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Carignan and Cowgill Optioned; Ross and Wagner Recalled

April 17, 2012

Andrew Carignan and Collin Cowgill have been demoted to Sacramento. Tyson Ross, as expected given he was the projected starter for tonight’s game and Neil Wagner have been recalled. Carignan was a big disappointment. His relatively flat fastball missed the zone more often than not (10.4 BB/9) and proved hitable (.308 BABIP). In his five games with the A’s he went four and a third innings, relying heavily upon his fastball averaging 93.7 mph (and thrown 92.2% of the time) earning him a 6.23 ERA with a 4.96 FIP. Most telling as a reliever to me was that he had no shutdowns at all, but managed a meltdown (three total) in 60% of his outings.

He is replaced by Wagner another hard throwing righty. While there was talk that Pedro Figueroa might earn a promotion, the idea of four left-handed hurlers in the pen seemed foolish and despite a high ERA (5.06) from Wagner who had a miserable Cactus League, his peripherals were stellar (13.5 K/9 in 5 1/3 innings, with 0.0 BB/9 and 0.0 HR/9 for a 0.20 FIP). Wagner throws even harder than does Carignan and will presumably fill a similar role to Carignan for the A’s.

The other move was the very much so anticipated call up of Ross to become the club’s fifth starter. He gets the ball tonight opposite Dan Haren at Angel Stadium. Ross has two starts for the River Cats under his belt, going just nine innings with four strikeouts, three walks and a home run allowed for a 5.09 FIP.

To make room for Ross on the roster the A’s optioned Cowgill. Cowgill made sense because firstly the A’s had a slew of outfielders, this should open up a smidgen more playing time for Seth Smith, and also because he had options left. In very limited time, Cowgill went 0-for-4 with three walks giving him a very strange .000/.429/.000 slash line across three games. The other option to be demoted was Kila Ka’aihue, but I felt that despite a very small sample size, Ka’aihue is the A’s best hitter in the early going and designating him for assignment would be a political and optics nightmare for such a weak hitting club. Furthermore, the A’s invested something in Ka’aihue, acquiring him for fringe prospect Ethan Hollingsworth and it seems that they should see more about what they have in him prior to dumping him. At this point it also is possible Brandon Allen could clear waivers which might change things for the A’s decision-making going forward.

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