By Jason Wojciechowski on December 31, 2011 at 2:25 PM
Last link roundup of the year.
A little Suzuki:
Trading Kurt Suzuki not a front-burner issue for OAK, but the safe money would be on him being dealt sometime between now and July 31, 2012.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 29, 2011
Can't be surprised by this. Suzuki has proved to be solid at best, an ok hitter and seemingly decent defender who hasn't distinguished himself in any phase of the game beyond having a silly nickname ("Zuk"? Really?), but is past the minimum-salary phase of his career. Oakland may not get much for him -- even Trevor Cahill has an argument, at least, that he's above-average for his position -- but almost any prospects they get back are more likely to be stars in 2015 for the A's than Suzuki is.
I wouldn't guess that any of this depends on Derek Norris's readiness, either. I'm sure Billy Beane will be perfectly content to give Bob Melvin a combination of Josh Donaldson and Anthony Recker (and Landon Powell, if he comes back) and tell him to make do for as much of 2012 and 2013 as Norris's development demands.
Jane Lee thinks that the A's need another strong first base option. I don't think she understands what the A's are doing. First, Daric Barton might be really good. (OBP matters!) Second, Brandon Allen might be really good. Third, Chris Carter, who she doesn't even mention, has an outside shot of being able to handle first base and hit really well. Fourth, there's always Kila Ka'aihue. Fifth, the A's aren't winning this year. Why would they need to target a first baseman for 2012 when they have not one, not two, not three, but four reasonable options at the position?
Baseball Oakland rounds up Monte Poole and Tim Kawakami doing their thing. And no, I don't read them. When you make your money by being ignorant and angry, why would I want to be part of that?
Grant Brisbee, by contrast, has a far more nuanced take than Poole appears capable of by way of response. In particular, he notes that the A's "craven, cynical" motives (those aren't scare-quotes) can co-exist with sound baseball reasons.
This is a really interesting, long post by grover at Free Kraut about the A's budget, spending caps for international players and the draft, and what's left out on the market for the A's to spend the money that they have to spend without drawing the ire of other MLB owners, the MLBPA, et al. The upshot is: the A's should sign Jorge Soler, the young Cuban outfielder that I mentioned in the last edition of this roundup. Obviously, any time you're dealing with money matters in MLB, you have to make a lot of assumptions and educated guesses because very little is public, certainly as to budgets, revenue sharing, and so forth. Pieces leak out here and there, but there are error bars around all that information. Take it for what you will, in other words, but I don't see anything that jumps out as obviously objectionable.
In ex-A's news, here's Greg Stanwood's 2011 review of Mark Ellis. He gives Ellis a B-.
Dave Cameron reviews the bargain-heap starting pitchers from last year, noting that Brandon McCarthy was "probably the single best free agent signing last winter."
I tell you what, nothing like the nonsense going on at Athletics Nation ever happens here.
(Mainly because there's no question about democracy or any of that here. I rule with an iron fist.)