What Manny Ramirez brings the A’s

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Here’s was Oakland’s projected lineup two weeks ago:

2B Jemile Weeks – S
CF Coco Crisp – S
LF Seth Smith – L
C Kurt Suzuki – R
RF Josh Reddick – L
3B Scott Sizemore – R
DH Brandon Allen – L
1B Daric Barton – L
SS Cliff Pennington – S

And here’s what it might look like come the end of May:

2B Jemile Weeks – S
LF Coco Crisp – S
RF Seth Smith – L
DH Manny Ramirez – R
CF Yoenis Cespedes – R
C Kurt Suzuki – R
1B Daric Barton – L
3B Scott Sizemore – R
SS Cliff Pennington – S

Of course, that’s far from set in stone. Maybe Cespedes won’t prove ready, and Josh Reddick will be penciled back into right field. Maybe Ramirez decides this whole comeback thing isn’t a good idea after all and returns to the Dominican Republic.

But let’s face it, no major league lineup should have Kurt Suzuki batting cleanup.

I’m not sure what Ramirez has left. With the news that he was joining the A’s, I revised his 2012 projection to .260/.372/.431 with 11 homers and 46 RBI in 304 at-bats, but that’s just a wild guess (as a free agent, I had him projected at .271/.381/.452, but that was for a neutral hitting environment).

The A’s really had nothing to lose by going into the Manny business. It’s not as though the fans could get much more apathetic. Plus, since they’ll be without him for the first 50 games anyway, they’ll still have time to evaluate whether Brandon Allen should be in their plans and take a longer look at Reddick.

I don’t think there’s a whole lot to gain, either, especially considering the going rate for veteran DHs, but the A’s are a little more interesting now and that’s something.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: