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Dallas McPherson to provide “insurance” for A’s in 2010.

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And they’re definitely going to need it.

With third baseman Eric Chavez not expected to return to the field because of lingering effects from a second microdiscetomy surgery, the Athletics signed the 29-year-old McPherson to a minor league contract, complete with an invitation to Spring Training.

Ironically McPherson, once a heralded prospect in the Anaheim Angels’ organization, missed both the 2007 and 2009 seasons because of lower back injuries.

McPherson burst onto the prospect landscape in 2000 after a dominating college campaign at South Carolina’s Citadel. Anaheim drafted him in the second round of the 2001 draft (57th overall) and immediately sent him to the short season Pioneer League. McPherson obliterated the competition, hitting .395 with a .605 slugging percentage in just 31 games.

McPherson took off from there, excelling at each step of the organizational ladder. By 2004, he was one of the game’s best third base prospects and the logical successor to Anaheim’s Troy Glaus.

In 2005, McPherson was given the chance to win the third base job when Glaus opted for free agency and signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. McPherson stumbled and was never able to replicate his prodigious minor league power. His season was truncated because of a hip injury, the first notice of a disturbing trend that has earmarked McPherson’s career thus far.

With the dynamic Chone Figgins forcing his way into the lineup at third base, McPherson found himself out of the Angel’s plans in 2006. He spent most of the season toiling in Triple A and played in just 40 games with Angels, where he once again struggled to make consistent contact.

Because of a bulging disc in his lower back, McPherson underwent vertebrae fusion surgery at the end of the season.

He missed all of 2007. He was released by the club eight days before Christmas.

In 2008, a 27-year-old McPherson signed a minor league deal with the Florida Marlins worth $500,000. The power that had tantalized big league scouts returned, and a shot at the team’s major league roster seemed imminent. In 127 games with the Albuquerque Isotopes, McPherson led the Pacific Coast League with 42 homeruns and batted .275, drove in 98 runs, and scored 94 more.

It seemed like McPherson had gone from big-time prospect, to nothing, to big-time (albeit, highly suspicious) prospect once again.

But just like that, McPherson was nonchalantly released.

And after another year lost to injuries, we, the baseball consuming public, find ourselves talking about Dallas McPherson once again.

There’s no denying that McPherson is a special player when he’s healthy: twice in his prolonged minor league career he’s clubbed 40 homeruns in a season; four times he’s posted slugging percentages over .600.

But the truth is, McPherson’s rarely healthy. To honestly promote him as an insurance policy for Eric Chavez…well, it’s like saying, “In 2010, the Oakland Athletics will be replacing egg shells with balsa wood.”

It’s hard to figure out exactly what the Oakland Athletics are hoping to get from this signing. Whatever it is, it’s almost certain to be an even mixture of promise and disappointment with a splash of unreliable.

The Athletics need an insurance policy for their insurance policy.

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  1. […] Adrian Cardenas L/R 6-0 185 10/10/87 76 Grant Green R/R 6-3 180 09/27/87 18 Dallas McPherson L/R 6-4 225 07/23/80 2 Gregorio Petit R/R 5-10 200 12/10/84 28 Eric Sogard L/R 5-10 180 05/22/86 73 […]


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