Ok, so basically I'm just going to give a few ideas that I've been having on things we can do to improve the team and the reasons for them.
TRADE FOR JJ HARDY AND PRINCE FIELDER
Ok, the reason this makes sense to me is this: The strong point of the A's organization is starting pitching and the weakness of the Brewers' is starting pitching. Solution? Trade starting pitching for The Brewers' SS and 1B, two holes currently looking to be filled.
This would provide a major upgrade at SS, looking at the following:
AVG RBI HR OBP SB
Hardy(26) .283 74 24 .343 2
Crosby(29) .237 61 7 .296 7
Looking at the upgrade at 1B, there are the stats combined form the past 2 seasons.
AVG HR RBI SLG OBP OPS
Fielder(24) .282 84 221 .526 .375 .901
Giambi(38) .242 46 135 .410 .349 .759
Barton(23) .243 13 55 .388 .341 .729
The number in parentheses is age at start of 2009 season.
Looking at these numbers, Fielder provides a huge upgrade over Barton, and a pretty large one over Giambi, who is the most rumored sucessor to Barton.
Now comes the big question: Who do we trade away? The current Brewer's rotation includes no starter who amassed more than 10 wins in 2008. I feel like with the Cards and Cubs looking strong for next year, the Brewers would be smart to consider 2009 a rebuilding year. Therefore, the package I would include is:
Fautino De Los Santos
*NOTE: Hardy makes 3 Mil less than Crosby in 2009 so if we managed to get rid of Crosby we'd have 3 Million more to spend in 2009 on my next step.
Which leads me to my next step...
SIGN DEREK LOWE
I think it would be wise to sign him to a 3/38 deal or something in that range. This would fit within the A's budget and would still be cheaper than what the A's would've given Furcal, a player coming off back surgery. Lowe pitched 211 innings last year, which would have been tops on the A's staff.
SIGN BEN SHEETS
He is going to be a steal for some team out there and many see him as the second best pitcher on the market (Behind Sabathia) and even ahead of AJ Burnett. People are concerned with injury prone-ness, but he managed to pitch 198 innings last year, which would've been the most on the A's. His 3.09 ERA was excellent, and he has true #1 stuff. Maybe a deal of 2/24 with incentives.
After these moves the A's will have a payroll of $61 Mil, which is 14 Mil higher than the Payroll the A's began the 2008 season with.
With these changes the Lineup and rotation would look like this:
Not only do I think this team can compete in 2009, I think it would be the favorites on the AL West by a long shot and could be a serious WS contender.