If you're serious about fixing 3rd base, here's the way to go

It’s obvious that the A’s need a new 3B.


Chavez’s shoulder won’t let him make the necessary throws, Hannahan can’t hit and Jeff Baisley is, well, Jeff Baisley. What do we want from a new 3B? Let’s make a list:


Good, reliable defense.

Above average offense, preferably with 20 homerun RH pop.


Young enough to maybe give us some peak years production.

Under team control long enough to help the A’s compete in a couple years.


Doesn’t cost us Brett Anderson or Trevor Cahill to acquire.


Sounds doable.

I think I know a way to get all that but there’s a bit of a problem. The problem is the A’s lack a necessary piece needed to make the trade I envision. They need a young, B-grade or better SP who spent the 2008 primarily in A-ball. In essence, they need another Anderson or Cahill, pre-2008 version. Fortunately there’s a solution to this problem and his name is Huston Street. No, Street can’t be offered up in lieu of the unnamed prospect but he can be dealt to another team for a package that includes our A-ball hurler. Street is certainly worth more then 1 A-ball arm but the rest of that package isn’t relevant to my latest trade proposal.


The A’s need to pursue Washington Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman. And I mean it when I say pursue… the Nationals aren’t shopping Zimmerman. The A’s are going to have to go after him.


Let’s start with all the negatives that some people will fixate on when talking about this idea. Washington GM Jim Bowden is a tough person to deal with. Ryan Zimmerman is exactly the kind of young, talented player a team like the Nationals should be trying to build around. Zimmerman missed time earlier in the year do to a left shoulder injury, luckily he avoided surgery and is supposed to be fully recovered. (He’s hitting 313/366/489 since August 1, proof enough?) He could stand to draw a few more walks.


As to why A’s fans should want Mr. Zimmerman, let’s go back to our list. Zimmerman turns 24 in December and is under team control for 3 more seasons. According to the guy who runs Federal Baseball (SBN’s Nationals site) Ryan doesn’t seem to want to go through arbitration the next three years, he’d prefer a contract that covers the next few seasons. Assuming that’s true, I’d want to give him a contract similar to what the A’s gave Swisher a year ago. Sign him through his arby years at $3.5/5.5/7 million, $10 million to cover his first year of FA eligibility in 2012 and a $13 million option for 2013. Something along that line should suffice and those are his peak years at an affordable sticker price.


What would it take to make this happen? Again, talking to Ed over at Federal Baseball, it looks like a deal could be had that didn’t involve Anderson or Cahill if the A’s could find that A-ball arm I was talking about earlier. Mr. Doe, together with Mazzaro, Barton and Cardenas might be enough to land Zimmerman. In a strange twist, I was actually the one arguing that it should cost more to land Zimmerman! Bowden loves guys with tools and with Nick Johnson and Dimitri Young on the books through 2009 he doesn’t need a 1B ready to play in Washington on Day 1. That’s why I think Bowden would ask for Chris Carter instead of Barton. And since Bowden likes to push, he’d also want Henry Rodriguez. Rodriguez has the kind of power arm that Bowden tends to covet and today’s trade market has pushed quantity over quality.


So my official trade proposal is Mr. Doe/Mazzaro/Carter/Rodriguez/Cardenas for Ryan Zimmerman. A steep price to be sure, but a low-cost, Gold-Glove caliber 3B with 25 HR pop is hard to come by. Keep in mind this is the high end of what it would cost to acquire Zimmerman. I’d be perfectly willing to close the deal for less! In fact, I’m half tempted to scratch out Cardenas’ name from the list because I kinda doubt Bowden would push for Carter and Cardenas. On the other hand, if Bowden did push for both I wouldn't let Adrian Cardenas keep me from landing Ryan Zimmerman.


I’m sure some people are going to be put off by Carter’s inclusion in the mix. Believe me, I’d much rather it be Barton who got sent packing but that switch makes almost no sense for the Nationals. I’d ask for Carter if I was in Bowden’s shoes, why would I expect him to want less then me? This is why my last diary pushed so strongly for the A’s to sign a FA slugger, because I knew that Chris Carter wasn’t going to be an option if I somehow got my way in all this talk. The biggest hole in Washington’s organization is at 1B and Chris Carter’s 40 HR power potential offers the chance to change that. Add in an advanced SP prospect like Mazzaro and a promising young stud like Mr. Doe and I think the A’s are roughly three-quarters of the way to landing Ryan Zimmerman.


Let me know what you think.

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