Thursday, December 21, 2006

Return of the Holy Grail?

Sounds like the title to a bad Monty Python sequel :-)

According to the A's, Durazo could be back in the green and gold:

Currently starring for Hermasillo of the Mexican Winter League, Durazo on
Tuesday told a Mexican radio station -- after hitting three home runs in a game
-- that he was rejoining the A's.
Asked to confirm Durazo's announcement,
Oakland assistant GM David Forst, responding to a voicemail from while
traveling late Wednesday, promptly did so with a brief text message.
"On a
plane," Forst wrote. "Minor League deal for Ruby. Invite to camp."
The plan now is to bring Durazo to Spring Training, where he might get a
look at first base.

I always liked Durazo and felt that after his breakout 2004 season he was headed for bigger and better things. He received a pretty decent raise in 2005 but started off terribly, going 0.237 / 0.305 / 0.368 in 41 games and then injuring his elbow while practicing for first base. He was let go and spent 2006 in the minor leagues, where he played in 58 games split between 3 different teams and put up the following line:

BA 0.286 / OBP 0.389 / SLG 0.432 - 5 HR / 13 2B / 32 BB / 38 K

Currently in winter ball with Hermosillo, he has put up the following monstrous numbers:

BA 0.345 / OBP 0.454 / SLG 0.641 - 17 HR / 10 2B / 38 BB / 33 K

Durazo has always shown a penchant for getting on base, both in the majors (career 0.381 OBP) and in the minors, as well as in winter ball, which is probably why Beane was so high on him, dubbing him his "Holy Grail". But Beane obviously had no problem cutting ties with Durazo once his injury rendered him ineffective in 2005. But myself, along with some of my friends, always questioned letting him go so easily and openly wondered when the A's would pick him back up again.

It appears that Durazo will have his chance with the A's again in Spring Training, although I believe Durazo will have to put on one heck of a show if he wants to start with the A's. Even then, I believe Dan Johnson will be given the opportunity to prove he can be an everyday starter with Durazo on the bench before Durazo gets any opportunities at 1B. Then again, this could be clue that despite what Beane said about DJ there are doubts within the organization about his ability to hit, although I think too many people are putting too much weight into DJ's 2 incomplete seasons with the A's. He is young and judging a player on only 2 less-than-full seasons is a bit unfair.

But who knows, perhaps Durazo and Johnson could turn into quite the pair at 1B, with both splitting time at that position and occasionally spelling Piazza at DH. Having Durazo as a convenient back up in case Piazza struggles in his new league is a nice insurance policy - Durazo knows the A's, knows the AL, and knows how to hit in the Coliseum.


Post a Comment

<< Home