The Athletics cut their popular all-or-nothing guy on the last day before the regular season. Jack Cust lost his job and apparently thinks it's bogus. But by any account, Cust has been fading over the last three years and with 21 strikeouts in 50 spring appearances, it didn't look like it was getting any better.
Cust has been fun. He really has. He generally had only three outcomes at the plate. He either walked, or he struck out, or he crushed the ball somewhere. But his OPS has gone from .912 in 2007 to .773 in 2009. His WARP has gone from 3.2 in 2007 to 0.4. And while Baseball Prospectus did forecast Cust to rebound a little this year, the A's had seen enough. A lower producing Cust isn't worth the terrible fielding he also provides.
The only bone to pick with this decision is that they really have nothing to back him up with. They are going to go with Chavez as the DH when Chavez hasn't been able to stay healthy for six years. How much will Chavez contribute and for how long? And if Chavez can't cut it, then who will take his place?
It isn't far from likely that this was also a cost cutting move for the Athletics. Perhaps they knew they weren't likely to contend this year and cut some losses. They are certainly one of the most strapped organizations in baseball. But from this perspective, the move seems to make good baseball sense as much as it makes money sense.
It was fun, Mr. Cust.