A’s should bail on Kouzmanoff, start LaRoche

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Now even his glove is letting him down: Kevin Kouzmanoff committed his fourth error in four games Tuesday, eclipsing his total from 2009 when he set a record for fielding percentage by a third baseman with three errors in 311 chances.

But while that’s probably a fluke, Kouzmanoff’s atrocious hitting likely isn’t.  He’s opened this season at .267/.250/.333 with one RBI in four games. In 147 games since joining the A’s, he’s hit .247/.282/.394 with a dreadful 99/24 K/BB ratio in 566 at-bats. He entered last year as Oakland’s cleanup hitter, only to get dropped steadily as the year went on. This season, he’s batting eighth.

The next move is to simply pull him from the lineup. After an excellent spring in which he hit .333/.388/.583 with four homers and 13 RBI in 60 at-bats, Andy LaRoche made his first start of the season last night. Playing shortstop, he went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. The A’s might as well give him a shot.

Of course, it’s no given than LaRoche would be an upgrade.  The 27-year-old has hit .226/.305/.339 in 1,090 at-bats as a major leaguer.  Even Kouzmanoff, who also excelled with the bat this spring, has that beat. LaRoche, though, probably has the greater offensive upside, and he does offer more range at third base. He wouldn’t be the first hitter to break through after getting the boot from the Pirates.

Kouzmanoff isn’t worthless.  But we do know what he is: he offers just enough power and defense to justify a spot in a starting lineup, but he clearly ranks in the 20-30 range among major league third basemen. LaRoche may not be any better, but it’s worth a shot and the A’s would still have the insurance policy to fall back on.

Blue Jays to announce that John Gibbons will not return as manager

John Gibbons
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Sportsnet reports that the Blue Jays will announce today that manager John Gibbons will not return for the 2019 season.

This is not a huge secret, as Ken Rosenthal reported that the team will not be asking Gibbons to return over a month ago. Today, however, it will become official.

Gibbons, who is still under contract through the end of next season and who is subject to a team option for 2020, is in his second stint as the Jays’ manager. His first term went from 2004 through the middle of the 2008 season. He was rehired before the 2013 season. At the moment Toronto holds a 71-87 record, which puts them a whopping 35 and a half games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

The club is poised for a rebuild. And, they have decided, they will do it without John Gibbons at the helm.