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2006 A's, Outlook and Predictions

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2006 A's, Outlook and Predictions

Postby Half Massed » Wed Nov 30, 2005 2:29 am

I figure we can update this thread as the offseason progresses, but I thought it would be good to have one chronicling all our moves, potential and made, strengths, weaknesses, etc. for this offseason and next season. Basically a combination of our other threads with some other stuff thrown in.

To start, with the Loaiza move, we have effectively cornered the market on starting pitching. Should we do nothing, we'll have the best rotation in baseball. Should we deal Zito, our rotation doesn't get any worse than last years as Zito and Loaiza are comparable and we hopefully get a big bat. Loaiza will help ease our other young guys workload and gives us a veteran presence on the staff.

Weakness-wise, at this point, is our bullpen, and that isn't a big weakness by any means. Street should be gold next year, and for the rest of the bullpen, we could use another lefty, but are strong in long relief. Flores could handle the lefty specialist position, and even if Duke falls back some, the bullpen can take the hit. Not to mention having five starters that can go deep into games will give the pen some good rest.

Our team for next year, at this point, looks something like this:

OFFENSE (UPDATED: 1/25/05)
Kotsay - CF
Ellis - 2B
Chavez - 3B
Thomas - DH
Crosby - SS
Bradley - LF
Swisher- RF
Johnson - 1B
Kendall - C

Important Bench: Payton?, Perez,

The lineup is probably not right, I didn't put too much thought into it, the point is who's in it, not the order.

STARTING ROTATION (UPDATED:)
Zito
Harden
Haren
Loaiza
Blanton
Saarloos/Kennedy as 6th starters, and throw Rheinecker/Meyer in the mix for the 5th starter spot should Zito get traded.

Our bullpen is looking very nice other than a lack of a lefty specialist, who I assume we'll get.

BULLPEN (UPDATED:)
Saarloos
Kennedy
(Lefty specialist?)
Witasick
Duchscherer
Calero
Street

That looks like a fine bullpen to me if you throw in a lefty specialist.

Prediction-wise, I see a better year for Loaiza than he had last year, and I'll stick by that. He's more comfortable in the AL, is in a great park for him, plus he's had some great reviews by NL pitchers last year (including Mulder). I think we can take the West unless the Angels really load up offensively, and even then I think we'll be in the race. I think Thomas will stay pretty healthy and log around 350-400 ABs.

I really like the Bradley trade. Ethier, albeit a fine prospect, was not worth Bradley AND Perez. We got a great deal without giving up too much. While it may go against Beane's usual philosophy by trading for the now, so did signing Loaiza. Beane is showing that he thinks we can win this year, and is willing to get the missing piece or two to make that happen. It's a great message for the fans and makes the team stronger as well. Bradley is a great guy for the #2 hole, however Beane may bat him in the 3rd or 5th spot given the lack of other righty power bats in the lineup. The thing about Bradley is he brings a great skill package and some emotional baggage. However, I think the A's are great fit and that his emotional issues will not come into play very much. Jose Guillen fit in well, remember? Perez as a throw-in is just icing on the cake. He has a good bat for a MI and is great to have off the bench and as a backup in case Crosby or Ellis injure themselves.

The Thomas signing: Absolutely perfect. We get a difference maker for super cheap. When healthy, he's the savior righty power bat we've been looking for. The key, of course, is "when healthy." However, given our now super flexibility and depth, we can afford him some injury time. Pretty much every position is backed up with a quality player. Perez at IF, Swisher/Johnson at first/DH, Payton in the OF, Saarloos/Kennedy in the rotation. I'm loving this team. My statement that we'll win the WS is even better supported now. The team is looking towards the short-term, as this signing shows, and I think we've got what it takes! ;-D ;-D

Any thoughts, comments, predictions, analysis, etc. you have on the A's, now and in the future, this is the thread for it.
Last edited by Half Massed on Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby RynMan » Wed Nov 30, 2005 4:06 am

I think your analysis is spot on HM.

Have a read of this:

http://www.insidebayarea.com/sports/ci_3261224

Interesting part about Beane contacting the agent for Nomar and Thomas. :-?

But as you said, the starting pitching depth here is fantastic. I truly believe that one of (not the sole reason) that Beane got in early and signed Loaiza was to, as you said, also corner the market for starting pitching.....which the A's happen to have alot of. I would imagine he is going to be very popular next week at the Winter Meetings, and it wouldn't shock me to see a deal get done.

Kotsay - CF
Ellis - 2B
Crosby - SS
Chavez - 3B
Payton - LF
Kielty - DH
Swisher - RF
Kendall - C
Johnson - 1B

This looks right to me. But Kielty is not going to DH. He can't. He is a 4th outfielder. I think we are getting one through trade (not Zito, unless the package is similar to the Mulder deal in value) for someone like Craig Wilson, or a guy like Thomas for a 1 year deal...although that maybe a stretch.

Zito
Harden
Haren
Loaiza
Blanton
Saarloos/Kennedy as 6th starters, and throw Rheinecker/Meyer in the mix for the 5th starter spot should Zito get traded.

That is a sensational rotation. I think Saarloos' stats are bound to be worse next year as his BABIP was far too low, although being on a very good defensive team like the A's, he can benefit. The only part of your post HM that I would disagree with is that I don't think Loaiza will have as good a year in 06 as 05. I think he was a product of RFK, although I realise McAfee isn't friendly on hitters either. I just find it a little hard to be optimistic. If he posts an ERA in the low 4's (which I think is possible), I will be fine with that. Although I didn't think trading for Jay Payton was a good idea either.....did anyone?? Amazing how people still find a way to criticize Beane.....no1 worships him as if he is a god....simply a very good (excellent) GM.

Saarloos
Kennedy
(Lefty specialist?)
Witasick
Duchscherer
Calero
Street

Very nice. The bottom 4 guys I would expect to cut the games to 5 innings. I expect Witasick to regress a little, however Calero if healthy will be dominant....and we know what Street and Duke are capable of. Throw in Saarloos and Kennedy as long relief options (right and left!) and that is very nice. Rincon had a terrible year so he won't be able to command much at all in FA, so I could see them picking him back up for relatively cheap. If not, is it Flores in the minors that had a nice year? Isn't he a lefty? And where does the Hawaiian Punch Out fit into that mix? Komine I think his name is. He ripped it up during the AFL, which is a heavy hitters league....maybe this year's Huston Street lite?



:-D

Regardless I will keep coming back to this thread as I have more thoughts! Great work HM. I'm excited about the Winter Meetings!!
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Postby Half Massed » Wed Nov 30, 2005 8:08 pm

My reasons for thinking Loaiza does as good or better than last year is all the smaller factors. McAfee is more tailored to his type of pitching and the defense in Oakland is better than in Washington so that should cut down on some hits. He has amazing control, so cutting down on hits will be huge for him. He's also more comfortable with the AL than the NL and knows the hitters/parks better. Don't forget that he's familiar with Kendall as he worked with him for a long time (I think it was something like 5 years, or around there at least). I just think all the small things are there for him to have a great year. Of course how well he takes advantage of these favorable aspects remains to be seen.
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Postby AmishRakeFight2005 » Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:05 pm

I'm curious why Zito keeps getting mentioned in trade talks other than he is in the final year of his contract..yada yada.

It would have been a smart move to get Petit from the Mets if he had been offered. However I still dont' think the A's got their money's worth from Tim Hudson last year therefore they should hold onto Zito. If he walks in the offseason then they get back a first rounder in the draft as compensation. So as long as the A's are in contetion hold him. If by the trade deadline they are out move him...although at that point his value may or may not be where it is now.

Damn...I hate when I talk myself into a circle :~(
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Postby RynMan » Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:39 pm

Yeah his value is at its absolute highest right now, and Billy is probably going to get some solid offers for him at the winter meetings. I'm counting down til the meetings to see what he does. I think unless he gets a fantastic package, he will hold off trading Zito, and package a few lesser starters for a solid bat.
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Postby Half Massed » Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:40 pm

We could get more out of Zito than we did Hudson mainly because we're dealing from a position of strength with Zito. Everybody knew we couldn't keep Hudson and needed to trade him last year, but this year we really don't need to trade Zito and may even be able to keep him, so teams will have to give more to get him.

It really depends on whether or not we can keep him and how much we need him. We may be able to sign or trade for a cheap bat this year and work a deal with Zito next year, but we could definitely get a higher profile bat and some good prospects with Zito if we trade him.

There's pros and cons to trading him, so in my mind Beane won't actively shop him, but will listen to offers. Should he get a really sweet deal, then I have no problem trading him, but otherwise, don't force something, you know?
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Postby AmishRakeFight2005 » Sat Dec 03, 2005 8:55 pm

True.

I don't know about you guys but I'm really excited about a full season of Dan Johnson. I love this guy. I want to get one of those jersey shirts...the ones with the Oakland on the front and the Johnson 11 on the back. My wife is digging around for one.

Nick Swisher is the balls. Joe Blanton...man I'm so excited for this upcoming season.

Last season I saw the Sox-A's series out here in Boston. I wore my Zito jersey and nearly got my ass beat. People pelted me with shiit, it was great. Got my tix for next year today! WHOOOAAA!!!
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Postby RynMan » Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:40 am

I wish I could goto A's games :,-(

I wish I could buy reasonably priced merchandise!!! :,-(

Good old ebay!
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Postby AmishRakeFight2005 » Sun Dec 04, 2005 8:58 am

RynMan wrote:I wish I could goto A's games :,-(

I wish I could buy reasonably priced merchandise!!! :,-(

Good old ebay!


A few of my friends go in with each other on season tickets to the Sox and I buy up all their A's series games. July 13-16 FOUR GAMES!!

I don't like the unbalanced schedule now because they only come out here once. When the Expos were in Montreal I was praying for Oakland to come out for Interleague play but no luck no Les Expos are gone. RIP Youppi.
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Postby Half Massed » Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:28 pm

I guess I'm the lucky one... I live like 20 or so minutes away from the stadium. When the season starts, I'll go for you guys. :-D
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