Still, if you include the option buyout, the deal is $1.5 $1.375 million a year for two years. I'm still not crazy about guaranteeing two years, but that price ain't too bad.
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Speaking of guaranteeing two years, remember the two-year deal the A's gave Mike Holtz in 2002? Two years, $1.8 million. The dude lasted two months, then got cut.
Relievers are like that. They can be unhittable one year, and awful the next. The Dodgers traded Guillermo Mota in 2004 because they had Yhency Brazoban in the wings. 2005: they both sucked.
And then there are these two words: Arthur Rhodes.
So I'm gunshy about relievers. So here's really hoping the A's don't offer two years to Ricardo Rincon. Rincon will turn 36 next year. He looks like could fall off the proverbial career cliff any time now. I'd be very surprised if he has two good years left. One year, maybe, but I think he's approaching the end of the line.
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Speaking of done, the A's declined the option on Scott Hatteberg. Good move. Not sure what took so long. Were they really considering keeping him? Hatteberg is a likeable guy, but he is of no use to the A's anymore. Johnson has the 1B job, and Swisher can back him up there. There are plenty of other players who can put up better numbers as the team DH. Hatteberg can still put up a fightin' AB, but there's no jump off his bat anymore. The best use for him might be to sit on some National League bench somewhere and be a pinch-hit specialist. But with all the stathead GMs losing their jobs lately, who's gonna hire him?
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Speaking of hiring, the A's have hired a new hitting coach: Gerald Perry. The impressive part of his resume is that he was the Mariners' hitting coach during their peak offensive years from 2000-2002.
The last three years, however, he's been the hitting coach in Pittsburgh, where he's had some hitters, like Brian Giles, Jason Bay, and (most importantly) Jason Kendall have success under him, but the talentless team as a whole has struggled to score runs.
Which goes to show two things, if nothing else:
A hitting coach is only as good as his hitters, and
Gerald Perry is at least capable of fulfilling a batting coach's Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm.
Perry may not do miracles, but at least he probably won't screw anybody up. If he can do anything beyond that, it's gravy.
Perry has some fight in him. He got into a scuffle with Dave Duncan before a game back in August. That's OK with me. Baseball ain't hockey, but you still like to see someone in your dugout who's got your back, and is willing to do some enforcing. That seemed to be missing this year in Oakland without the likes of Tejada and Hudson.
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Speaking of coaches in dugouts, the A's did some shuffling. Rene Lachemann is now the first base coach, Brad Fischer is now the bullpen coach, and Bob Geren is now the bench coach. Why, I don't know, but when Ken Macha demands something, by golly, Ken Macha gets it every time. Or something like that...