Results tagged ‘ Coco Crisp ’

DEFENSE COULD BE TRADEMARK OF 2010 A’S

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When the A’s consummated the
Kevin
K
ouzmanoff (right) trade with the San Diego
Padres last week, most pundits nodded
and offered the obvious analysis.  Oakland
had, indeed, found a much n
eeded middle-of-the-order hitter for their 2010
lineup.  Afterall, the 6-1, 210-pound
slugger has averaged 20 home runs, 31 doubles and 82 RBI over the last three

seasons despite playing home games at San Diego’s
pitcher-friendly Petco
Park. 


But what may have gone unnoticed is GM Billy
Beane
has acquired yet
another key defensive piece to the roster. 
Kouzmanoff, admittedly an inconsistent fielder in his early days, has
blossomed into one of baseball’s best defensive players at the hot corner.  Last year, he set a National League record
for fielding percentage (.990) by a third baseman, committing only three errors all season long.  Think about that for minute.  Playing one of the toughest positions on the
diamond, he was charged with only three
errors!  Remarkable. 


Yet, the Kouzmanoff acquisition signals more
than the addition of a good, all-around player. 
It represents another step in Beane’s rather unheralded plan to build an
outstanding defensive team in 2010.  Consider
this:  the A’s infield now features two
deserving Gold Glove candidates in Kouzmanoff and second baseman
Mark Ellis–not to mention an on-the-mend Eric Chavez, who has already won six Gold Gloves–plus speedy
shortstop
Cliff Pennington, who reeled off
an errorless streak of 35 consecutive games last year in earning the starting
job, and
Daric Barton, who was a
revelation at first base last season with a .998 fielding mark.  Meanwhile, the starting outfield, as its
constituted today, features two spectacular speed burners in
Rajai Davis and Coco Crisp
in left and center (or vice versa), and
Ryan Sweeney, the human highlight reel who tied for fourth in the
American League in outfield assists (11) last year, in right.  Then add team leader
Kurt Suzuki behind the plate–he led all 2009 AL catchers in
games played and game started, and ranked second in assists–and there’s every
reason to believe Oakland will field one of the better defensive units in the
league. 


Perhaps that fact won’t resonate
with everyone since defense is clearly the least
sexy aspect of baseball.  But if that
underappreciated side of the game leads to the A’s shaving half a run off our
pitching staff’s ERA, don’t be surprised if that change in run differential
results in more victories this season.  
So as you watch the remaining NFL playoff games this month leading to
February’s Super Bowl, maybe you should take that age-old football cheer to
heart, and adopt it at the Coliseum this summer…..Let’s hear it:  “Defense! 
Defense!  Defense”!

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