Let’s take a trip back in the Athletics time machine shall we? We are going to go back to the year 2004, Miguel Tejada has moved on from the A’s and found greener pastures in Baltimore, and the A’s let him go because they had his successor ready to go in the person of Bobby Crosby. Said successor wins the AL Rookie of the Year with a .239/.319/.426 slash line, 22 home runs, and 64 RBI. Granted it was something of a weak rookie class, but a win is a win nonetheless.
The 2005 season rolls around, and the A’s have their new shortstop coming of a strong rookie campaign, looking to improve in his sophomore season. He has trouble staying healthy though, playing in only 84 games. When he was on the field he was fairly productive, posting a .276/.346/.456 line with 9 home runs and 38 RBI. Despite his health issues he seemed truly primed to break out.
Prior to the 2006 season Peter Gammons, then with ESPN, predicted that Crosby would win the AL MVP (I wasn’t able to pinpoint a source, but Google “peter gammons bobby crosby 2006 mvp” and you’ll see, trust me). A notion that to this day seems horribly laughable. It didn’t happen, he hit .229/.268/.338 in only 96 games, again sidelined with injuries. This would be the story of the remainder of his Athletics career through the 2009 season. Safe to say Gammons was a bit off on that prediction.
I bring up Crosby now because just a few days ago he signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers as reported by Ken Rosenthal. He last played in the Major Leagues in 2010 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks. As Bobby Crosby tries to fight his way back into baseball, I stop to wonder what if…
What if Bobby Crosby had been able to stay healthy, what if he had been able to maintain the power production he showed in his rookie season and the plate discipline he showed in his sophomore season? It’s safe to say that the Athletics gave Crosby a number of chances over the years and he was never able to deliver.
Say Crosby did though, what might have happened with the Athletics? Maybe he and Eric Chavez would have been able to form a formidable tandem in the middle of the A’s lineup that could have propelled the A’s into a period of success during the late 2000’s instead of a perpetual rebuilding phase. If Bobby Crosby had been able to live up the high expectations set by the likes of Peter Gammons prior to the 2006 season, would the A’s have found a way to get past the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS? A healthy and productive Crosby would have enabled the A’s to play Marco Scutaro at second base in place of the injured Mark Ellis, and we never would have had to see D’Angelo Jimenez in the first place. In bizarro A’s baseball world, Bobby Crosby won the AL MVP and helped lead the A’s to the 2006 World Series Championship over the St. Louis Cardinals. Maybe the A’s would have already secured a new stadium, perhaps even in Oakland. Maybe the San Francisco Giants wouldn’t have won 2 out of the last 3 World Series, further burying the A’s under a pile of orange and black confetti (garbage).
I don’t often take myself to bizarro A’s baseball world, but sometimes you’re simply whisked away to an imaginary land of high on base percentages, reached potential, and a severe lack of 15 day DL trips. That’s the land where Bobby Crosby isn’t a 33 year old infielder just trying to make it onto a 25 man roster. It’s where neither he nor his meddlesome father complain about the A’s training staff. It’s where our own Devin Pangaro never had to see Cliff Pennington in green-and-gold. During the doldrums of the offseason, it’s a place we can all visit and wonder what could have been.