Some of us are still of the opinion that the jury’s still out on Oakland’s decisions to part with Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson during the off-season ; that the A’s were unlikely to retain the latter and the dividents from said deals might not fully measured for a couple of years. For the SF Chronicle’s Ray Ratto, however, to quote George Allen (if not Non-Phixion), the Future Is Now (and Now Really Sucks).
Juan Cruz (above) strode angrily from the A’s clubhouse within 10 minutes of the end of Thursday’s 9-6 loss to the New York Mets, wearing a look of great agitation and a Warren Sapp jersey that you may rest assured was not built to scale.
It seems clear, though, that his career as a Sacramento River Cat is about to begin, barring some sort of overnight change of heart, because his career as an Oakland Athletic seems to be in full vapor-lock.
The Oakland brains-on-site — general manager Billy Beane and manager Ken Macha — met after the game, and according to Macha, discussed Cruz’s demotion. The suggestion floated in the manager’s office that it might well have been done had Cruz not left the building.
But the fact it was discussed, and that Macha felt free enough to say so, indicates that Cruz will soon become part of the River Cats’ starting rotation, because the relief thing just hasn’t worked out.
This usually wouldn’t be so noteworthy, a long reliever on the verge of organizational relocation, except that Cruz was the Oakland-bound showpiece of the still-notorious Tim Hudson trade — a lively arm whose owner just needed a bit of maturation and TLC.
But Hudson has done well in Atlanta (except for the fact that he just went on the disabled list with a recurrence of his oblique muscle strain), while Cruz was rocked in each of his first four appearances as an Elephant and never got his ERA on the sunny side of 7 in any of his last 19 appearances; it sits now at an DayGlo green 8.49.
Between him, outfielder Charles Thomas (who was sent down with a .105 batting average) and pitcher Dan Meyer (hurt, with no estimate on recovery time), the A’s got even less from the Hudson trade than they got from the Mark McGwire deal. If that doesn’t put a spring in Eric Ludwick’s step, I don’t know what will.