By Jason Wojciechowski on February 15, 2012 at 7:05 PM
Cespedes' arrival is likely to push Coco Crisp from center field to left, with Josh Reddick in right and Seth Smith potentially getting more at-bats at DH than in the outfield.
I don't know whether that's reporting or informed speculation. As I said (or at least hinted at in the post and flat-out said in the comments to the above-linked post), I don't see this as optimal. However good Coco Crisp will be on defense in left field, I'm not sure the A's aren't better off (right now -- forget about development) with Crisp as the team's fourth outfielder.
Almost everything that can be measured says that the A's will be terrible in 2012, but the problem with that assessment is that there's only so much that can be measured.
Marc Normandin has a Baseball Nation piece about the A's outfield. I'm not terribly worked up about Collin Cowgill likely being even more the odd man out than he was before the Jonny Gomes signing -- maybe the Diamondbacks just didn't know what they had, but Kevin Towers isn't a complete idiot, and he still preferred Gerardo Parra's low-power exploits in left to Cowgill. (Displacing Chris Young and Justin Upton was not in the cards either way.)
Buster Olney observes at ESPN Insider that the A's are looking to 2015.
Jeff Passan calls the A's ballpark "bootleg" at Yahoo, which is pretty funny. More relevantly, he opines that the A's are "almost duty-bound" to sign players like Cespedes if they're going to compete with the Rangers and Angels, which is about right (and exactly why a lot of A's fans have been asking Billy Beane to sign Cespedes in the first place -- check out basically any on-topic thread at Athletics Nation from this off-season). Finally, he has a source saying that Cespedes is likely to start the year in right-field, which runs counter to what Slusser's piece above says. Not that it really alleviates much, since it pushes, as I've discussed, Josh Reddick to either the bench or, more hopefully, left field, causing a chain of complications all the way down.
David Fung puts his graphic skills to use in looking at the A's outfield situation for Athletics Nation. (The page isn't loading for me right now, but hopefully that's just a passing SBN issue.)
I really like Jack Moore's comment at Fangraphs that
Although there are plenty of risks with the signing of a player like Cespedes, marginalizing players like Smith (much less Gomes or Cowgill) is not high on the list. Not when the Athletics so desperately need elite talent.
The Angels didn't worry much about what would happen to Mark Trumbo because they signed Albert Pujols. Hell, the Marlins signed Jose Reyes even though they've already got Hanley Ramirez. And we're worried about what will happen to the at-bats of Seth Smith and Collin Cowgill and Brandon Allen? The Crisp signing, sure. The Smith trade, maybe. The Gomes acquisition, ok. Maybe you can ask why those guys were preferred to younger talent, but you always push aside solid players for elite.
The obvious objection is "but Cespedes is only maybe Jose Reyes and he's really very likely not Albert Pujols." This is true, but he's essentially the A's version of those guys. Reyes and Pujols aren't available to Oakland on the open market, but Cespedes, who might grow up to be some semblance of them, is.
Anyway, Jack's post is good and you should read it.
Bryan Lutz at Rant Sports says that Beane signed Cespedes in order to trade him. That's obviously a possibility for any player on any team depending on how things work out, but I think it's silly to say that Cespedes was signed with the express purpose of being traded for goodies. If he's all he's cracked up to be and some of the other A's youngsters hit the big time, can they really not compete in 2014? What's Josh Hamilton at that point? What's Yu Darvish? Will the Texas farm system graduate enough guys to the majors? Is Dan Haren even going to be in Anaheim? Will Mike Trout pan out or get buried/traded?
The Rangers and Angels look like juggernauts now, is what I'm saying, and they have the money to continue to be juggernauts into the future, but money has a funny way of not being the only consideration in baseball, and players have a way of getting old when they're in their 30s, as many of the stars in Anaheim are.
A later Susan Slusser piece says that the A's "are kicking around" the possibility of Coco Crisp moving to left field, which backs off the earlier language, I think.
Brian Blomster at the Sacramento Bee says the A's might be worth watching now. He also calls Coco Crisp "intriguing," which is a fun description.
Ray Guilfoyle at Fake Teams has a fantasy take on Cespedes.
Nathaniel Jue at Bleacher Report has this, which includes calling Jarrod Parker "scraps." OK.
Peter Gammons, who I forgot writes for MLB.com, defends the consistency of the Gonzalez/Cahill/Bailey trades paired with the Cespedes signing. (He also notes that Beane will be driving to spring training with his dog. Just like Sandy Alderson!) Also fascinating is an excerpt from a scouting report that calls Cespedes's defense "arrogant." I have no idea what that means, but it sounds awesome. He's also "not flamboyant off the field," which ... I dunno, man. That's a pretty borderline word to be applying to a Cuban player, isn't it?
Also, it wouldn't be a Peter Gammons column without a completely non sequitur Bob Dylan reference, would it?
Nathaniel Stoltz, who you should follow on Twitter, has an A's prospect list at Seedlings to Stars. It's an atypical list ordering, giving grades to the top player at each position and then a "the next ten best" rather than a simple "top N." Second, third, and shortstop are awfully unimpressive, but the outfield and pitching look nice and we can dream on Yordy Cabrera, right?
Here's Cliff Corcoran's AL West preview at Sports Illustrated. Kate Upton is not featured.
Joe Pawlikowski scans the A's roster for talent the Yankees could use, which is a reasonable idea given how much of a glut Oakland has at certain positions. Some of that glut is in the form of players like Michael Taylor and Jermaine Mitchell, though, which is to say that it's not a glut at all.
Joe Stiglich has a run-down of what Manny Ramirez is allowed to do during his suspension (in terms of working out with the team and so forth).