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2007 Oakland A's, Outlook and Predictions

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2007 Oakland A's, Outlook and Predictions

Postby Half Massed » Mon Nov 20, 2006 12:07 am

Well it's about that time of year again. It was a good season overall for the Oakland Athletics of the East Bay via Fremont by San Jose of California, or whatever their new name will be in a few years. The A's season ended later than in any year since 1992, but it wasn't enough to win the World Series. We lost what every team thinks is all they need to compete (a top of the rotation starter and a cleanup hitter), but we replaced it with a solid bat and in-house starter potential. A down-grade perhaps, but, health allowing, not too much of one.

As of now (UPDATED: 4/4/07) the 2007 lineup looks like this:

C: Jason Kendall (Kendall)
1B: Nick Swisher (Dan Johnson)
2B: Mark Ellis (Ellis)
SS: Bobby Crosby (Crosby)
3B: Eric Chavez (Chavez)
LF: Travis Buck/Bobby Kielty (Swisher)
CF: Milton Bradley (Mark Kotsay)
RF: Shannon Stewart (Bradley)
DH: Mike Piazza (Piazza)
Bench: Scutaro, Melhuse, (Kielty), (Stewart)

Most guys returned. We could see some of Jeremy Brown and Daric Barton next year. Brown did well in his limited time, which is a nice sign. Obviously, losing Frank Thomas' production is painful, but letting him go was the right decision. A healthy lineup with that bat could be all the A's need. The injury bug has struck early and often right at the beginning of the season for the A's. I put the guys who would play the position when everyone's healthy in parenthesis.

Travis Buck is an exciting development for the A's. It looks like he'll be taking the majority of the playing time in left while Kotsay and Johnson are out. The question is whether or not he'll stay on the team once everyone's healthy. I'd rather him get sent down to AAA (unless he's really raking), rather than be our 6th OF. Maybe Johnson won't get the job and Swisher will stay at 1B, but that's unlikely.

The offense is not a strong point for the A's, but it's not a terribly weak point either. Everyone can put together good ABs and get on base. The trouble is hitting with RISP.

Pitching-wise, the A's look something like this (UPDATED 4/4/07):

ROTATION:
Rich Harden
Dan Haren
Joe Blanton
Chad Gaudin (Esteban Loaiza)
Joe Kennedy

BULLPEN:
Huston Street
Justin Duchscherer
Kiko Calero
Jay Witasick
Brad Halsey
Alan Embree
Jay Marshall

Zito is overrated, and his best quality is dependability. I don't think he's really a true ace, albeit a fine guy to have in the rotation. With Loazia down, Gaudin is getting the chance to start, which I think could turn out positively for the A's. The A's pitching prospects are decent but unspectacular. Joe Kennedy won the 5th starter job with a horrible spring, so it remains to see how he'll do in the role. Until Loaiza gets back there are no other real options (Halsey?), so he'll have some time. As a whole, I like the A's rotation. Harden and Haren are a top class 1-2 punch, and the rest of the guys are solid and dependable.

The bullpen is the A's real strength. Duke is a top set up man and Street has shown that he can be a top closer as well. Calero may have better stuff than Duke, and we have a plethora of lefties who can get batters out. There's a strong mix of experience (Embree) and inexperience (Marshall) that balances out well. After Harden and Haren, all the A's need to do is get to the 6th inning and hand it over. Obviously, this wouldn't work every night, but having a bullpen you can fall back on is a major strength. As long as the bullpen is managed well (unlike throwing an unwarmed-up Calero out there instead of a warmed-up Duke last night), we should see many late-inning 0's on the opponent's side of the scoreboard.

So despite the 0-2 start, it's a long season and one the A's are geared up to handle. Despite the massive amounts of injuries, the A's depth is handling it, and should hold steady until we're at full capacity. Should be a fun season! ;-D

Let me know if I'm missing anything.
Last edited by Half Massed on Wed Apr 04, 2007 4:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby RynMan » Wed Nov 22, 2006 6:50 am

Nice write up HM.

I can't see Billy signing another starter, there doesn't seem to be a reason. When Padilla can honestly ask with a straight face, for 4 years 40 million, the market is way out. I think Kennedy would make a fine replacement in that 5th spot. Saarloos and him could probably switch time in there. If Harden is healthy, that rotation is just as good as it was last year. I see a bounce back from Blanton (he did exactly what I thought he would do this year), and Haren striding forward a great deal this year. Loazia should be about the same.

My biggest interest is who the DH will be. The A's have some cash to spend yeah? Although alot of people would be unhappy, I'd love to see Bonds DH'ing for us. Man, that changes the lineup drastically. Bonds not having to play the field would be huge for his health.

If Barry wasn't an option - I think we should go out and sign Craig Wilson. He won't be expensive, plus he can play the OF, 1B, DH and has some pop, along with a nice OBP. Even if you platoon him and Johnson, I think he could be a nice addition.

Any other ideas for a DH? I'm convinced that the A's will make at least one mid-range signing this offseason....
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Postby Half Massed » Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:47 pm

Despite his problems, Bonds would make a great addition to the lineup. The Oakland fans would be able to accept him as well. Craig Wilson is a possibility, but with the money the A's have freed up after losing Zito, I'd think we'd go for something more. I think Bonds could be a definite option.
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Postby greenandgold » Wed Nov 22, 2006 6:40 pm

It would be quite a statement about Bonds career if he left the plush confines and loving fans of Pac-Bell park to head across the bay and play in an empty football stadium. At least the A's could get some sellouts when he gets close to the number and SF fans can still watch. Still I don't see Bonds as a good fit but stranger things have happened.

I really don't like Thomas leaving, without him the A's don't make the playoffs last year. As always, it is best to see how these things play out. Last year everyone was shocked at the Loaiza signing and thought it was dumb but it seems a good value in todays market. I hope he can pitch like he did at the end of last season!
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Postby Afan4Life » Mon Nov 27, 2006 9:05 pm

Great post HM.

I do think the A's will miss Zito because of his sheer dependability but theres no way they'll be able to pay what Boras will demand. He may never have another Cy Young year (though hes certainly capable) but the guy has never missed a start, hes a clubhouse leader, and hes a big-game pitcher (minus the 06 ALCS). Plus, hes just a quality guy that I loved rooting for. He'll be missed.

Mulder is an intriguing option though.

I have mixed feelings about Bonds. I really couldn't root for him but they have to replace Big Frank somehow. I don't know.

Itll be interesting to see how the offseason goes.

Talk to you guys soon. Don't forget the draft starts Sat.
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Postby quiksilver » Tue Nov 28, 2006 3:46 am

I've heard the A's have interest in Cliff Floyd. I'm not sure if they'd go for him AND Payton, or if he's just a backup plan in case Payton commands too much money. Regardless, coming off another injury-laden season the A's could offer a contract full of incentives similar to what they did with Thomas last offseason. I wouldn't mind Floyd, he's a risk but he's got some pop.
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Postby Half Massed » Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:11 pm

I've heard some talk about Piazza, and Bonds talks have seemed to quiet down. Wily Mo is a legitimate option now that the Sox signed Drew. So there's some possibilities out there for the A's.
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Postby Half Massed » Wed Apr 04, 2007 4:55 pm

Updated for the start of the season. ;-D
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