A's Sign Duinkerk
The Oakland A's international scouting program continues to expand. Over the past 18 months, the A's signed their first international amateur free agents from Taiwan and Australia. Then they won the posting competition to have the right to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. Now they can add Aruba to their list of scouting locales.
On Thursday, the A's signed OF/RHP Shawn Duinkerk, A's Coordinator of International Operations/Baseball Operations Analyst Dan Kantrovitz told OaklandClubhouse.com. Duinkerk, 16, is 6'4'', 180 pounds. He was signed as a pitcher, but he was both a pitcher and an outfielder in Aruba and Kantrovitz indicated that Duinkerk is likely to get an opportunity to play both when he joins the organization.
Duinkerk was a star Aruban Little League player. He led the Aruban South team over the US champion from Bangor, Maine, in this year's Senior League World Series, and also led Aruba South to the finals of the Junior League World Series in 2009. He pitched a complete game over Bangor in the Senior League finals this year, using only 78 pitches to finish all seven innings. He also had three hits in the game. To see video highlights of that game, click here.
Duinkerk caught the attention of several pro scouts at the Senior League World Series.
A's Non-Tender Three
The A's waited until just before the deadline to announce that they had declined to tender contracts to three of their unsigned players on the 40-man roster: DH Jack Cust, OF Travis Buck and 3B Edwin Encarnacion. The A's tendered contracts to the rest of their unsigned roster players, including the other seven players who were eligible for arbitration: Brad Ziegler, Dallas Braden, Craig Breslow, Joey Devine, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson.
For Buck, Cust and Encarnacion, being 'non-tendered' means that all three are now free agents and can sign with any team, including the A's. Last season, the A's non-tendered Cust, only to bring him back on a one-year contract later in the off-season.
Cust has had a rocky 12 months with the A's. After he was re-signed by the team last off-season, he was designated for assignment at the end of spring training and started the 2010 season in Triple-A. He would eventually be called back up to Oakland and finished the major league season with a .272 average and 13 homeruns in 112 games. He had a .273 average and four homeruns in 33 games for Sacramento. In four years with the A's, he has 97 homeruns, 377 walks and 673 strike-outs, all top totals for players on the A's during that span.
Buck has also had a rough last few years with the A's. The team's supplemental first-round pick in 2005 had a strong rookie season in 2007 with Oakland, but injuries derailed him over the past three seasons and even when he was healthy, he was often passed over on the A's depth chart by acquisitions such as Scott Hairston, Rajai Davis, Jackson, etc. Buck started the 2010 season on the A's roster, but a strained oblique and later leg soreness landed him on the DL from April 21 to July 30. He would play only three more games after April 21 in the major league in 2010. Buck hit .298 with three homers in 32 games with the River Cats this season.
Encarnacion was recently claimed off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. He hit 21 homeruns in 96 games for the Blue Jays last season, but he managed only a .244 average and struggled on defense at third-base. He was expected to fetch a hefty salary in arbitration and the A's elected to tender a contract to fellow third-baseman Kouzmanoff instead. The A's are also reportedly in serious contract talks with free agent third-baseman Adrian Beltre.