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Melhuse Gets Screwed Over
2007-04-26 08:23
by Ken Arneson

If I were Adam Melhuse, I'd be doing more than "grumbling" about being sent to the minors. I'd be pulling a full-fledged Brad Halsey, or worse.

I suppose if you're like Melhuse, and you don't make a major league roster until you're 28 years old, you're grateful for any opportunity to spend time on a 25-man roster, even if you're stuck behind an iron man catcher like Jason Kendall. But Melhuse has talent, and I find it terribly unfair that he's hardly had any chance to see what he can do with it. He's only had one year (2004) where he was given over 200 at-bats; he put up an OPS of .772. For a catcher, that's damn good. Production like that could get you a starting job on probably 10 teams in any given year. The following year, however, Kendall shows up, and ever since, Melhuse has only gotten a handful of at-bats a week. It's hard to keep your timing with that kind of playing time. Maybe Melhuse is washed up now at age 35, but how could anyone tell?

There's something terribly wrong with a system that allows a team to send a 35-year-old man to the minor leagues, without giving him any choice about how to manage his career. The MLBPA needs to do something about this in their next collective bargaining agreement; all minor league options should expire once a player hits a certain age, say 31 or 32. Every player should get at least one shot during his peak free-agent years to avoid falling into the Hall of Could Have Been by mere circumstance.

There are plenty of teams (the Yankees come to mind) that could use a solid backup catcher like Adam Melhuse. He deserves a chance to play, and a chance to cash in on his talent, and the opportunity to find a team willing to give him that chance. He deserves to be a free agent.

Free Adam Melhuse!

2007-04-26 08:56:00
1.   Sushirabbit
Here! Here!
2007-04-26 09:49:08
2.   Ruben F Pineda
I concur
2007-04-26 09:51:15
3.   John Seal
Word up. Past time to call up Kurt Suzuki, cut Kendall, and keep Melhuse.

Piazza as the backup is not a good plan. In fact, it's such a terrible plan that I have to think there's a 'Plan B' afoot. Hopefully Billy is about to 'surge' some more catchers onto the roster.

2007-04-26 10:01:20
4.   Ken Arneson
3 Yeah, I agree, it seems like something is in the works, the way that people (Bob Geren mostly) are not directly answering questions about why they did this.
2007-04-26 10:02:01
5.   mhmitch
As an avid Bronx Banter follower living in Berkeley, the Yankees were the first thing that popped into my mind while reading the Chronicle today on my commute. I just commented on the Banter that maybe there is a trade opportunity here especially if the Yanks are willing to take Halsey off your hands as well.
2007-04-26 10:28:27
6.   Ken Arneson
6 Yeah, I was think the same thing; the Yankees could use both Halsey and Melhuse. Not sure what they would get back, though. The Yankees player the A's could use most right now is Melky Cabrera, but Halsey and Melhuse are not worth Cabrera.

Hmm...what about Halsey + Melhuse + Dan Johnson for Cabrera + a minor league arm? That would fill a lot of holes on both teams.

2007-04-26 10:47:52
7.   mhmitch
Melky is off to a lousy start this year, but I don't think Cashman would move him for that package. I think a more realistic scenario would be Kevin Thompson who is kind of an outfield version of Melhuse, a minor league arm (perhaps someone from the Sheffield or Johnson trades), and your pick of Josh Phelps, Doug M., or Andy Phillips to compensate for the loss of Dan Johnson.
2007-04-26 11:29:48
8.   Ken Arneson
Ooh, I didn't realize Cabrera was only 22. I thought he was about 25. Yeah, I guess that package wouldn't work.

But I don't think the A's trade Johnson unless they get some offense back. The reason I suggested it is that Cabrera and Johnson have similar ZiPS offensive projections:

Cabrera: .295/.355/.445
Johnson: .273/.365/.469

And for comparison:

Thompson: .253/.333/.417

Thompson is 27, like Johnson, so this is as good as he's going to get. Would Thompson be that much better than just leaving Danny Putnam out in CF for two weeks until Swisher and/or Bradley get back? Would he play after June, when Kotsay gets back? I don't think so. The A's don't need Thompson.

2007-04-26 13:49:22
9.   mhmitch
Well, I guess the conclusion from this exercise is that a trade between the two teams is extremely unlikely. For some reason, the Yankees have never shown much of an inclination to trade for a decent backup catcher anyway. They seem to prefer dumpster diving at the waiver wire. I also think they're willing to sacrifice offense at 1B for a while.
2007-04-26 14:41:37
10.   Philip Michaels
The A's really don't need to take on backups -- they've got three inadequate hitters playing catcher, second, and short. They need someone playing at least one of those positions capable of hitting the ball with some consistency and power.
2007-04-26 15:21:24
11.   toni
how about halsey/melhuse/duke for cabrera + prospect?

if halsey's mri comes back poorly, could he be a PTBNL?

Yankees desperately need SP and RP... and we desperately need someone who can *&^%$^& hit the ball.

I know Billy is all about staying put for the first third of the season and seeing what he has, unfortuantely hamstring injuries linger all season long, kots is coming off of back surgery, he needs to do something NOW!

And btw I was shocked that Melhuse got optioned to AAA... I thought it was a bad move. And reflected poorly on the organization, hopefully he's about to get traded.

2007-04-26 15:38:21
12.   Ken Arneson
Here's where my Billy Beane rule-of-thumb comes in. Whenever A's fans start thinking Beane needs to do something NOW...add two weeks. That's when Beane will start believing the same thing.

And given that two weeks from now Harden and Bradley will be off the DL; I kinda doubt anything will happen at all.

We're just going to have to suffer, just like we do every year around this time.

2007-04-26 15:40:24
13.   Ken Arneson
And yes, I realize I just contradicted myself. "Something's going on!" "Nothing will happen!"

Whatever. I don't know what the heck I'm talking about. Ignore me.

2007-04-26 16:10:25
14.   toni
Call me a cynic, but this won't be the last trip to the dl for harden and/or bradley. I'm just waiting for Street, Duke, Kiko and Swish to join them.

And it's not like we have murderer's row with Bradley in the lineup, I'd actually settle for misdemeanor's row right now (ok I thought it was clever).

Anyway as for the two week rule, it's been basically since the beginning of the season we've struggled. Second to last in runs scored, dfl in OPS and SLG. Billy has to see this lineup and realize he needs to either A. have a firesale and trade everybody with value and start over B. make a trade for a bat or C. trade who you can, bench the vets and call up any rookies with potential, because what's being fielded isn't getting it done.

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