As we all know, the A's are in a parculiar position. They are 5.0 games behind the Angels in the West and 3.0 Games behind Tampa bay in the Wild Card, with the Angels looking for an easy win today (8-2 right now against the Nats). The A's are 41-34 with a .547 Win %, yet a 44-31 Pythag Record based on Run Differential.
This year was supposed t be a rebuilding year, yet the A's find themselves within striking distance, at least for the Wild Card. The rotation has been very strong, but the offense has been a dissapointment. The Rookies have not hit, the Veterans have struggled, and the good hitters have hit the DL.
But the A's could contend. The question is how many more bats are they away from having a chance to win every game, and not alternate shutouts and blowouts? Frank Thomas should be back in July, Ryan Sweeney has come out and started to hit and could take over CF with Cust staying in Left Field, which means that a Corner Outfield spot could be open if Patrol Craft was sent down. Daric Barton's struggles at first base could mean we could demote him back to AAA and acquire a slugging 1B. There is always the possibility that we could replace Mark Ellis with a better hitting 2B such as Polanco or Roberts, but suffer defensivly. Bobby Crosby could be replaced, though it does not appear there are any decent SS's available to my knowledge.
So we could go out and grab a good hitting 1B and RF, and instantly the lineup would improve and could even become quite a good one. But to acquire those guys would require dealing prospects, and we just dealt Dan Haren and Nick Swisher to get those prospects in order to rebuild.
On the flip side of the coin, the A's pitching performances could net the the team a bounty in prospects in the coming month till the trading deadline. Justin Duchscherer and Rich Harden are both healthy and dominant, with a year left on their contacts. Joe Blanton is struggling, and we'd have to hope he would have a great month, get his ERA under 4.00 and up his value. Eveland and Smith might even be prime candidates to deal if the A's believe that this is their peak value they'll have, and we always have a replacement starter in Chad Gaudin to step in if one is dealt.
But our AAA options are limited, with Gio Gonzalez struggling a lot, and our best pitching prospects in Double A or lower, with no signs of being MLB Ready any time soon. Simmons is coming off injury, Cahill and Anderson were just promoted and Henry Rodriguez failed in his first try in Midland.
But, if this is a rebuilding year, and we are firm with that and recognize it for what it was, with so many teams desperate for pitching, it is time time to strike. So what can we get for our starters and relievers, of which we have so many stockpiled?
As for offensive trade targets, there are several out there;
OF Jason Bay PIT (my pick)
OF Matt Holliday COL
1B Mark Teixiera ATL (very expensive pickup, most likely)
1B/OF Adam Dunn CIN (An expensive Jack Cust)
1B Aubrey Huff BAL
?? Matt LaPorta MIL
OF Xavier Nady PIT
Who else is out there?