A's Add Two From San Diego Organization
Over the past several years, the Oakland A's have made numerous transactions involving players from the San Diego Padres' organization. That tradition continued on Tuesday, as the A's claimed two players off of the Padres' waiver wire -- outfielder Cedric Hunter and reliever Evan Scribner. Oakland had only one open spot on its 40-man roster, so to make room for both players, the team released veteran reliever Michael Wuertz.
Hunter, the Padres' third-round draft choice in 2006, was one of San Diego's top prospects after the 2008 season, during which he hit .318 with an 804 OPS in 134 games for High-A Lake Elsinore. His star has dimmed some since that time. He struggled in 2009 with Double-A San Antonio and while he posted strong numbers for the Missions in 2010, he has yet to put up consistently good numbers at the Triple-A level. He hit .255 with a 680 OPS in 81 games for Triple-A Tucson this season before a groin injury ended his season prematurely.
The 23-year-old made his major league debut early this season with the Padres, appearing in six games. He had one hit in four at-bats and he walked once. The 6'0'' left-handed hitter and thrower is known for his patience at the plate. In 671 career minor league games, he has walked 231 times against 262 strike-outs.
Before the 2011 season, Padres' Assistant General Manager Jason McLeod told Scout.com's MadFriars.com that Hunter: "kind of becomes a forgotten man because all he does is hit.
"I think he kind of flies under the radar a bit because he is not a power or speed guy and most of his value is tied up in his ability to hit and play good defense. I think he has what it takes to become a major league player but whether it is as an everyday player I’m not sure...
"He’s good enough to play center field and left. In the end, I just see him as a professional player; one who is good enough with the bat and that can play defense."
With Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui and David DeJesus all set to file for free agency, Hunter joins Ryan Sweeney, Michael Taylor and Jai Miller as the only true outfielders on the A's current 40-man roster who are under Oakland's control for next season. Hunter also gives the A's additional depth in centerfield, a good buffer for the team in the event that Jermaine Mitchell isn't recovered from his off-season knee surgery at the start of the 2012 season.
Scribner also had his season end early with an injury. The right-hander landed on the DL in late July with a strained right shoulder and he missed the rest of the season. Before the injury, he had a 4.71 ERA in 28.2 innings with a 27:12 K:BB for Tucson. He also made his major league debut this year and appeared in 10 games for San Diego. He had a 7.07 ERA and struck-out 10 with four walks.
Prior to this season, Scribner had never posted an ERA higher than 3.07. In five minor leagues seasons, he has a career 2.83 ERA with 339 strike-outs and only 74 walks in 280 innings. Originally a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks' organization, Scribner was traded to San Diego in 2008 for first-baseman Tony Clark.
Coming into the season, MadFriars.com ranked Scribner as the Padres' 47th-best prospect. They had this to say about the right-hander:
"One of the few relievers with a true plus curveball, Scribner has a powerful two-pitch repertoire. His 12-to-6 hammer is dirty in the late innings, and he has pinpoint control of a low-90s fastball that has good sink.
"Scribner also has significant deception in his delivery. Coupled with strong command, hitters have a tough time picking up the ball and are often too late when they realize it will be a strike."
The A's decision to let go of Wuertz was not a surprising one. The team had a $3.25 million option on the slider specialist for the 2012 season. He was coming off of a down year, having posted a 6.68 ERA in 33.2 innings. He had also battled numerous injuries over the past two seasons. Wuertz had his best season with the A's in 2009 when he struck-out 102 in 78.2 innings. He had only 73.1 innings pitched for both the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
A's Reunite With Young, Feinstein
October is homecoming month for most US universities and the A's have been getting into the spirit of the month with two recent moves. Last week, the team announced that they were bringing back Curt Young as the team's pitching coach. He left the A's last season to take the same position with Boston. Young has spent 23 seasons as part of the A's organization as either a pitcher or a coach.
Young's previous tenure as the A's major league pitching coach ran from 2004-2010. He was a minor league pitching coach in the A's system from 1999-2003. He pitched for the A's from 1983-1991.
The A's also announced on Tuesday that former front office member Dan Feinstein would be returning to the organization as the team's Director of Professional Scouting and Baseball Development. Feinstein had been the Director of Baseball Operations for the Tampa Bay Rays for the past six seasons and helped the Rays reach the playoffs three times and the World Series once.
Feinstein, a native of Lafayette, California, was previously with the A's from 1994-2004, when he served a variety of roles within the front office. He has also worked in the Los Angeles Dodgers' front office. Feinstein has been featured in two books about the role of statistical analysis and scouting in baseball: Michael Lewis' "Moneyball" and Jonah Keri's "The Extra 2%".