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09/14/09 8:30 PM ET

Inbox: Is Suzuki's rep well-earned?

A's beat reporter Mychael Urban fields fans' questions

I love Kurt Suzuki's arm and his bat, but I don't understand why he gets so much credit for his game calling. If he was that good at it, wouldn't the young pitchers have better numbers?
-- Jim R., Danville, Calif.

Andrew Bailey's a young pitcher. He has good numbers. Why? Because he hits his spots.

On the other hand, you have young pitchers such as Trevor Cahill, who frequently misses his spots. That's why he's allowed 26 homers this year.

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.