View Full Version : Spring Training Preview 3/13/05: Oakland Athletics

03-13-2005, 11:31 PM
Oakland Athletics

Key offseason additions:
C Jason Kendall
OF Charles Thomas
RP Juan Cruz
SP Dan Meyer
SP Dan Haren
2B Keith Ginter
RP Kiko Calero
SP Keiichi Yabu

Key offseason losses:
SP Tim Hudson
SP Mark Mulder
SP Mark Redman
RP Arthur Rhodes
OF Jermaine Dye
C Damian Miller
RP Chris Hammond
RP Jim Mecir

General Outlook:
Phew, I'm spent after typing up their list of additions/losses. Seriously, though, they had probably the most active offseason of any team. Billy Beane decided it was time to break up the big 3 and assemble a new young rotation. Only time will tell whether it was the right move by Beane. But for now they will have a much different look. I'm a bit confused by the Kendall move, however. Kendall would fit better on a team looking to upgrade at catcher for a run this year. Instead, Beane traded for him and then shipped the starters who would help him contend this year. There are cheaper, better alternatives for catchers who can work with a young staff. You would think Beane would want his young catchers to work with his young pitchers sooner rather than later. But Kendall still has 3 years left on his contract. For one year, it is a nice move. It just doesn't seem to fit with Beane's long-term plans.

Possible starting lineup:
CF Mark Kotsay
RF Nick Swisher
C Jason Kendall
3B Eric Chavez
DH Erubiel Durazo
2B Keith Ginter
1B Scott Hatteberg
LF Eric Byrnes
SS Bobby Crosby

How exactly their lineup plays out seems to be a guess at this time. Kendall seems like a #1 or #2 hitter, but I believe Macha has mentioned leaning toward batting him 3rd. That would probably push Swisher up to 2nd. Chavez and Durazo would follow and Ginter - assuming he wins the 2B job - could fill the 6th slot to break up the lefties. This is looking like a Billy Beane team. But he failed to address the need for a middle of the order, right-handed hitter which surprises me. Their lineup would be fine with a team that can really pitch. That is the possible problem though as no one knows for sure that this team will have good pitching. Beane is sure banking on it though.

Possibly starting pitching rotation:
Barry Zito
Rich Harden
Dan Haren
Joe Blanton
Dan Meyer

It's weird seeing an A's rotation without Hudson and Mulder. Zito will start Opening Day, but Harden is probably the best pitcher in the rotation right now. Zito should bounce back from a bad 2004 season. That'll be enough to give the A's a solid 1-2. After that, it's all a big question mark. Haren, Meyer and Blanton all have the potential to become good pitchers. But which ones will reach the potential and when they'll fulfill it is anyones guess. I would list Blanton as the pitcher most likely to step up big this year, followed by Haren. Meyer is on the shakiest ground right now as a few poor outings could find him starting the season in AAA with Seth Etherton or Keiichi Yabu taking that #5 spot. I actually think the A's rotation will surprise and keep them more competitive than most people think. Their bullpen is loaded with arms. Dotel will start the season as the closer, though he'll likely be moved at some point. Chad Bradford will miss the first two months, but the A's have plenty of choices for the pen. Kiko Calero, Ricardo Rincon, Juan Cruz and Justin Duchscherer are locks for pen spots. After that Yabu, Jairo Garcia, Huston Street and Tyler Johnson all have shots with Yabu likely to make it. The only weakness here is that the A's will likely only have one lefty. But otherwise, their bullpen is now much deeper and much better than last year.

Overall Prediction:
3rd place; 84-78

Player that will surprise:
SP Joe Blanton - I like both the stuff and the makeup he has. I think one of the three young A's will step up and I expect it to be Blanton. I can see his performance possibly making Zito expendable by the trading deadline, assuming the A's think they are out of contention.

Player that will disappoint:
RP Octavio Dotel - I think Dotel will likely be moved at some point during the season and I think his performance will help facilitate the move. Some team desperate for a closer (read: the Cubs) will gladly take him, even if he struggles.

Your thoughts...

03-14-2005, 12:23 PM
With all the new faces, this is a tough record to predict. Only one thing's for sure . . . this is the year that BB gets to prove (or disprove) his geniousness.

03-14-2005, 12:31 PM
With all the new faces, this is a tough record to predict. Only one thing's for sure . . . this is the year that BB gets to prove (or disprove) his geniousness.

IMHO, I think it will take more then a year to evaluate the trades of Hudson and Mulder. Som of the yonug talent he received isn't going to hit their peak their first season or two in the big leagues. On the flipside. Some of the prospects he received in those trades (was it 6 total?) are bound to not live up to the hype.

There's no doubt this years A's team is weaker then last years. But it looks like Beane is trying to rebuild on the fly and instead of waiting for the draft picks he'd get for Mulder/Hudson after this season he decided to sell high and get high rated prospects.


03-14-2005, 03:38 PM
Nice analysis. I think that Harden really will step up this year and surprise a lot of people. I know they received quality arms in exchange for Mulder and Hudson, but I think it will be another 2 or 3 years before they reach their potential. I say they finish about 80-82.