Its that time of year again... ok fine, its the same at every time of the year-we incessantly talk about how the A's could get better by acquiring player A, trading player B and signing player C (and stealthily injuring player D).
With the news that the A's have been hit by yet another round of injuries, some trade may have to be made. Thus far the A's have already lost Center Fielder Mark Kotsay, Backup Outfielder Bobby Kielty, First Baseman Dan Johnson, Starting Pitcher Esteban Loaiza and Centerfielder Milton Bradley.
Milton Bradley might just be out as a precaution, but he does have an extensive injury history. Bobby Kielty seems to be back and should be ready for opening day, but is taking it gingerly. Esteban Loaiza is MIA, having apparently injured himself while working at the circus, having the same injury he had at the start of spring training last year but in the other shoulder. But Dan Johnson and Mark Kotsay, two of the Starting 9, are out for 3 months.
I fear that Dan Johnson might never recover from this injury. He was already on what could have been his last chance as a Starting Major Leaguer, and was looking good, but with this injury, he will effectivly be out of the A's plays. Erubiel Durazo will likely replace him, and by the time Johnson is ready to return, either Durazo will be hitting and will be entrenched as the A's starting first baseman, or Daric Barton will have been called up and will be installed there no matter how he struggles. Mark Kotsay, on the other hand, has a chance of comming back and reclaiming his starting role, but it also depends on if Travis Buck is recalled and what happens with Milton Bradley. If Bradley is healthy and hitting, Swisher is healthy and hitting and stuck in the OF, and Stewart or Buck are hitting, then Kotsay might end up being traded.
But I think this shows that the A's are starting to get scretched thin in depth. It is the same problem that has plagued the CAL football team in recent years-lots of depth, but repeative injuries to the same position.
The A's are now very vulnerable to injuries in the Starting Rotation, which was fragile to beginwith, and Centerfield. And this might mean that the A's will be forced to acquire players to back those places up, or improve them.
Starting with Centerfield, there are several options. But remember, the Marlins were looking and they had the prospects (though not sure if they would let them go), and they found nothing. But the Centerfielders available that the A's might be able to get are;
Lastings Milledge, NYM. Milledge has grown a bit out of favor in New York due to his 'attitude' but will make the Mets this season. But, he will likely make them as a bench player, so why do they bother? He might even then be sent down immidietly anyways to make room for Mike Pelfrey, who will be the Mets 5th Starter. But his asking price will be high, and I don't know if the A's or Mets will be willing to pay.
Jeremey Reed, SEA. Reed is... how do I put it. He's the White Charles Thomas, but with a better minor league track record for hitting. He also belongs to a division rival.. But the M's don't seem to like him anymore, and he could fill in as a backup CF easily.
As for Starting Pitching, there are a few targets that I can think of, but they are riskey.
Mark Prior, CHC. Prior is in trouble. He didn't make the Cubs rotation, and people are worried about him. Some think he is simply shellshocked by the injuries he has substained, and that he can recover back to full stregnth but that he is too afraid to go all out. Can the A's acquire Rich Harden the 1st, team him up with King Richard the 4th and have success? I am not sure he would cost much talent wise, but he has the baggage of a high salary, Scott Boras as an agent, and if you get him and he is never the same again?
Brad Penny, LAD. Penny was rumored to be on the block becasue of additude problems (sound familar?), but it is unsure if he is still available or what his price would be.
Byung-Hyun Kim, COL. He would be cheap, but haven't we already tried going the route of the exiled colorado pitcher? (Kennedy, Witasick).
Jon Leiber, PHI. Not avaiable anymore due to Freddy Garcia injury.
But hey, Beane is much smarter then I, and I am sure he could find someone. Shawn Chacon is still on the market, I think. And there was a 2006 All Star available till a bit into Spring Training earlier... granted that was Mark Redman, but still...