2008 Oakland Athletics ... stay on the ledge

Fear not, AN. It's looking bleak ... but our trip to rock bottom should result in a quick bounce back.

Projections are based on a combination of 2007 PECOTA projections and YTD numbers unless otherwise noted.
Pos Name Sal ProjWARP
C__ Zooks 400k 3.5 (based on 2007 PECOTA projections)
1b_ Johnson 400k 4.0
2b_ Ellis 4m 6.5
3b_ Chavez 11m 5.0
SS_ Crosby 3.5m 2.5
LF_ Buck 400k 5.5
CF_ Kotsay 8m 2.5
RF_ Swisher 3.5m 6.0
DH_ Cust 400k 5.0

So our starting lineup should produce about 40.5 wins above replacement at a cost of $31.6 million.

SP1 Haren 4m 7.5
SP2 Blanton 2m 6.5 (arbi eligible)
SP3 Gaudin 2m 4.5 (arbi eligible -- had to fudge the numbers, since PECOTA assumed he was a reliever)
SP4 Loaiza 7m 2.5 (PECOTA only)
SP5 ? 400k 0.0

And our rotation should produce 21 wins above replacement at a cost of $15.4m

CL Street 2m 5.0 (arbi)
SU Duke 2m 2.5 (arbi)
SU Casilla 400k 2.5
MR Embree 3m 1.5
MR Calero 2m 1.25 (arbi)
MR Marshall 400k .75
MR ? 400k 1.0

Finally, our bullpen should produce 14.5 wins at a cost of $10.2m

That's a total of 76 wins above replacement, add it to the 20 wins a replacement level team would win, subtract a few for health issues and bench play and we're left with a 90 win team at a cost of $57.2 million.

No, seriously. The offensive projections seem a little optimistic in spots and are definitely being buoyed by some small sample sizes from Cust and Buck, but given the fact that a significant portion of Crosby, Chavvy and Kotsay's contributions come from their defense, I think the estimates are ultimately pretty fair.

Rich Harden is a topic for a separate diary, though we're on the hook for $4.6 million and we'll have to pay a few somebody's to ride the pine, so increase that total to $63m, leaving us about $9m shy of this year's budget.

I'm definitely ready to stick a finger in this team for 2007. I'll gladly eat some crow if I'm wrong ... mmm, delicious crow ... so we should be doing anything we can to move Piazza, Stewart and Kennedy and if anyone will take Kotsay, freeing us from his 2008 salary would be reward enough.

Essentially, the team has two holes, CF and SS and one additional big problem -- the lack of a plus bat gives the team very little room for error. While we'll have some money, perusing the free agent list doesn't offer any real solutions. I suspect Aaron Rowand will be the best deal in CF, though even he'll likely be beyond our budget and, assuming he returns to fairly normal career levels, he'll likely just be another average bat in a mostly average lineup.

I don't really have any solutions ... I just know that the problems aren't as large as they seem. We might be out of it this year, but with a little luck, we might just land ourselves a top 10 draft pick and the opportunity to draft that big bat we've been yearning for and he'll show up just in time to lead BB's latest revival to the promised land.

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