Okay now that our season has run its course, this is a quick check-in on some predictions I made this season. It's funny to look back because most of these seem obvious or stupid now, but they were very much in question when they were issued. It's a little nostalgic to remember when we were all speculating on whether Zito was being dealt at the deadline, etc.
Billy Beane Decoder Ring (June 30)
(based on a close reading of his interview with Blez)
- Zito: no midseason trade. Will hope his peripherals are great and his gaudy numbers (W-L, ERA) are bad, and hope to get a hometown discount re-signing him in the off-season. Otherwise, trade him for a big bat prospect. (Verdict: YES!, kept through season; we'll see about the off-season.)
- Kotsay: re-signed for $7-8M plus limited no-trade. (Verdict: YES!)
- Macha: gone by mutual consent after the season. (Verdict: we'll see. I still say yes.)
- Byrnes: waiting for the right trade. (Verdict: YES!)
Woofing Gods worries (July 24):
- Our bullpen continues to worry me. Street I trust. That's it. No offense Duke fans, but I've never felt too sure about him. Calero and Duke are decent options. Witasick is brilliant one day, cruddy the next. I don't feel too secure. (Verdict: I'll stand by that.)
- Youth. Of course, youth might make us strong into the long season. It also makes us flaky and prone to bad streaks. Expect bad streaks from DJ, Crosby and Swish to come. (Verdict: sadly, YES, all three tanked in Sept.)
- May Chavy is back. (Verdict: NO, not as bad as May, but not enough.)
- The running game may yet kill us in the close ones down the stretch. (Verdict: NO. Maybe if we'd been in contention into the ANA series.)
- Harden's control seems to come and go. If it goes, he's human. (Verdict: injury meant no chance to tell.)
- Haren is a puzzle. He could be tiring, and he has not looked sharp since the Break. Ditto for Cupcakes Blanton. (Verdict: WRONG! They were both great down the stretch, though Haren had a couple of bad games.)
- Our rare attempts to bunt have basically stunk in the last month. This may come to bite us on the butt someday. (Verdict: NO, wasn't close enough to make a difference.)
- NYY and BOS are the best two teams in the AL (stated when neither was in first and the CW was that the Yanks were through). (Verdict: basically yes; definitely Top 5.)
- A's are going to win 90 games and anyone who disagrees is a wimp (near start of May when much was gloomy) (Verdict: seemed ludicrous in May, a pathetic understatement in July, pretty close now)
- Payton? Why the hell sign this old guy? (Verdict: WRONG, was great for the July/August run.)
- Witasick and Kennedy? What the hell? (Verdict: mostly wrong. Provided nice depth, although both sucked in September.)
- Ginter might yet contribute to the team. (Verdict: no, due to manager indifference.)
- Conclusions. Beane is much smarter than I am. I am a little smarter than the conventional wisdom. I am great at decoding Beane.
Readers are invited to check in with their own array of predictions.