Taking a moment to look back, look ahead, and fire off some random observations as I turn the page on the calendar to January. How the heck did 2012 come around so quick?
Then again, if time keeps flying like this the rebuild will be over in no time and the A’s could finally be a winning club again.
• Trevor Cahill was banished to the desert when general manger Billy Beane sent the “White Rabbit” fan to the Diamondbacks for a package of prospects headlined by pitcher Jarrod Parker. Rumors swirled around Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey all month but it was Cahill who got the first ticket out of town as Beane kicked off yet another rebuild.
There’s no fighting the latest rebuild so I’m just going to settle in and look forward to seeing whether these kids can be part of a bright future that always seems to be off on the distant horizon.
• Gio Gonzalez was banished to the nation’s capitol when Beane sent the team’s lone 2011 All-Star to the Washington Nationals for young pitchers A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone and catcher Derek Norris. As I mentioned on the day of the deal http://junkball.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/knee-jerk-reaction-the-gio-gonzalez-trade/, I’m pretty happy with the return the A’s got for Gio.
• Closer Andrew Bailey was banished to Boston for three young players, including outfielder Josh Reddick. OK, I guess being sent to Boston isn’t that bad. Same goes for Arizona and Washington since all those teams are trying to win and Cahill, Gonzalez and Bailey deserve to see what they can do playing for a contender in the primes of their careers.
Best of luck to Boom Boom in Beantown. If he can stay healthy he could be in line for a lot of saves and a lot of well-earned accolades.
• The uphill climb to contend in the American League West suddenly looks like a hopeless attempt to climb out of a bottomless pit in the wake of the Angels signing Albert Pujols and the Rangers winning the negotiating rights to Yu Darvish. If the Mariners come out of nowhere to haul in Prince Fielder the woeful Houston Astros may be the only thing keeping the A’s out of last place the next few years.
• Oakland Mayor Jean Quan unveiled plans to keep the A’s, Raiders and Warriors in town at a place called “Coliseum City.” In other news: I stopped laughing at the idea of Quan pulling off Coliseum City just long enough to write this column.
• Rumors (oh, how I love rumors) flew around that the A’s would get permission from MLB to move to San Jose in February. Hopefully that’s based in fact and not a bunch of hot air because a final call on the team’s request to relocate is long overdue.
Former Giants frontman Peter Magowan quickly told the San Francisco Chronicle that a move will probably never happen, Lew Wolff said years ago that he had no interest in San Jose and was actually interested in Las Vegas.
I can’t even begin to describe how sick I am of this drawn-out issue. One way or another, for better or worse, I just want the whole thing to come to some sort of resolution soon.
• There has to be at least one or two bargain basement free agent outfielders coming to town, right? I can’t imagine Oakland heading into spring training with a bunch of unproven players vying for playing time in the outfield. Of course, the pickings are slim if this list over at Baseball Reference is accurate.
I could see Luke Scott being a decent buy-low potential source of power if the A’s are willing to live with his horrid defense. Kosuke Fukudome might appeal to Beane’s love of on-base percentage. For some reason I keep thinking Cody Ross might fall to Oakland on a 1-year deal which just doesn’t excite me.
In a perfect world Beane can sift through the leftovers on the free agent market and come up with a player or two who might deliver bounceback years and have a little value at the trade deadline.
I can’t believe that life as an A’s fan has come to feigning enthusiasm over dumpster diving.
Update: I wrote this post last night and set it up to publish this morning … which happened to be right around the time that Jeff Fletcher broke the news that the A’s are in contract negotiations with Ross. Like I said in this post, Ross doesn’t excite me but that isn’t to say that I have any problem with him donning green and gold for a year.
The A’s clearly need some more depth in the outfield and Ross certainly brings that to the table since he can handle left, center and right field. On the cheap, this seems like a decent move for the A’s.
If Taylor goes down to Triple A and dominates the way the A’s want him to and Ross has a decent year they should be able to trade him at the deadline to a contender to open up playing time for Taylor. That would probably be the best case scenario for everyone involved.
• FanFest is back and I’m happy about that. But they’re charging $5 a head for kids 14 and under which doesn’t exactly bring a smile to my face. I don’t know when I got so cheap and cranky but that kind of discourages me from bringing my whole family to the event considering the fact that my two kids are still in diapers.
Oh yeah, the fact that the A’s traded most of my favorite players and want to move also dampens my enthusaism to shell out my hard-earned money to go to a special pre-season event.
I tip my hat to the A’s for reviving FanFest but I’d like to see the team cut families a little break and let kids in for free. It’d help foster some goodwill with an understandably frustrated fanbase and open the door to grabbing the interest and loyalty of a generation of kids.
• Free Chris Carter. Gotta say it at least once a month. Give the kid 500 at-bats and see if you get 30 homers or a few hundred strikeouts so everyone can move forward with their lives. It beats handing millions of bucks to yet another over-the-hill veteran DH for one year.
• These days when I think about Bob Melvin I think about Art Howe. I have a bad feeling that Melvin will be a nice guy, show a steady hand building a young team into a winner only to get the boot before he has a chance to see the club peak.
It happened to Howe in Houston and Oakland and I could see it happening to Melvin in Oakland/maybe San Jose. If you assume that everything breaks right and the A’s are a great young team in about 5 years I think a new front office and/or ownership group could be in place by then and they’ll want new blood in the dugout.
If Melvin can help mold a young club into a winner I’d love to see him get a couple of extra years to see how far the kids can go.
• If the A’s do end up leaving Oakland there’s sure to be an uproar and a lot of broken hearts. There’s already a lot of venom directed at Beane and Wolff over the sorry state of the A’s but if professional baseball leaves the East Bay I hope the politicians get an earful from everyone.
Over the past decade or so what have they seriously done to keep the A’s in Oakland? Quan’s Coliseum City proposal is just pie-in-the-sky lip service from a rudderless mayor with no pull and Victory Court seems to be going nowhere fast. Sadly, that’s about the best anyone in the East Bay has ever come up with.
Say what you will about the A’s pining for San Jose but at least politicians down there with some clout are getting their ducks in a row to land a Major League team.
Granted, I’m not saying Oakland’s power brokers should totally knock themselves out to keep the A’s because they have far bigger problems to deal with and ballpark deals usually burn taxpayers. But if the A’s abandon Oakland there’s sure to be a lot of finger pointing and a lot of it should be directed at the people in office.
I don’t like the way Wolff has gone about his pursuit of a ballpark outside of Oakland but if the A’s didn’t exist and you wanted to place another MLB team in the Bay Area I think the first place most people would look would be San Jose.
A new ballpark in Oakland could probably thrive in the right location with the right owner to pump money into the club but I just don’t see that happening.
If a new stadium in San Jose keeps the A’s in the Bay Area I’ll take it because it beats watching the A’s play in Las Vegas/Portland/North Carolina/etc. while the Giants reap the rewards of successfully forcing them out of town.
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