Few heard about this and even fewer cared, but we lost my favorite proto-Athletic yesterday when Oakland traded a minor league infielder you’ve never heard of for a minor league pitcher you’ll never hear of. I had high hopes for Stephen Parker when was drafted out of BYU in the fifth round of the 2009 Draft, and those hopes looked to be well-founded when he hit 296/.392/.508 with 21 home runs for High-A Stockton in 2010. Parker stalled out shortly thereafter, however, with an OPS under .800 in the last two seasons. It didn’t help that since he was drafted, the A’s have added Miles Head, Addison Russel, Scott Sizemore and Jed Lowrie to the organization, as well as converted Josh Donaldson from catcher to third base, all of whom would seem to have a lead on Parker in the race for starting third baseman. Yesterday’s trade was the final nail in the coffin that houses my dreams of a Mormon successor to Eric Chavez. Sorry to see you go, Brother Parker. If you make the major league squad in Milwaukee, feel free to assume that Bernie Brewer is sliding into a giant pool of cream soda after every home run.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to look far to find a new vessel for all my latter-day hopes and dreams. Brother Shane Peterson, formerly of the Temecula California Stake, initially thought to be a meaningless throw-in to the Matt Holliday trade (and now the only piece of that trade still in the organization), has quietly become kind of awesome. After extremely solid stints in Midland and Sacramento last season, Peterson is hitting .409/.469/.659 this spring, and is even being brought into the team’s versatility kick by taking reps at first base in addition to his regular outfield role. He’s creating a buzz for the first time in his professional career, and that buzz would be a lot louder on a team without an outfield depth chart with more names than its pitching staff.
And I was all set to declare Peterson my favorite Mormon potential-Athletic, until a quick Google search and this incredibly reliable-looking website told me that Peterson conducts regular locker room devotionals with Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard. Is it a coincidence that all three are among Oakland’s five highest performers in this season’s meaningless, meaningless Spring Training stats? Yes, probably. On the other hand, I’m sure it doesn’t hurt spring training performance to run and not be weary and walk and not faint, and it is entirely possible that Billy Beane has found that scripture mastery and temple recommends are the new market inefficiencies. Go get ‘em, Brethren.
(By the way, Shane? Assuming you’re the sort of vainglorious athlete that Googles himself on a regular basis and as such makes a practice of reading posts on obscure blogs read by no one? I’m a very, very close friend of your buddy Chris Crall, and as such I feel like you and I are pretty much best friends already and would totally have a great time hanging out in the Oakland locker room with the rest of the team and I’d be thrilled to set you up as a fireside speaker or something the next time you’re in the Los Angeles area and that’s all thanks.)