown on any consistent basis that he can be a productive Major Leaguer. Yet GM Billy Beane continues to have some kind of fascination with him that keeps him around. I don’t get it honestly, and I don’t think he’ll ever be a productive Athletic. If Billy Beane doesn’t get over his fascination with Barton and his walks, we may never see him leave the Athletics and that’s bad for everyone involved. I’m going to0 leave something under both of their trees that should have been there a long time ago, Barton’s walking papers. It may be harsh, but it’s the truth.”
So there you have it, the best of the best from Santa Claus himself. The man sure has a strong opinion on just about everything Athletics. It’s quite nice to see to be quite honest. Be sure to stay tuned to Swingin’ A’s in the Spring when I bring to you the Easter Bunny’s Spring Training roster cut opinions, that’ll sure to be a good read. Till then, Happy Holidays everyone!