Mychael Urban's mailbag
On Keith Ginter :
I think it's pretty safe to say that we've seen the last of Ginter, but it's not a lock because he does have a guaranteed contract for 2006. It's rather complicated, as evidenced by the fact that I asked several "experts" and stumped them all with this, but as far as I can tell, when you're outrighted, you're put through waivers, and if you clear them, you can either accept a Minor League assignment or opt to become a free agent.
I can't see anyone picking up Ginter's guaranteed deal, so my guess is that he'll clear waivers (if he hasn't done so already). And since he so badly wants a chance to play in the big leagues, he might turn down the Sacramento assignment -- and the guaranteed money -- to explore the open market. It would cost him some dough, but I get the impression that he'd rather play for less in the bigs.
If he accepts the assignment, he'd still get that money no matter where he plays.
As for why they don't see a need for him, it's pretty clear that the A's prefer Marco Scutaro as their backup infielder, and the fact that the A's are so willing to part with Ginter might further suggest that Chavez's shoulder isn't a huge concern. Ginter, despite his awful numbers last season, should draw some interest from teams in need of infield help -- particularly in the National League, where teams tend to use their benches more.
Predicts Juan Cruz will be gone next season :
Cruz's situation is an interesting one because he's eligible for arbitration, which means the club could non-tender him and cut him loose. In doing that, however, they'd be giving up on one of the three players they got in the Tim Hudson trade, and that trade looks one-sided, in Atlanta's favor, thus far.
Cruz obviously won't get a huge raise in arbitration, so there's certainly a chance he'll be brought back and given a chanced to compete for a spot on the roster. Another option would be to sign him back and package him in a trade, because we all know that the A's aren't going to be able to do much in the free agent market.
I don't see him in Oakland next year because I don't think the coaching staff trusts him. So maybe general manager Billy Beane can convince a fellow general manager that Cruz's live arm just needs the old "change of scenery."
And suggests that Mark Ellis, Joe Blanton, and Nick Swisher are possible candidates for contract extensions.