Oakland A's Front Office Q&A: David Forst, P3

In the final installment of our conversation with Oakland A's Assistant General Manager David Forst, we discuss September call-ups, Michael Taylor's resurgence, Brandon Allen, Michael Ynoa's progress, the future for Sean Doolittle, the newest A's international star prospects and more...

For the first part of this interview, please click here.

For part two of this interview, please click here.


OaklandClubhouse: Michael Taylor and Chris Carter: will we have a chance to see them with Oakland in September?

David Forst: I think that remains to be seen. We will make sure that we balance Sacramento's needs with the players' development needs with the needs and the opportunities in the big leagues as we get into September.

OC: Taylor's marching orders at the beginning of this year were to forget about last year and get back to being the player that he was before the trade. The wrist injury obviously got him off to a slow start in terms of actually playing, but he's played much better in general this year. Is he close to being back to where you'd like to see him?

DF: Without a doubt. We certainly think that Michael has had some stretches this year that have shown the player that we traded for a year and a half ago. He's much more consistent. He has done a good job of putting last year behind him. He certainly has some fans in this organization who say this guy is a legitimate option to be an everyday corner guy in the big leagues.

OC: Do you feel like you need to have an audition period this September in order to figure out what you are going to do with the outfield next season? Obviously you have all potential free agents amongst your current outfielders.

DF: I don't know that that is really necessary. We aren't in a situation really with any of those guys [the minor league outfield prospects] where they are out of options next year and we have to know right now. It's always nice to see a guy on the big league stage in September and see how he performs and handles that opportunity, but we obviously have a full major league outfield right now. None of those guys are going anywhere before September 28th, as far as I know. It's not a necessity, but we'll do our best to get a look and help us plan for the off-season.

OC: Monday was obviously quite a coming-out party for Brandon Allen and his power with those two homeruns at Yankee Stadium. Was he a guy you were trying to acquire for awhile?

DF: I wouldn't say that we were necessarily trying to acquire him, but we certainly had been keeping close tabs on him for awhile. It was tough. The previous administration there in Arizona I think wasn't as willing to discuss him. It wasn't really an option until the current group got in there. And even at that point it looked like they were going to give him a big league audition and see what he could do. The best thing that happened for us was that Paul Goldschmidt had the year that he had.

That really enabled them to talk about Brandon. Once that happened we were really able to be aggressive and push the issue. We had discussed him a few weeks earlier than the deadline with Arizona and they weren't quite ready to move. It worked out for us that when it came time to make a deal a couple hours before the deadline, they were motivated to get a reliever and Brandon was the guy that we wanted.

OC: So all of your first-basemen/DHs will eventually come from the Chicago White Sox by way of the Arizona Diamondbacks then?

DF: [laughs] That's right. There is a clear pattern. I'll have to talk to Rick Hahn [the White Sox's Vice President/Assistant General Manager] and make sure that they draft more big DH-types so ultimately he can trade them to someone else and then we can acquire them.

OC: Are there any rehab updates for Michael Ynoa and Sean Doolittle?

DF: Michael is doing great. He threw off the mound a few days ago and said he felt great. He has thrown off the mound a few times and continues to say he feels great. We have sort of restricted our people down there from putting radar guns on these [rehabbing] guys because that's not the goal, but there was some peanut gallery talk about how hard he was throwing the other day. We are feeling really good about him. I'm hopeful that he maybe gets some games in Instructs.

Sean is coming along more slowly. This wrist thing is just not something that heals quickly. I actually have experience with this injury. I tore the tendon in my wrist during college and missed a full season. I actually had the surgery. But I know how difficult it is for Sean. For a guy who has basically been rehabbing for the past two-and-a-half years, I think just mentally the grind has been very tough on him. He is making progress, albeit slow progress. We are hopeful that he gets back at some point to being 100 percent because the knee stuff seems to be behind him, which is great. We are just dealing with this part of it.

OC: Has there been any discussion about trying him on the mound if the wrist doesn't heal?

DF: It has been discussed. I know that Sean is interested in revisiting it just because I think he is really frustrated with how his position player career has gone. It's not something I would rule out, but ultimately Sean is the prospect that he is and was placed on the 40-man roster when he was, because of his potential as a first-baseman and as a hitter. We'll have to hold off now on making any drastic changes.

OC: Are Vicmal De La Cruz and Renato Nunez going to come over for Instructs?

DF: That's the plan.

OC: They've put up much better numbers in the Dominican League than we have seen from a lot of guys from the organization the past few years, especially De La Cruz. How excited are you guys about seeing these two play in the US?

DF: Very. I'm looking forward to seeing them in Instructional League. As many times as Dan [Kantrovitz] has been down there this summer sending raving e-mails about these guys, it's exciting. Just to see those guys put up those numbers in a league where no one ever does means they have a chance to be special. We certainly are going to get them and a few other guys from there over here for Instructs.

Dan and his staff have really worked tirelessly over the past couple of years to infuse some international talent into the organization. When you look at what Zhi-Fang Pan is doing in Vermont and the numbers that these guys are putting up, there is a lot of optimism about the international department at this point.

OC: I got the sense from Keith that Ian Krol's suspension would run through the end of the regular season. Are you still considering whether or not he will be allowed to pitch in Instructional League?

DF: Yeah, it's something that we are going to discuss in the next few weeks.

OC: I know it has been frustrating at the major league level, but what are you taking away from the 2011 season to build on for next year?

DF: Certainly as an organization, the first thing you look at is the major league record and that has been disappointing. Having to make the managerial change was unfortunate, but there are always positives to take away – whether it is small streaks for how the team has played or individual performances. We've seen Jemile Weeks come up here and take hold of a major league job. I think that is something that as an organization you have to be proud of drafting a guy in the first round and developing him. To the point where we traded our longest tenured player to make room for him. Those are the things that you look at as an organization as a win for 2011.

On the minor-league side, you have five teams in the playoff hunt and you are going to have a winning team at almost every level. You have individual performances – guys like Graham Godfrey who have come up and made an impact at the major league level. And the guys we've already talked about like Michael Taylor, who has turned his short A's career around, and a story like Anthony Recker finally getting to the big leagues. There are always good things to take away from a season like this and to build on going forward.


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