By Jason Wojciechowski on January 20, 2012 at 6:00 PM
David Wishinsky does not like the Gomes signing / Allen trade rumors, and launches from them into a larger look at Oakland's supposed rebuilding plan.
This is the second time I've seen Nico mention that the A's are "using two roster spots for one lineup position" as if that's some big damning thing. What else are you supposed to use roster spots for? They're a scarce resource, but is having a "true" fourth outfielder in that spot rather than a platoon somehow more valuable?
I guess the A's are interested in Manny Ramirez. I don't really know how this would work. He'd miss the first 50 games of the season, which would presumably be Chris Carter time at DH. But then if Chris Carter does well? You're prepared to send him down at that point? If he's hitting, say, .370/.500? And if both Carter and Barton are playing well? (I'm working under the assumption that Brandon Allen is traded and Kila Ka'aihue is in AAA, as he probably should be.) So you don't even have the option of moving Carter to first? An extra bat is an extra bat, so maybe you trade away Jonny Gomes at that point and just deal with Manny's defense in left on occasion. Is Manny signing up to potentially be a part-time player?
I don't know how it all fits. I do know that a lot of A's fans are going to be mad (and it'll be interesting to see how the high-handed moral crowd gets mad at signing Manny for entirely different reasons than the "play the kids" crowd gets mad), some number are going to be happy, and the rest of us are going to wait to see how it all shakes out.
It certainly doesn't make much difference on the 40-man roster. Pedro Figueroa can go. Adrian Cardenas can probably go. Sean Doolittle can probably go. There's room for cuts, even without considering a Brandon Allen trade for someone who's not on the forty.
And for what it's worth, while I'm not mad per se, I'm not entirely happy with the prospect of burying Carter, either. You can whine about how he "didn't make adjustments" all you want, but he's basically had a month in one year and some scattered ABs in another to make those adjustments. Maybe you're supposed to make them more quickly than that, but "didn't make adjustments" sounds to me like nonsense talk for "hit badly in a small sample," especially when that's talk coming from outside, not from scouts or FOTs (front-office types, to steal a Will Carrollism) inside baseball.
Also, do have a look at his PITCHf/x charts. If you can see a pattern of being consistently busted inside with fastballs, as is a claim I've heard as the knock on him, then you're better at this than I am.
Nico has a look at the "service clock" issue with the A's young starters, which I think is a valuable thing to do. It's easy to jump and say "no wait we'll lose them to free agency," but 2015 isn't actually so far off, even for Jarrod Parker and Brad Peacock, if they start in the rotation this season. Sure, the A's would "burn" their minimum-salary years on non-competitive teams, but they'll still be under team control into the window Beane is aiming for. Further, Brett Anderson, Sonny Gray, A.J. Cole, and a variety of less certain options (not that Gray is all that certain to be a starter, but compared to, say, Raul Alcantara? You get my point) are also still going to be around.
Further, if the A's really are competitive in 2015, the plan is for that to coincide with the opening of a new stadium and new revenue streams that will allow them to be more flexible, more able to pay Parker, Peacock, and Milone their arbitration salaries (or long-term contracts they've signed in the meantime) while still being able to afford the last year of Brett Anderson's deal and whatever else arises in the meantime. (Daric Barton's contract, say, since he's sure to finish his transformation into John Olerud this year.)
David Fung has a graphical look at the A's window for contention. You do have to know the quality of the players for yourself, and he ends the sentence at the top of the graphic with a preposition, but it's pretty cool.
This Richard Justice piece from interviews with Billy Beane and David Forst confuses me. It makes no attempt to answer the question of how the recent moves (Colon, Smith, Gomes) fit with the earlier ones (Cahill, Gonzalez, Bailey). I'm not even against the moves, but I would love to know, to the extent the front office can be open about this stuff, the operating theory for 2012 -- a lack of belief in Michael Taylor and Collin Cowgill seems to be part of it, and we can speculate on how Oakland feels about alienating a fanbase that has an easy alternative just across the Bay (as opposed to, say, Mariners fans -- where are they going to go?), but every quote I've seen is platitudes and repeated statements about mediocrity. I trust that there's a theory. I just want to know what it is.
Summer Anne Burton disses whoever got the Dallas Braden perfect game tattoo, which is totally wrong. That tattoo is boss.