14 June 2010

Case for claiming Jake Fox

Susan Slusser tweeted last night that the Oakland Athletics can no longer afford to be patient with Jake Fox and are designating him for assignment.  This is a move to take him off the 40 man roster, so every other team in baseball will have a shot at him.  The Orioles have the first right of claim.  The Athletics need to do this because Fox is out of options.  His has been somewhat miserable at the plate this year with a 591 OPS.  He has played left field, catcher, and backed up a few games at third base.  In the minors he has also had some experience with first base.

What I am suggesting is pretty simple . . . the Orioles need to claim Fox and designate Garrett Atkins.  At this point, Atkins has not shown any improvement at the plate and looks stiff over at first base.  Taken along with his three year precipitous decline, I see absolutely no upside to keeping him.  He cannot hit and he cannot take the field.  Jake Fox is actually hitting better than Atkins.  He has also shown good power as well.  He has shown some ability to play catcher and first base, which would be very valuable to the Orioles.  Fox is also right handed just like Atkins, so he fills that role as well.  At 27, Fox is not an up and coming prospect, but he could, maybe, just maybe, have some upside in either his bat or his ability to catch.  These are unknowns to explore.  Everything about Atkins we know and none of it has been very useful.

Now, I am not going to kick and scream if the Orioles pass on Fox, but it would be disappointing.  Why?  Because I think it will be a sign of embracing a player, Atkins, not because of his abilities, but because of his salary.  The cost is sunk and no one is going to take him off the Orioles' hands.  It should be time to own up to that and take chances on the waiver wire.

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