Monday, September 3, 2007

The Oakland A's Monday #16

Overall: 68-70 (3rd Place, AL West)
Last Week: 3-3 (1-2 vs. Blue Jays, 2-1 vs. Tigers)

Lazy Labor Day thoughts on some recent Oakland A's activity…

Esteban Loaiza claimed on waivers by LA Dodgers - In an economic market where mediocrity on the mound is worth about $10M per year (or more if you're "wacky" and "quirky" and "sh*tty" - right, Barry Zito?) it's hard to believe that the A's couldn't get something for a league-average, albeit injury-prone, starting pitcher. Oakland saves about $7M in Loaiza's 2008 salary, which might mean something if the A's intention was to re-invest those dollars into improving the team for next season. Instead, I expect Teflon Beane and the media who won't touch him to tow the "we don't need to make any moves in the offseason, we just need to be healthy" bull-plop line from November to March.

3B Eric Chavez, OF Travis Buck and OF Mark Kotsay shut down for the year - Of the three, only Buck (.288/.377/.474) has contributed anything to the A's this year. He's also the only one with much of a future on this team, so I'm all for getting him a head start on '08. Chavez's bat has been on a precipitous freefall since his 6 year/$66M contract extension kicked in after the 2004 season. His last three seasons can be described as: (1) struggle the first few months (2) disclose a previously undisclosed injury that he's been "playing with all season" (3) win Gold Glove. Offensively, he's a less talented, less passionate JD Drew. As for Kotsay, when Beane signed him to a two-year extension through 2008, he was rolling the dice on a player with chronic back trouble who just happened to be coming of a batting average-carried career year. Every season since has been crappier than the last. "Crappier". "Craps". "Rolling the dice"? Hmm, it read better in rehearsal.

2B Mark Ellis and IF Marco Scutaro expected to return in 2008 - Ellis has got an option for $5M in 2008. He's underrated defensively and perfectly serviceable at the plate. He'll never make an All-Star team with his .260 BA and subpar OBP, but he's got some pop and usually has good at-bats. Bringing him back is an easy call. As for Scutaro, I've beat that horse to death. He's a very good back-up, who's capable of occasional effective stretches in the starting lineup. He's not nearly as "clutchy" as A's fans think, but if he's only getting about 300 plate appearances, I won't complain.

Or, more specifically, I'll find something else to complain about.

This Week: at Angels (3), at Rangers (3)

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