Everyone would agree that our newly revamped Oakland A's is a team that was built to contend for a World Series starting in 2006, and that this year would have been an added bonus if we were able to make a playoff run. My question to all AN is: IS this horrible start by our team really a blessing in disguise?
By this I simply mean the following: if the goal all along was to build a team that would contend from 2006 on, then wouldnt having a winning team divert attention away from that goal? For example, Beane might be tempted to add a mike sweeney-esque veteran to the squad, even though it would be a short term help, and we would have to deal away an important piece to our future (i.e. DJ, herrera, et al). In the same vane, being out of contention would most certainly ensure that some of the youngsters, most notably DJ and Jairo, make the big show this year, and thus get some of their growing pains out of the way before the push next year. Lastly, another aspect that losing adds to our future playoff run is the opposite of the first I mentioned... we'll deal away certain vets (zito, dotel, BYRNES, hatteberg, and/or durazo) and bring in even more young talent that will help bring home one of those snazzy WS trophies to the east bay.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that there will be downsides to the A's having a losing, reBUILDING year. First of all, convincing Kotsay to say, and even signing him long term, will be more difficult. And if we want to compete for years to come, we NEED Mr. Kotsay patrolling center and hitting lead-off. Also, a losing season will set the team back in their competition with the gnats for the bay area audience.
Despite of these hypothetical problems, the one simple fact cannot be denied. Next year we will have an infield of Chavez (who one assumes will finally break out), Crosby (entering his 3rd season, which usually is when a player starts hitting a consistant stride), DJ at first (a seasoned slugger who has the pedigree to excel), and a player to be named later at second (most likely ellis, until Quintinilla takes the job). Our outfield will be Kotsay (HOPEFULLY, AND FOR GOOD), Swish (who is going to be a solid RBI man), and Kielty (aka, the Sun King). And assuming that Zito, and his 8.5$ million price tag, is dealt by next year we will have a young, matured starting staff, and a bullpen that will be even better than this year's. NOW THAT IS A CORE THAT CAN TAKE US ALL THE WAY.
So that all brings me back to my main question: is a losing season worth it if we know that it will lead to personnnel decisions that will help further the team's long term goals?