I was reading Wollf's comments the other day when he said that we were going to add a big bat in the offseason to our lineup and it got me thinking. So, I started digging to see where our offense could use some improvements or if we even need to add a big bat. We might be able to address this issue internally.
There is no denying that the A's were terrible offensively this season. Crosby (.242), Ellis (.233), Cust (.229), Hannahan (.218), and Barton (.216) were all in the bottom seven in BA for the AL this year. Collectively, largely because of the infield, Oakland placed last in just about every offensive category.
So what does all this mean? We need to make some improvements. As it appears for next year, Barton will be starting at first base. Ellis will most likely be replaced either by Pennington, or Patterson. Crosby will most likely be the starting at short and Hannahan will hopefully be replaced by anyonet, but probably Pennington.
Do we want more offense or worse defense? Barton has had issues at first, Penington/Patterson will be worse than a gold glove caliber Ellis. Crosby remains the same, and I'm not sure how Pennington's glove or _____ will be compared to Hannahan at third who has had a good year defensively.
Do we want worse defense to make up for the anemic offense? Does worse defense hurt our pitchers, or does more offense give them confidence? I realize that we have many young pitchers who would like good defense, but if we can't score any runs then we are sure to lose anyways. Greg Smith had 14 games with 2 runs or less of offensive support this year. How much pressure does that put on a young pitcher?
I think that we should start Barton in AAA next year so that he can gain confidence, and bring him up in the year when he shows he can hit Major League pitching on a consistent basis. With the offensive logjam, maybe we could have Sweeney/Cunningham/Chavez play first until Barton returns? I don't know if they have played first before, but we could try them out for a while.
As much as I like Ellis, I don't think he's in the plans for the future. We should start Patterson and see what he can do there until Cardenas is ready to take over. Patterson will be a butcher compared to Ellis, but I think that his projected offense, with regular at bats would have to be better than Ellis this year. Besides, there is no way of knowing what will happen to Ellis' career after his shoulder injury.
I know that some people are against this, but I would like the A's to sign Furcal. I'm tired of seeing Crosby on the field and hearing his poor/entitled attitude. I know that Furcal had back injuries this season, but he won't even cost a draft pick due to the amount of time that he lost this year. Crosby (.972) and Furcal's (.967) defensive fielding percentage are very similar, and we would get another burner on the base paths, seeing as we have been running a lot more lately.
At third, I would love to see the A's trade for Ian Stewart. I don't think that getting Encarnacion or Kouzmanoff would be good enough. If we're going to be serious about making a run for contention, then we will need top talent. Duke/Street for Stewart/prospects should be more than enough to make that happen. They want a front line starter and aren't looking to retain Fuentes. With Devine getting a save today, it appears that he is being groomed as the future closer. If any trade doesn't happen, then start Pennington. It has become painful to watch Hannahan at the plate.
With all of these position changes, there is no way that we would have the same sad offense we had this year. Look, despite all that we have gone through this year, we still have the third best ERA in the AL, 4.18. If we can start averaging more than 3.99 R/G, even make it to middle of the pack, we could definitely make a run for the playoffs next year.
This was my first post. What do you think? Feedback?