The Oakland A’s might have claimed first place for cutdown surprises late Saturday night when they designated DH Jack Cust for assignment.
Cust has hit 84 home runs over the past three seasons for a power-challenged Oakland team. Balancing those homers, however, were 546 strikeouts and the A’s decided to go a different direction. Longtime third baseman Eric Chavez will be the primary DH.
"I think it’s messed up," Cust told the San Francisco Chronicle after getting the news. "They’re going to go on 50 at-bats after three years of what I’ve done here? It’s ridiculous. A lot of other guys have had bad springs. This is a joke.
"The fact is, this team has no power and they’ve just released a guy who (averaged 28 homers) the last three years. That’s amazing."
The A’s have 10 days to trade or release Cust or send him outright to the minor leagues. Cust said he’d consider a demotion to the minors so he can get his full $2.65 million salary. A’s general manager Billy Beane is hopeful Cust will agree to be sent down.
"I’ve got to do what’s best for my family, but I’m not going to let (the A’s) just walk all over me," Cust said.
"I’ve busted my butt for them for three years, and I played sporadically this spring and they leave it until the day before the regular season to do this, like they didn’t know what was going on before? And with (center fielder) Coco (Crisp) on the DL (broken pinkie) – I’m not good enough to be one of the 25 guys?"