Dear Athletics Nation,
I hereby inform all that I no longer find myself able to believe. Yes it is true. I can no longer say, truthfully, "In Billy I Trust".
Too much of the team has gone down hill. Our ideals have been thrown to the wind. And if Billy Beane is not the one making all these moves, then David Forst must be arrested, and Beane must be untied and released from Ken Macha's closet.
I am serious when I say this, Billy Beane needs to take a step back and re-evaluate how he is running things.
The organizational strong point, the Farm System, is in tatters. Of top prospects, Barton, Herrera, Windsor and Buck, only Barton was a first round draft pick, and not even by us.
Of those four, all project to make it to the Majors (but then again, so did Dan Meyer) but none of them as superstars. In fact, our best prospect projects to have a peak of John Olerud, not bad but not good enough when you compare it to our arch rivals.
Why is Southern California drafting so much better then us, ten fold. It can not just be the money. We have 1 blue chip prospect, they each seem to have ten. Even if we use the excuse of calling up most of our system to help us in the majors, the draft board has to do its job better.
The trades of late have been absolutely horrible. Only the Dan Haren trade has helped us, the rest have been outright horrendous. Tadano is terrible. Dominguez is stinking it up while John Rheinecker is holding his own in Texas of all places (someone whom I've always felt had the potential to be a Left Handed Justin Duchscherer). The Hudson trade was terrible. The Kendall trade was terrible. The Ginter Trade was terrible. The Bradley trade has been terrible as well.
Only the Chad Gaudin and Cruz/Halsey trades seem to have worked out.
And when we do get money to spend, we spend it where we KNOW we should not. Beane has gone against his PRIMARY rule of law: Do not pay large sums of money for average or below average talent, when someone who can do the same job is languishing in the minors for free.
Mark Kotsay, who has been at best average both on the field and at the plate, was given a large sum of money. (.243/.297/.358/.655)
Jay Payton is being paid $4 million as our 4th outfielder, for above average defense and very little offense (.279/.299/.404/.703), but because of the Bradley trade, is basically our starting Right Fielder.
Now, even taking this example, I would rather have Payton as our everyday starting Centerfield then have Kotsay on the team right now. Payton is outperforming Kotsay at the plate, even with his pathetic numbers, and can hold his own on the field. Kotsay's back has made his defense suffer greatly, and it looks like he will only decline.
Then we have Esteban Loaiza. Signing Esteban Loaiza really does make no sense. Not then. Less now. Loaiza is the exact example of the the of player that the A's have always preached you should never sign. A Player coming off a seemingly good year while playing in an extreme pitchers park in a pitchers league, and giving him a huge sum and a long term contract. You give an aging, average pitcher a contract like that and you know you will regret it.
Why do it, especially when you already have Kirk Saarloos as your 5th Starter already.
And the Signing that does make sense? Its the one that was back to form with everything he did during the golden years: Frank Thomas. A hitter who can get on base, hit for power and on the cheap.
I know this organization likes to look at its philosophy as taking the undervalued and making then succeed. But they have lost the path that has made them successful.
No longer are we spending money wisely.
Even if we are focusing on defense, our hitters are terrible. They can no longer get on base, they can no longer hit for power, and they do not even have the A's philosophy of patience that was supposed to have been drilled into them.
The A's are stressing contact, maybe so much so that all we seem to see are weak ground balls, which is why we have so many double plays. We have Kotsay and Payton swinging at the first pitch every time. We have Crosby chasing anything outside and either striking out or grounding out, not even daring to take a step closer to the plate to get better bat on the ball. We have Dan Johnson who is trying to pull everything.
The A's can no longer use injuries as an excuse. They can no longer say "When we're healthy", as we've already seen that it might never happen. We can not say that "well, once June and the summer comes we'll get hot and dominate", because that is dismissing the flaws of our team. Just because it happened in the past does NOT mean it will happen in the future. I thought we all learned that from Sabermetrics, that the past is simply a guide to the future, but not a guarantee.
Like going to the edge of a map, what lies beyond and forward does not have to necessarily correspond with what you passed. Just because you passed four or five oasis in the desert when you were about to die of thirst, does not always mean there will be a sixth.
The A's have seemed to lose many key figures from our front office. Fuson, DePodesta, Peterson.
We have also seemingly taken a turn for the worst for injuries on every level.
It is time that that Beane takes a step back, look at where the organization is right now, and decide what to do. See what has gone wrong, and fix it.
And as far as the Major League club is concerned, I think we really have only two choices: We can either go out and spend some money and acquire the RIGHT guys for the job, the guys whom this team needs to get its offense back up to league average instead of battling for the Royals for the bottom, or we need to go the route of the Florida Marlins and have a firesale. A Smart Firesale. Trade all of our overpriced veterans for good prospects, and make a team that in a year or two will put is back in 2000.
Otherwise, we will just continue to weaken, while the Angels reload from their farm system and take off. Or the Mariners from theirs. Or the Rangers with their 3 pitching prospects, DVD.
Have the A's forgotten what helped them build this ship? Have they forgotten that it matters not if your pitching is good, if the offense can't even get a hit? That the players and fans alike give up if two runs are scored against them? That 5 Runs is considered a "Big Game" offensively?
This team needs to look at itself and, even if it costs money, go back to its old style of play.
Because screw the defense, if we had Adam Dunn in Left, Carlos Lee in Right, Swisher in Center and Craig Wilson at First Base, I think we'd be doing quite a lot better right now then with the gloves we have at each position right now.
Because what good is it if your staff can hold the opposition to two runs, if your offense can barely struggle to get one.
But frankly, until Beane starts paying more attention to Baseball again instead of Soccer, this team will be in trouble.