By Jason Wojciechowski on July 24, 2009 at 5:49 PM
With Matt Holliday now gone from his usual place in left field (he'd played in 93 of the A's 94 games this year), the A's are down to three outfielders on the 25-man roster, not counting Jack Cust. I'm guessing that tonight's lineup is going to be Sweeney-Hairston-Davis from left to right, and that Travis Buck or Aaron Cunningham will get the call from Sacramento as soon as the A's can fly them to New York. (This is the misfortune of getting the deal done while Oakland is in the Bronx: their AAA team isn't right up the highway.) Whether the A's go with Buck or Cunningham, though, I'd like to see the A's just stick that guy in left field (with Sweeney in right) and say, "Play. There are 70 games left in the season. Let's see what happens."
The next step, over the next week, is to hopefully clear more of the deadweight off the roster. Orlando Cabrera's been hot, so see what he'll fetch on the trade market, let Bobby Crosby play out the string at short, and bring up Eric Patterson to get some starts and at-bats here and there in the infield and outfield. See if anyone wants to take a chance on Nomar. If someone does (I'd take a couple bucks for him), bring up the other of the Buck/Cunningham duo, sit Ryan Sweeney, and see what a Cunningham-Hairston-Buck outfield does for you for the rest of the year. Hold Jason Giambi off as long as you can, ideally until September, and then have him play a reserve role the rest of the year, with Daric Barton starting.
If it doesn't matter one way or the other in the standings, you have to take a look at the guys who might be on the team in 2010 and 2011 and see what they can do. Is Eric Patterson someone you're just going to bump when Adrian Cardenas arrives, or is he a legit player? Do the A's have more work to do in the outfield, or are Buck and Cunningham going to be solid regulars? Can Daric Barton get back to where he was when the A's got him for Mark Mulder? These questions haven't been answered, and they won't be answered if players like Ryan Sweeney (who's young, for sure, but I think we also have a pretty good idea of what he can do), Jason Giambi, and Nomar Garciaparra stand in the way.