Where do you see Jemile Weeks at the start of next season? Will he work hard enough on his game to be a starter and be more consistent in doing so?
-- Mike P., Danville, Ky.
There's no questioning Weeks' work ethic. It's obviously there, and the slip in his performance last season seems to derive from a few early-season tweaks in his game he's now having a hard time reversing. Recall Weeks' rookie campaign and he wasn't really trying to do too much, other than put the ball in play. This year, he hit a couple of home runs in the early goings and, as a result, maybe began swinging a little bigger and putting the ball in the air. That resulted in far too many fly-ball outs, and his numbers obviously dipped.
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That being said, if Weeks proves he's made the adjustments necessary to earn an everyday job in the big leagues this spring, he has a decent shot at getting one -- though it'll take a weak showing from Scott Sizemore for that to happen. Sizemore is clearly viewed as the top second-base option at the moment, but he, too, has plenty to prove, having not seen Major League action in a year after undergoing knee surgery last spring. With that in mind, Sizemore will also have to assure the A's that his knee is no longer of concern. Should he fare well in camp, I expect him to start at second base, with Weeks back in Triple-A waiting for the phone to ring again.
What was the thought process of Graham Godfrey going to the Red Sox? He was the player to be named later in a deal that never really happened.
-- Joe L., Roanoke, Va.
For those unfamiliar with the peculiar case of the Godfrey trade, the righty was indeed the player to be named in a deal that the transaction wire shows did take place but never amounted to anything for the A's, who received reliever Sandy Rosario in return, only to designate him for assignment to make room on the roster for another reliever, Chris Resop. The A's must really like Resop, and they obviously didn't envision a big role for Godfrey, other than as organizational depth. Godfrey has always posted tremendous numbers in the Minors but has simply been overmatched in each of his big league stints. The A's have plenty of arms in their system, most of which ranked above Godfrey on the depth chart, making him expendable.
I loved the deal for Chris Resop. He is a workhorse who will give Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle the rest they both need. In my mind, the A's bullpen looks better for 2013 than it did in 2012. Is Oakland a dominant closer short of having the best bullpen in baseball though?
-- Craig J., Palmerston North, New Zealand
I think everyone in the A's front office will tell you they have one already. Though he endured a short stretch of struggles early in the season, Grant Balfour was as effective as you could have hoped for the majority of the time, particularly down the stretch. To want more from him seems a little greedy, and if you look at Balfour's numbers over the past few seasons, you'll find them to be among the most consistent in the league.
Moving Michael Ynoa to the 40-man roster protected him from the Rule 5 Draft. However, he has a history of injuries and will only be in Class A next year. Do you think a team would have picked him up or were the A's being overly cautious?
-- Chris R., Oakland
It's hard to say whether a team would have taken a chance on him, but the A's obviously didn't want to risk such a possibility. More importantly, they felt it in Ynoa's best interest to keep him on track developmentally rather than allow a situation to arise where his progression would be interrupted in a move to another organization.
We've heard about Yoenis Cespedes' shortstop skills. What other position do you think he could play?
-- Tom G., Chico, Calif.
Something tells me he'd do just fine at any position with time, but I'd particularly love to see what his arm could do on a mound.