Obviously Billy did what he felt he had to do, but is it too early to begin drawing conclusions? I'd like to hear your thoughts. For the same of discussion, please assume that the A's get basically nothing for Bradley. (Doesn't a guy's trade value rise when you play him for two weeks and he shows he's healthy, as opposed to playing him one day and you throw him off the club?)
Personally, I went to yesterday's game with a handful of friends. All of us watch the A's closely and all of us agreed, throughout the game, that the A's offense just seemed so much more potent with Bradley in there. No, he didn't do anything, but it just felt great with him in there - and the play Swish made at first, because Milton was in the outfield, probably saved the game for the A's. Anyway, we can't wait to see what the offense can do the rest of the season, we all agreed (whenever Kendall wasn't up) ...
So without Milton, it looks as though the A's best outfield will be Swish (hope he doesn't go back on the DL, Kotsay (hope the back gets better - took him forever to get to the plate on a two out hit to the outfield yesterday) and Buck (who apparently plays hurt now), with Stewart (who has missed a lot of time hurt the past two weeks with the same injury that has almost ended his career) as the # 4 guy. The infield will be a hurt and don't ask me to carry this club I think the Angels are much better than we are Chavvy, a can't-hit Crosby, a fabulous Ellis, and a I-never-get-better-at-the-plate-and-don't-ask-about-my-range DJ at first. Kendall catches each and every day, obviously. Maybe old man Piazza hits better when he gets back from the DL than he hit before he went on it, and maybe Cust continues to get some big hits. Kielty comes off the DL to provide, um, red hair.
But is it just me or does this club seem too anemic on offense to make up 6 games on the Angels? This is not last year's pathetic Angels bunch that couldn't score any runs, after all (as witnessed by their two come from way behind wins in Houston this week) Doesn't this offense need a sparkplug ... kind of like what many of us were hoping Milton would be? Is there in fact any big bat any more worth waiting for, along the lines of those of us who looked forward to getting Swish and Kots and Milton back, plus maybe a strong-armed Chavvy (assuming we thought the inability to hit with RISP was related to forearm soreness?)
I recognize this diary doesn't speak much to pitching, but my sense is that the A's pitching has been the best in the entire A.L. and yet this club is 6 games back. Realistically, how much better is the pitching going to be? I think Calero will right his ship, I think Duke will come back strong. But that's it. Street won't be such an improvement on the current closer, right? I tend to think Haren will be great but will not have an ERA below 2, and I think Kennedy and Dinardo and Guadin will probably do worse in the second half than they did in the first. Blanton I'm holding my breath. But bottom line is that the team's ERA is way ahead of the second best team in the league (or at least it was when I last looked a week ago - maybe that St. Louis series changed things...) and it just can't get that much better.
Bottom line is: am I the only one who has been slow to recognize the fact that losing Milton Bradley seriously hurts this club?