Because Your Mind Is Really On Baseball Today...

Whether you support the candidate who promises to bring more offense to the middle infield, or the one who promises to bring Bobby Crosby; whether you voted today for Ozuna or McCann; whether you believe that revenue sharing is "socialism" or that Jamie Moyer would be a terrific candidate for president in about 17 years; no matter what your leanings, chances are that baseball and the A's feel strangely insignificant today and I think it would be like ignoring the "Elephant in the room" - hi Stomper!!! - not to acknowledge this.

To put it into baseball terms, today will be a day of either Jackie Robinson or Pam Postema historic significance and that's not even why you care. You care because there are more important things in the world than baseball. And you're here because you need a distraction and you seek out a community of people who are equally in need of a distraction, are equally insane in their passion for baseball and the A's, and are so mentally and verbally unstable so as to be entertaining. We can help.

If the A's pursue a free agent to upgrade the offense, their choices all come with significant downsides for which they must overpay anyway. I kind of sort them (in alphabetical order) as follows:

Casey Blake
Skills
(Blake is a good hitter and fielder, not a great one, and is not truly an "impact player")

Pat Burrell
Age (must pay for some decline years)
Defense (must add a poor OFer at a position where there are many good defensive OFers, and potentially good hitting OFers, who would be blocked.

Adam Dunn
Defense (must add a poor 1B/OFer at a position where there are many good defensive 1B/OFers, and potentially good hitting 1B/OFers, who would be blocked.
Left-handed (if you care)
Strickouts!!!!111 (sorry, I had to)

Rafael Furcal
Health (the A's, of all teams, should be wary of health questions)
Slugging (Furcal is the only player on this list who is not a real HR threat)

Jason Giambi
Age (even if he helps the A's get a bit better now, at 38 he will be gone by the time the A's expect to be special)
Defense (at 1B he makes your infield defense worse and at DH he forces you to play Cust in the OF)
Left-handed (if you care)

Manny Ramirez
Age (even if he helps the A's get a bit better now, at 38 he will be gone by the time the A's expect to be special)
Cost (Ramirez will be paid annually like Teixeira, but will have Manny's attitude and defense)

Mark Teixeira
Cost (the combination of Teixeira's ability and Scott Boras suggest that Teixeira will seek upwards of a 10 year and/or $200million commitment, creating a high level of risk and payroll allocation for even big market teams)

Interestingly the A's, whose already small (3rd lowest in MLB) payroll has recently shrunk even more with the departures of Harden and now Embree, could afford to put a whole lotta eggs in one basket and bid for Teixeira, who has the fewest negatives surrounding the combination of age, health, defense, and ability to balance an A's lineup. At 27 now, Teixeira will probably still be a good player in 10 years, when his annual salary will also seem more reasonable in comparison to how it will look on the day he signs his next contract.

It's an intriguing thought that the A's could make one huge splash, rather than several Blake/Giambi/Furcal type ripples, and could do precisely what they generally try to avoid doing: commit a high percentage of payroll to one player who might become the Jermaine Dye of five years ago or the Eric Chavez of today.

It's even exciting to think that by making one huge commitment one time, the A's could consider Daric Barton as expendable as Huston Street and the young lefty starter of your choice, and could dangle an awful lot of talent in order to solve deficiencies in areas such as SS.

And spending that kind of money on a single player, no matter what position they play or how the rest of your payroll looks at the moment, is almost always a mistake and is the kind of mistake that can haunt and cripple a team for years. Would it be this time, with this team?

 

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