Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring — except for a guy with a mouse … and a keyboard … and an idea for a Christmas-themed post here at Swingin’ A’s.
I’ll freely admit to being a little naughty this year (as usual) but I’ve also been pretty nice (as usual) which means I should be in line to get a wide range of gifts tomorrow morning from Santa.
Here’s an A’s-centric rundown of what this fan has coming to him on Christmas and what I’m hoping to find under the tree.
IF I BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS I MIGHT AS WELL BELIEVE IN THIS
Of course, that reaction got me a profanity-filled response from one pro-Oakland person on Twitter which goes to show the passion surrounding the possible relocation of the A’s.
Don’t get me wrong, my perfect world preference is for the A’s to get a new ballpark in Oakland and thrive as one of the best teams in baseball. But I guess I’m past the point of believing that’ll pan out so the next best thing is to at least see them stay in the Bay Area.
A new ballpark in San Jose keeps the A’s in the area long-term and it gives them a chance to be more competitive. If getting excited about that warrants throwing a profanity at me on Twitter then I’m at a rare loss for words.
THE GIFTS I KNOW ARE IN THE BAG
• Jemile Weeks. It’s pretty clear the flashy young second baseman is going to be the face of the 2012 A’s and I’m grateful to know there’ll be at least one fun position player to watch next year. Let’s enjoy him while we can because it may be a matter of time before he’s just another trade chip.
• A Grant Green sighting in Oakland before things are said and done in 2012. I had higher expectations for Green when he was a shortstop coming off a big year in Stockton than I am now that he’s an outfielder coming off a decent season in Double and Triple A but I’m still looking forward to seeing the former first-round pick break into the big leagues.
• Brandon McCarthy’s posts on Twitter. When he isn’t dealing on the mound he’s entertaining the masses on the Internet. Of course, now that I’ve committed to looking forward to something out of an A’s player it might be a good idea to brace myself for general manager Billy Beane to trade him.
• Trade rumors. Lots and lots of trade rumors. I may as well pretend they’re a gift because they’re clearly not going away anytime soon.
THE LUMPS OF COAL I KNOW ARE IN MY STOCKING
• Trevor Cahill is outta here for a kid coming off of Tommy John surgery, a guy who projects as a fourth outfielder and a middle relief prospect. OK, I guess that’s a harsh assessment for what’s actually an interesting deal for a glorified innings eater coming off a horrible season.
Personally, I would have liked to see Beane let pitching coach Curt Young work his magic with Cahill to try and get him back on track and improve his trade value but ultimately I’m not sure he’d do much better than he did in this deal. I’m looking forward to seeing what Jarrod Parker and Colin Cowgill can do but I’m still going to miss Cahill.
• Gio Gonzalez is gone too. I hated the man’s walk rate but I loved the strikeouts and his personality. It’s a shame to see him go right when he seemed to be hitting his stride as a pitcher.
• The AL West is pulling away from the A’s at the speed of light. A new ballpark (if it ever happens) will be nice but a rich TV deal along with it would be ideal. The Angels and Rangers are rolling in TV money and they’re throwing it around like there’s no tomorrow. Meanwhile the A’s are doing everything to trade today’s talented players for a brighter tomorrow that never seems to come. All we can do is hang in there. If some of these prospects develop fast the A’s could surprise some people far sooner than expected.
THE STUFF ON MY WISH LIST
• A new ballpark. Sure, I know I just said that a new stadium probably won’t launch the A’s into the same rarified air as the big boys in the American League all by itself but at least it’ll give them the resources to realistically play the role of scrappy underdog. If they remain trapped in the Coliseum they’re going to be roadkill as filthy rich clubs like the Angels, Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees use them as a punching bag during the season and as a farm team during the offseason.
• 2012 MLB debuts by Michael Choice and Sonny Gray. As long as the outfield remains a wide open race for playing time and Beane keeps dealing key parts of the pitching staff there’s a golden opportunity for Choice and Gray to rapidly rise through the farm system.
• Death to the injury bug. Has any team been chewed up and spit out by the injury bug more than the A’s over the past several years? This team is long overdue for a run of good health and now is as good a time as any for the guys in green and gold to catch a few breaks.
• Something big out of Michael Ynoa. You remember him, right? Mega-hyped bonus baby out of the Dominican Republic who’s spent more time in the trainer’s room than on the pitcher’s mound. I still think he has the potential to be something special if he can ever stay on the field long enough to make good on the promise of his raw talent.
• A rapid climb up the prospect charts for youngsters Renato Nunez and Vicmal De La Cruz. I’m always curious to see how international signees pan out and hopefully 2012 is the year these kids emerge and give A’s fans something to look forward to.
• An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.
Happy holidays to all the A’s fans out there who stick with the club through thick and thin. Hopefully the ultimate gift of a A’s finally fielding a World Series contender again will come sooner than later. Life would be a lot easier if we only had to be nice for a year and rely on Santa for that one.
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