Seemed like a new thread might be in order, so I thought I’d offer one with a few stray thoughts (bullets not available for 5 days in California – but bullet points are!):
• The A’s are good both at scouting and at player development, so one can assume that in at least some of the players acquired, Oakland felt that regardless of good they look on the stat sheet now, the player can turn into something special under A’s coaching. Remember that Sean Gallagher will become “Sean Gallagher under Curt Young’s guidance,” Patterson’s physical talent will intersect with the A’s minor league instruction and organizational philosophies, and so on. It doesn’t matter how good these guys would have been with the Cubs – what matters is how good they can be with the A’s.
• The moment Harden goes down for the count (3-0 if Eveland is pitching, but that’s another thread), the trade will look good. Put me in the camp that believes the A’s expect to see that happen before the season ends.
• It’s clear that the A’s, just two games back of the Wild Card in the loss column, looked at their team and said, “There’s just no way,” because there is a real psychological cost to pulling the rug out from under a team that has competed against all odds. Perhaps Frank Thomas’ MRI report was unfavorable, or perhaps Beane knows in his heart that the team has overachieved, to this point, beyond what is sustainable for another 2.5 months.
• I have to agree with those who say “Where’s the one potential ‘impact bat’” because the opportunity, when you trade someone as talented as Harden, is to get what you so desperately need and can’t afford on the free agent market. If the A’s got that hitter, I don’t see him, so that’s disappointing.
What the heck, though – let’s just keep doing it with mirrors and confound the pundits, this year and beyond.