Enough of the hot stove, bring on spring training

Taking a moment to look back, look ahead, and fire off some random observations as I turn the page on the calendar to February.  I’ll keep this month’s installment shorter than usual since I’m sick as a dog and the magic of DayQuil is wearing off fast. I’m probably a few dozen keystrokes away from passing out in front of my computer.

LOOKING BACK

• The rebuild/youth movement made an abrupt shift toward veterans when general manager Billy Beane added Coco Crisp, Bartolo Colon, Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes to the roster which left me scratching my head. If the A’s had a strong team gearing up for a playoff run I’d love these acquisitions but for a team with its sights set a contending around 2015 I’m not exactly sold on each move.

Crisp: Don’t get me wrong, I love Coco but I was ready for a youth movement and a 32-year-old outfielder signed for the next two seasons doesn’t fit the bill. Beane also cost himself draft pick compensation by re-signing his own free agent. At a casual glance this isn’t exactly a master stroke in a well-crafted rebuild.

Colon: In a quest to add some depth to the rotation, Beane signed Colon to a 1-year deal and then promptly traded young, cheap starters Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso to the Rockies for Smith. I have no problem with Beane trying to sell high on Moscoso but I’d rather see Outman on the hill every fifth day instead of Colon. I’ll take a few affordable years of Outman over one year of Colon for $2 million.

Smith and Gomes: Between the two of these guys Beane has one good outfielder assuming manager Bob Melvin platoons them correctly. But it sounds like the A’s plan to play Smith every day despite his weak career numbers vs. lefthanders.

Would I rather see Michael Taylor, Collin Cowgill, Jermaine Mitchell, etc. get everyday at bats over Crisp, Smith and Gomes? Saying, “Yes” would be an understatement.

I just don’t see a lot of upside in any of these acquisitions and I certainly don’t see any place for these guys on a 2015 A’s team that’s supposed to be a contender if everything breaks right.

• FanFest returned and reportedly drew about 7,000 people. Not bad considering how depressing this offseason has been for fans of the green and gold. A tip of the hat to Lew Wolff for not only showing his face at the event but actually sitting down with some A’s fans.

• The A’s are reportedly entertaining the idea of signing Manny Ramirez and Jose Canseco wants a chance to try out to be the team’s DH. Please, make it stop. My head is about to explode.

LOOKING AHEAD

• It’s February so that means MLB is going to announce the A’s can move to San Jose, right? Right? A’s fans will have their eyes on the Twitter feed of USA Today’s Bob Nightengale to see if he can back up his Christmas Eve tweet with some real news.

I’m willing to bet the 2012 World Series will be here before Bud Selig comes anywhere close to making a call on this issue but I hope I’m wrong.

• Spring training.  Thank goodness it’s almost here.  Time for a welcome from the hot stove and ballpark rumors that continue to go nowhere.  Let’s get on with some baseball and see what kind of club the 2012 A’s can be.  Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 19.

TOTALLY RANDOM

• One last thought on the Crisp/Colon/Smith/Gomes acquisitions: If the A’s get in on the bidding for Jorge Soler and come up several million dollars short I will be even more annoyed with seeing these new guys in white shoes.

If Crisp/Colon/Smith/Gomes were brought on board just to satisfy a MLB payroll “floor” I would have preferred to see Beane overpay for one year of someone like Edwin Jackson who would probably have more trade value or at least bring back a draft pick as a free agent.

• On the one hand, Melvin has one of the worst manager’s jobs in baseball. His best players are long gone and he has no shot at contending anytime soon.

On the other hand, he has one of the best manager’s jobs in baseball. There are absolutely no expectations on this club and a roster dominated by young players is ready to be molded into a winner.

Melvin has a chance to build a ballclub that plays the game the way he wants it to be played. If the next big wave of young players pan out, Melvin could have something special on his hands in a few years.

Then again, if this rebuild works out as badly as Beane’s last effort Melvin could be run out of town like Bob Geren. I love Melvin’s enthusiasm and hope he can be part of a major turnaround for the A’s.  The fans deserve a payoff for the past several years of twisting in the wind and enduring back-to-back rebuilds.

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