It's extremely difficult for anyone on the outside -- i.e., fans and media -- to effectively critique a catcher's ability to call a game. We don't know exactly what Suzuki is calling, or where he's asking the pitch to be. And it's certainly not his fault if a pitcher makes a location mistake.
Thus, on such matters I always defer to the pitchers themselves, and they seem to think Suzuki calls a very good game.
You recently blogged about a potential lineup for 2010, and it didn't include Scott Hairston because he's eligible for arbitration. You don't really think they'd non-tender him, do you? They gave up three pitchers for the guy, and he's still pretty young and relatively inexpensive.
-- Alex C, Portland, Ore.
I don't think they'll non-tender him, no. And I think he's a pretty good player. I'm just not convinced he fits into the grand scheme of things, so I wouldn't be surprised if he got moved in the offseason.
He'd be a nice complementary player on a team looking for a solid, versatile outfielder to help get it over the top, and with a strong finishing kick this season, Hairston might fetch even better prospects than the pitchers the A's gave up to get him.
I noticed that Travis Buck wasn't in your prospective 2010 lineup. I thought you were high on him. Have you changed your mind?
-- Jill T., Oakland
Not at all. I still think Travis is going to be an above-average big league outfielder. But based on what we've seen this year in terms of the club's apparent attitude toward him, I left him out of the lineup. He's another guy who could be moved, and I think he'd bring decent value.
Buck might need a change of scenery. Something has fractured the relationship here, and it might not be something either side is wild about mending.
Will Ryan Sweeney win a Gold Glove this year?
-- Donald M., Sunnyvale, Calif.
He deserves one, but I doubt it. He's on a bad team, and he's on a West Coast team. That's a tough couple of hurdles to climb on the way to national recognition. Just ask Mark Ellis.
Is Daric Barton ever going to be a quality Major Leaguer?
-- Benjamin A., Lafayette, Calif.
I guess that depends on your definition of "quality." He's already an above-average defensive first baseman, and I've seen some baby steps of progress offensively since he came off the disabled list. So I'll say yes. Not All-Star quality, but not a "Quadruple-A" guy, either.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.