2007 Oakland Athletics WTFs

As Hollywood enters the awards season, I just wanted to throw out some nominations for the WTF? Award, an award I am creating for AN this year and will become known for throughout AN over the next few years should I be able to stomach the way my favorite baseball team is managed off the field (I swear, whether we’re first or  worst, our customer service has always been horrible!)

Moving along, this year’s WTF? Award Nominees:

Dan Johnson

You’re averaging a homerun every 23 AB’s this year.  The same as Nick Swisher.  Overall you’re fourth on the team in HRs, RBIs, OBP and fifth in Hits, Total Bases and SLG among players with comparable AB’s (which, in it self is saying something—you’re 396 AB’s are fourth on the team).  Yet, you’re BA of .235 is ahead of only Crosby and Kendall for this year’s starters.  AND, you’ve been rightfully replaced at 1B and DH.  WTF?  One of the top offensive guys on the team and I’m not even going to argue to try and keep you (maybe see if you can learn to play RF or something) because you’re basically a more healthy Bobby Crosby.

Bobby Crosby

The words of Karl Ravech from early this season still ring loudly in my mind, causing both broken blood vessels and uncontrollable laughter.  They were something to the effect of "If healthy, this guy is an MVP candidate, right?" And yes, he was talking about you, Bobby Brittle Bones Crosby.

Hey, what do you want me to say?  This season you’ve got 15 less HRs than Cust in 12 less AB’s and you went into this season as a "franchise" player.  I mean, let’s face it, when healthy this year you couldn’t even put up DJ type numbers and DJ’s been replaced by a career minor leaguer and a rookie out of the minor leagues; neither of whom will be making close to the $9M you’re set to cash in over the next two years.

I mean, WTF.  Four seasons after Miggy left and I can remember him playing the field and standing in the box more vividly than you.  Freak accidents or just plain old bad luck aside, what have you ever done besides hit a few long balls your rookie year?  Your career BA is .240 and HR to AB ratio is 1:33 over 1600 AB’s (a pretty good sample size).

Rich Harden

You are my AN namesake.  The last of the Fearsome Foursome.  And yet you and Bobby Crosby have played so few games for this team that my 9 year old brother forgets your even on the team.  

I’ve seen you dominate in person and on television.  I’ve believed in your hype so much I refer to Haren as "the ace until Rich returns."  Look at how you started the season (1-1, 1.42 ERA with 20Ks in 19IP your first three games).  Look at what the A’s record is in games you start (21-7 coming into this year).  WTF!

Tell you what, I’ll make you a deal.  You make 10 conscecative starts next season and we’ll win a World Series, if you can’t or don’t, you have to give up playing baseball and help me coach my Little League team and my little brother – he’s small like you, but without the fastball.  Of course, he’s never missed a game, either.

Nick Swisher (late entry)

Nick, I like you. You’re good for the kids and the fans and while your tackling needs work (come on man, square up and lower your shoulder into his gut, not his ankles), I’ve little doubt you’re going to be a star in this league.

However, you’ve got to make the list because this season has been a down one for you offensively.  Last year you learned to hit the long ball and at the start of the season it seemed like you were understanding how to hit for average too as you hovered around .300 for a while.

So WTF happened?  You’re trailing late call up Cust in HRs, you’re average is more Chavey like than Miggy and you’re way off my predictions of a Canseco ’88 type season.  Granted, you’re probably clean, but, was a .300/30/100 season really too much to ask?  Are you an All-Star or a supporting player?

Billy Beane

Billy, I don’t worship you like the (blind) majority, but I do think you’re the best GM in all of baseball. A part of me wanted you to go to Boston just to see what you could do with that payroll, but I’m glad you stayed.  I think.

My WTF with you is two things.  1) How is it someone as intelligent and knowledgeable about baseball as you obviously are, be so naïve and ignorant to think that the goal of the season should be to make the play offs.  Yes, only eight teams make the play off and mathematically by making the playoffs you have a one in eight chance of winning the world series.  Yeah, and at the beginning of every season every team has a 1 in 30 shot at winning the series too!  Come on, just as everyone knows Pittsburg and the Giants don’t have a chance at winning it all, everyone knows that simply making the playoffs doesn’t give you a fair chance.

The goal is to win.  Not compete.  Win.  If you’re not doing everything you can (which, if I am to believe your quote about Wolff willing to spend more money to win) and you’re not doing it, then, well, genius or not, you’re not any good to me as a fan.  You’ve proven you can make the play offs.  Now prove you can win them.

My second WTF with you is this: what’s with continuously picking role players over stars?  Eric Chavez, role player to Miggy and Jason.  Nick Swisher, sadly, role player to Thomas/Bradley.  Zito, role player to Hudson.  Don’t get me wrong, Chavez was kick ass when he didn’t have to do the heavy lifting, Swisher was great last season with Frank carrying the load and Zito won a Cy following Hudson, but, these guys aren’t Batman—they’re Robin.

Without Batman, we’ll always be stuck playing side kicks to the likes of the Angels, Yanks and Indians.  

Who you voting for?  Who's missing from the list?

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