First, I want it to be clear that I think every player on our roster, while not the best at his position in the league, is my favorite (okay, with the exception of Kendall and Crosby, who I'd take almost anybody and Tejada over, respectfully).
Having said that, Mark Ellis and his gold glove have a career batting average of .270 with an HR/AB ratio of 1 to 45. Bobby Crosby is at .244 and 1 to 31 and Nick Swisher is .246 and 1 to 18.6. While Beane favorite Eric Chavez is a .271 career hitter with a HR coming every 20 ABS. These are the stats of our starting infielders, who the organization has deemed the best and as irreplaceable as any Athletic can be.
I'm not going to get into injuries and how much more power Crosby and Chavez would have if healthy or how young Swisher is because the player that I want the A's to stand by and fully endorse this year is a third year player himself, who also had a down power year: Dan Johnson. I've been trying to figure out who DJ reminds me of for the longest time and it wasn't until recently I realized DJ is like Adam Piatt.
For those of you who don't remember, Adam Piatt was a minor league stud that was on the A's early this century. He was a multiple All-Star 3B and league MVP that the A's, because of Eric Chavez, turned into an OF. He came up with the club around the same time we started winning and hit .299/.392/.490 in 60 games his first year as a platoon player. The next couple of seasons he spent time literally dying and splitting time with guys like Jeremy Giambi and (if memory serves me right) Bobby Kielty before getting lost in the system.
I always liked Piatt and often was pissed that Art Howe and the A's never just gave him a job and let him be the player, or even a shadow of the player, he was in the minor leagues. Now, I know that minor league success doesn't translate to major league success all the time, but, usually a guy who does well in the minors, will do well in the majors given the opportunity.
Before we go off and look for young outfielders and washed up Holy Grails, don't you think maybe it would be in our best interest to try a guy who has better career numbers than Bobby Crosby, our unquestioned starting SS? I mean, what's the difference between Bobby Crosby (who the organization loves) and DJ? Why isn't AN calling for a trade of Crosby? Yeah, Bobby's been injured, but I would submit (and you can ask anyone who's ever played this game) that sitting Johnson has just as much a negative effect on him as Crosby's injuries have had?
The whole bandwagon of getting rid of Johnson for a corner outfielder so that Swisher can play first base (isn't Barton supposed to be the first basemen of the future anyways?! Or are we grooming the youngest DH in the history of baseball?) sounds stupid to me given the upside I see in Johnson (potential .300 hitter with 20-25HR pop). Especially if he plug him in the two hole (typical a fastball at-bat) and work him to death on hitting off speed pitches.