wow... what is my take on what's gone on?
the hudson deal i could handle. he wasn't going to be resigned, and his value would drop once he started throwing the ball because of the injury possibilities with him. it looks a bit weak on paper, but knowing billy, thomas will turn out to be better than nick swisher, and cruz or meyer would be an absolute stud and the a's win the trade. this i could handle.
and the big three were still big. harden slips in easily as an outstanding young pitcher, and likely the most consistent over the course of last season. the rotation would have been fine, just a bit more pressure on joe blanton.
but now, it's officially the big 2, or big 1 if you don't see harden there yet. (and i know that zito has struggled, no need to even get into that) zito will be the ace of the staff, and hopefully the pressure will be good for him to keep his focus and get back to his cy young form, or at least a 17-20 win guy.
i believe this opportunity will either make or break him in oakland. he's not going to be around for long if he turns out another jekyll and hyde season, at least not past his contract expiration. i still say he has an amazing ceiling if he gets his head on straight for 25 starts a year. harden is the #2 man, and i'm fine with that as i believe he is good enough for it.
what worries me is joe blanton being the #3 man, leaving haren and meyer to fight out the 4th and 5th spots, with another possibility being justin duchscherer.
that rotation has me worried a bit, especially because zito doesn't have a rubber arm like some of the power pitchers that can start on a day less rest, and harden doesn't yet have the stamina to do it either.
to address the actual trade of mulder, i don't understand it. i've heard that schott wants the payroll down to $50 mill, which is nice of him to let beane know about AFTER he acquires jason kendall's contract.
i guess he wasn't in the plans either, and now it seems more like the a's are throwing in the towel on contending in 2005. maybe this is good, as a dogfight for the playoffs in september and an ALDS exit won't cut it anymore, so they build for the season after to make a real run.
would have been nice to get a bat for NOW out of this trade, but i don't think the a's got totally screwed over. could have got a little more, but this isn't absolutely terrible. calero is a great reliever who throws some heat, along with cruz will make nice setup men for octavio dotel, maybe making his job in the 9th a little easier this season. haren is kind of a flake i've heard, but he could turn out to make another big 3 in the future too, you never know.
i don't know what the lineup is going to look like exactly though.
the infield is set with kendall, chavez, crosby, and ginter, but what about 1B? has dan johnson fallen into a black hole? i thought this guy was going to be on the big club this season, yet hatteberg is still there along with durazo. i thought durazo was going to arbitration, right? does this mean the a's are going to give up on him and save some money?
and what is the situation in the outfield? kotsay in center, and i'm assuming/hoping that byrnes will return in left, leaving charles thomas and nick swisher to platoon in right or left depening on what happens. where is bobby kielty in this mix? cause he didn't do much of anything last season, so is he gonna be traded for a ball bag or what?
the bullpen issue has been addressed though and i am quite pleased with how it looks, despite what the a's gave up to get it.
closing - dotel
setup - cruz/calero
short - garcia/rincon
middle - street
long - duchscherer
special - bradford
i think that's how it will shape up but i cant be sure, depending on who slides into the rotation. it beats what the a's might have had without these deals being done, which doesnt necessarily make me happy about them, but it does ease some pain.
anyways, i went kind of all over the place in ranting or frustration, but feel free to comment and answer some of my questions.
i still have faith in billy beane, but he doesn't have the cushion he did before.
ALSO, what happened to kirk saarloos? fall into a black hole too or what?