Reader Mailbag

In this week's Mailbag, Todd Morgan answers a question about the previously unknown whereabouts of first-round draft pick Trevor Cahill, Dan Johnson's future with the A's, and more.

Hey Todd,
How come First Round draft pick Trevor Cahill has not made an appearance for one of the A's rookie league teams? Is he injured?

-Jason, Castro Valley

Many apologies for taking so long to get to these questions, everyone. I just moved to San Francisco to start my grad program, so I haven't had time to do anything but watch games out of the corner of my eye while doing everything else associated with a major move.

Anyway, on to the interesting stuff. Cahill had a post-graduation trip to Italy scheduled this summer, so the A's had to wait that out, then watch his arm closely while he worked it back into shape after the long layoff. They're being very cautious with him, just like they were with Italiano last season, which is why it took him a little while to make his first official appearance. A team official also told me there was a small health-related issue that the team wanted Cahill to get past, but it was not associated with his arm.

Dan Johnson has made an unbelievable turnaround connecting up with his previous Hitting Coach at Sacramento. Is there any possibility that Johnson comes back while Swisher might possibly receive the same benefit of being in Sacramento for a quick lesson or two.

-Tim, Discovery Bay, CA

Johnson will be back in September without a doubt, but I get the feeling that he is not in the team's plans going forward. I have no first-hand information on his attitude, but it seemed like he rubbed a few people the wrong way last season. Teams will put up with a brash young player as long as he produces, but Johnson's extended slump this season may have written his ticket out of Oakland. I can easily envision a scenario in which he plays a bit in September to build trade value, then gets moved in the offseason in a deal for a starting pitcher.

Looking at the A's stat sheet this season are there any numbers that jump out at you?

-Jeri, San Francisco

There aren't a lot of offensive stats that stand out to me, though I think the term "offensive" can be applied to a number of hitters this year; particularly Mark Kotsay's anemic .712 OPS and the complete ineptitude of the Crosby/Ellis duo. Up the middle this is probably the weakest-hitting team I've ever seen in Oakland.

On the pitching side, Huston Street's 56/10 K/BB reminds me a lot of Dennis Eckersley. It's also a concern (though hardly a secret at this point) that Street has pitched nearly 60 innings, while no other A's reliever has even pitched 50 innings. Street is being overused, plain and simple. He is clearly less effective in situations where he must get four or more outs, and I'm astounded that Macha keeps calling on him in the eighth inning.

Another non-secret that nonetheless stands out in my mind is Chad Gaudin's line. In 48 2/3 innings he's given up only 38 hits while posting a 2.77 ERA. His K/BB is a concern at 30/31, but I see him becoming a dominant eighth inning reliever for the A's within the next two years.

Any news regarding the A's stadium/Fremont plans?

Helen, Fremont

There have been a few items from various websites, including Athletics Nation and Marine Layer's incredible New A's Ballpark blog, that discuss theories about the A's "Celebrate Fremont Day" and other mutual tips of the cap between the city and the club. I agree with both that it all signs point to a done deal.

What I noticed personally is that once Fremont discussions began, the topic of a new stadium became a non-issue around the team. No more talk, no more speculation, no more concern about attendance. It was almost like the topic was swept under the rug. Resolutions can do that, though I should be clear that nobody said a word either affirming or denying the Fremont within earshot of me. Still, I'd bet on an announcement after the season ends, perhaps as early as November.

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