As much as I’ve hyped Mike Piazza lately, I feel obliged to dedicate another post to yet another status change. Piazza won’t return, now, until he is ready to take on part-time catching duties. The plan is to have him catch two or three games per week and DH the rest. This makes little sense to me. His throwing shoulder still hurts, and after an injury (and considering his age), I’m not sure why the A’s would want him to risk another injury.
It might be that the A’s are down on Jason Kendall, and with their ‘get as many games as you can out of a player until he gets injured and then plug in another player’ type thing they’re doing (as discussed in Jeff Sackman’s The New Inefficiency article) they feel that by playing Piazza at catcher and getting Kendall out of the lineup, the risk of Piazza getting injured is OK to take on with the personnel they have to replace him with, should that happen. I’m just guessing, but that’s about the only thing that makes sense to me. This will help Piazza’s value next year in that he should be catcher eligible (assuming he stays healthy to play enough games), but in the short-term Piazza should be watched carefully. I still think he will be very good when playing, but another injury will remain a possibility.
Again, Piazza should be owned in all leagues while healthy. He might not return now until the All-Star break, though.