Blogging the Offseason: Oakland A's

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Blogging the Offseason is a 30 team series in which I ask a blogging representative from each MLB team a series of ten questions about their desires and thoughts surrounding the offseason. Check out all of them here.

Today's AL team is the Oakland A's and our guest is Nico from the A's Blog, Athletic's Nation.

1. The A's essentially completed a three team trade last year in which they rented Matt Holliday for 3 months in between the deals. What pieces from the Cardinals will make you forget about trading away Huston Street and mostly Carlos Gonzalez?
That piece would be Brett Wallace, as he could potentially fill the biggest void in the A's system: 3B. But while no one questions Wallace's ability to hit, many question his ability to stick at 3B. If he can't make it as a 3Bman the trades are unlikely to work in the A's favor long-term, especially given that Carlos Gonzalez is a 5-tool talent who has already begun to show it. Yet if Wallace can provide a solution for Oakland for as long as 2 seasons, the A's could still come out smiling in the end, despite a series of trades most A's fans didn't like much then and don't like much now.

2. The 2010 Oakland A's rotation will consist of whom? Will anybody be above the age of 27?
The front runners, at the moment, should be:
Dallas Braden
Brett Anderson
Trevor Cahill
Gio Gonzalez
Vin Mazzaro

but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the A's acquire, though trade or free agency, a veteran pitcher who can both give the rotation some experience and also allow Cahill or Mazzaro to begin the season at AAA.

3. Looking at your roster I'm seeing a team in 2010 that will have an extremely difficult times scoring runs. Who is going to be your 1-5 hitters?
Guys who would be 5-9 hitters on a better offensive club. Best guess is that in April it will look like:
Rajai Davis
Ryan Sweeney
Jack Cust
Eric Chavez
Kurt Suzuki

but by July it could well look more like:
Rajai Davis
Ryan Sweeney
Brett Wallace
Chris Carter
Kurt Suzuki

4. Do you expect anything from Eric Chavez ever again or are you just resigned to the fact that Billy Beane gave an extension to the wrong guy?
Both. I'm in the minority of A's fans who believe that (barring an acquisition that hasn't yet happened) Eric Chavez will be the A's Opening Day 3Bman in 2010. They're paying the guy for another season and he'll have had an entire offseason to feel as good as he can feel. I don't expect Chavez to hold up for more than a few weeks, though. I think he'll break for good around May and the Brett Wallace, or Adrian Cardenas -- or someone else -- era will begin.

5. For those of us East Coasters who didn't see much of Andrew Bailey in 09, what made him so good in his rookie season? Do you think he will morph into an elite closer or more of a middle of the pack Bobby Jenks type of closer?
What made Bailey so good was that he was aggressive/confident in the strike zone early in the count, and he had a true "swing-through" pitch in the cutter. Will he be an elite closer? That's hard to say, because Bailey isn't as good as he pitched in 2009 -- only Mariano Rivera actually is that good. Bailey wasn't even that highly touted in the minors -- but then again, for most of that time he wasn't in the bullpen and didn't have the cutter. I do think Bailey is a very good relief pitcher, but I also think in fairness he needs to excel for another season before being dubbed "that good."

6. What is going on with the A's Stadium story? I recently read an article that stated the owners only want to move to downtown San Jose. Will this happen? What would be the typical A's fans reaction if they move out of Oakland?
The city of Oakland has been less than enthusiastic about trying to keep the A's, and the A's attendance has been truly disappointing, so it's not surprising that Lew Wolff and company have made a play for San Jose. I still think there's a good chance that when the "last hour" comes, Oakland will get back in the conversation. I also think that if San Jose is a go "but for the Giants' territorial rights," the A's will wind up in San Jose. In my opinion, Oakland, not the Giants, will determine where the A's end up.

7. I'm giving Billy Beane an endless checkbook. Which 3 free agents does he bring in?
This isn't the greatest free agent class, but I'd think a solid 3 for the "2010 and beyond" A's would be:
Matt Holliday (I was pretty underwhelmed the first time around, but he's still a very good player)
Adrian Beltre
John Lackey

8. Which A's prospect are fans most looking forward to in 2010 and beyond?
Probably Chris Carter. The guy had an incredible 2009 season in AA-AAA and looks to have, potentially, the "monster-power" (40HR) A's fans keep waiting for someone to bring. Due to his defensive ability, Adrian Cardenas is arguably a better prospect, but Carter is the one everyone can't wait to see.

9. I'm giving Billy Beane the option to cut players without any salary repercussions, is there anybody on the roster he parts ways with?
Actually, most of the roster is being paid league minimum or close to it. The only albatross is Chavez, now that Crosby is gone. Can we cut Crosby even though he's a free agent -- just for fun?

10. Final Question, you've got a crystal ball, the A's will win the West in ________.
2011. I think this team has been built for 2011 all along and that 2011-14 will be seasons the A's are either contenders and/or "the team to beat." Maybe it comes together a year later than expected and the A's don't reclaim the AL West until 2012. But I think 2011 has been the idea all along and that's the year I'm targeting for the A's return to the top of the AL West.

Posted by Simon at 10:08 AM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!

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