Good: I'm glad to hear that Dan Meyer is throwing well. You can't really fault the guy for trying to hide his injury last year. He was the centerpiece of the Hudson deal and probably tried too hard to make a good impression. Let's hope his situation this year with no pressure on him will help him get back to that high-prospect status
Bad: No matter how well he performs, Andrew Bynum will probably be an Athletic no longer come Opening Day. He is out of minor league options, so unless he makes our 25-man roster out of Spring Training and stays on the roster until the end of the year, he will probably be claimed by another team. Which sucks to me, because here's a guy, excuse the cliche, who is a poor man's Chone Figgins. A lighting fast guy who can pretty much play any defensive position, can hit a little bit (he lead the organization in triples last year and has already hit a two-run bomb in Spring Training this year) and who finally seems to be hitting his stride as a 25 year old in his physical prime. What can you do? Our 25-man roster is pretty much set, and Andrew will just be an unfortunate casualty of that.
Ugly: Bobby Crosby's brittle body. Man, I can imagine Crosby and Ellis being such an awesome middle infield combo for the next three years. Yes, THREE years, meaning we keep Ellis through the contract he just signed a few weeks ago. These guys are so solid defensively, and I can just see Ellis staying put at the top of the order, high OBP, over .300 BA, hitting about 12-15 jacks a year...but Crosby...I have a bad feeling that something or other (sore shoulder) limiting him to about 100 games every year. It's just an ugly feeling I have when thinking about his future.
Besides that, here's a few random thoughts:
- Dan Meyer does not need to be a major league "ace" in order to help us compensate for the probable departure of Barry Zito. Harden is our #1 guy, Haren showed last year that he can dominate for stretches as a #2, Loaiza is seasoned #3 vet and Blanton is as good as you are gonna get as a #4 or #5 young starter. All we need out of Meyer is some good lefty innings at the back of the rotation. And at 1/36th the cost of keeping Zito, Meyer will have served his purpose if he stays in the rotation as our #4 or #5 guy and gives us league average numbers for the next few years.
- Speaking of the probable departure of Barry Zito and some other "high priced vets" (cough, Jay Payton), does anyone have any idea of what to do with the money we will save by letting those guys go and not bringing them back, besides putting that money towards the inevetible salary raises for our signed players? Well, I think we should go on a mild Oakland spending spree:
-Sign Eddie Guardado as a setup man. He's old and has some health issues, but this guy is durable. We are not going to keep Kennedy beyond this year, and having only AAAA guys like Flores and Rheinecker for lefty bullpen slots next year is not gonna cut it for Beane and Co. I can see Flores being groomed this year as a LOOGY for the future...but the front office loves having two lefties back there. So I say we take an aggressive stab at Guardado, a guy from northern California who can setup and close if necessary.