In need of offense, A’s could turn to Jemile Weeks

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Three years after being taken in the first round by the A’s out of the University of Miami, second baseman Jemile Weeks seems to be nearing the majors.  Rickie’s little brother is hitting a cool .327/.427/.482 with two homers, 14 RBI and six steals in 110 at-bats for Triple-A Sacramento.   A switch-hitter, he’s batting .324 against lefties and .329 versus righties.

The A’s weren’t expecting to need a replacement at second base this year after spending more than they likely needed to in picking up Mark Ellis’ $6 million option for 2011.  Ellis, always a rock-solid performer when healthy, was coming off a fine .291/.358/.381 season in 2010.

Second basemen, though, do have a history of losing it early, and Ellis is a 33-year-old with a lengthy injury history (he’s played in 130 games just twice as a major leaguer).  His ugly .194/.221/.269 start in 134 at-bats this season might be more than just an extended slump.  And it’s not only the batting average: with no homers, six RBI and a measly four walks on the season, he’s done nothing at all to help the A’s offensively.

Ellis is still a fine defender and the A’s would be downgrading there if they went to Weeks, but it might be worth it to make the switch anyway.  Weeks doesn’t have his brother’s power, but he’s not punchless either and that he walks almost as much as he strikes out should give him a nice on-base percentage.

Considering that the A’s have actually slipped behind the Mariners in runs per game, leaving them only ahead of the Twins in the AL, they don’t have much to lose by giving Weeks a try.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.