In Blez's great interview with Beane over the last 2 two days, he seemed a little jumpy about re-signing AK, with the idea that he can man 3B until Wallace is ready and can provide depth at 2B and even the OF if needed. Beane gave off the vibe that "its an option we can look at". I had a spare hour to write about this, so in this post, Im going to tell you why this is a terrible idea, and who we should be looking at.
AK was in 2 words, surprisingly awesome for long stretches of 2009, and that was a good thing. It didnt help us as much as we thought initially though, as his defense at 3B went from passable to atrocious pretty quickly. He's a 2B by nature as much as we can try to force the round peg into the square hole, its not a long term solution by any means as the peg will fall out all the time. But it wasnt his defense that we liked, it was his bat, a bat that gave us pretty decent hitting from a position we hadnt seen it from since Chavez. However, that bat was helped greatly by a .330 BABIP, as AK is definitely a player who BABIP is a trustworthy stat, his fluctuates year by year because he's a slap hitter, this year he was somewhat lucky, however, if he has another 2007 where he was unlucky, any team that gets him is going to be getting some of the worst offensive numbers in the game.
So, the question is here: do we really want an out-of-position guy who can put up numbers ranging from pretty decent to completely horrific? Of course not, we're the A's, our offense is already terrible, why would we have a defensive liability who is a potential disaster with the bat? Funny thing, over the last 4 years, he was worth $15.7 in WAR dollars, guess who was worth $15.1 in that same time frame? Jack Hannahan.
So, that being said: who could the A's target? Do we wait until ST and maybe Wallace will learn some tricks in the offseason (any chance we can get him to workout with Chavvy?) and do we get that extremely bad stopgap guy like AK (who's going to be more expensive than the $1.5MM he's worth) or any of the cringe-worthy pack of Rich Aurilla/Geoff Blum/Aaron Boone/Craig Counsell/Mike Lamb/Mark Loretta/Pablo Ozuna/Robb Quinlan/Juan Uribe? If Wallace's bat shows that its more than ready for the show and its his D that needs polishing at AAA until June, I guess any of thoe dudes on a minor league deal would be fine, maybe they would get lucky like AK? If Beane decides the division isnt up for grabs like it was this year, its a risk a non-contending team can take. Or we could sign a FA to a short-term deal and just get Wallace as many innings at AAA 3B as he needs.Id prefer we bring someone in and let Wallace have a year to mature fully as a player. Here's the "marquee" 3B FAs:
Guaranteed awesome defense, the bats the thing with him. He had that insane 48 HR year in LAD (how the HELL did he do that?). He's a notoriously steady babip, he's a flyball hitter and sadly most of those have been staying in the park. His raw numbers were awful this year, so a multi-year deal isnt in the cards. He would be a great solution in a 1-year stopgap option, and we wouldnt have to think about rushing Wallace. He's risky, but it might one worth taking. He's a Boras guy, and who knows where we stand with his clients, plus the Twins have been flirting pretty heavily with him too. I honestly dont think we get him.
Here's an interesting one, he claims he's going to be as healthy as he's ever been in 2010, which is a nice thing to say, sadly his career says otherwise. He's a poor mans Beltre, his bat will always be worse and his glove is top 5 in the game, but Beltre is ahead of him there too. He's also a rich man's Jack Hannahan, who we had. Honestly, on a 1 year deal, he's good. A Boras client, what are the odds he could be had for under $3MM? At that price, Id take a flyer on him.
A bat we need, and his is good. His 2008 was extremely awesome. His glove is questionable but his 08 D was pretty good and better than league average. We seriously need to need to put in a bid on him, if only for the chance that we get him 2/3 as good as his 2008 was.
Ahh Miggy...such a weird player. He definitely used roids, you cant convince me he didnt. He's a somewhat good hitter and hasnt ever played 3B and will have to learn it to survive, as SS defense as bad as his is means the end for a lot of players not named Jeter. If he's available for $2MM and the other options are scrapheap guys, I guess we take him back, although Im not stoked on him. He will be healthy I guess....
We have Jeff Baisley, Eric Chavez, Gregorio Petit, Brett Wallace and technically Adrian Cardenas, if you count the 6 games he played there at AAA in 09. I mean yeah, Petit could cover Wallace until Wallace's D is ready. Maybe Baisley will hit like less like Hannahan's autistic cousin (super obscure joke, sorry) and more like a passable mlb regular. Thats the thing, hile we have plenty of 1B options that range from A+ prospect (Carter), injured but B+ prospect (Dolittle) failing A+ prospect (Barton), suitable short-term fill-in (Everidge) we simply dont have that depth at 3B right now. If Cardenas hits .450 in April and plays like Brooks Robinson at 3B when he gets the chance, yeah he could be an option too. Lastly, do we count on Chavez for 30 or so games or not bother with him?
Kevin Kouzmanoff: He's blocking Headley and his bat might one day be league average. His defense is pretty good. He's an option but SD knows what they have with him and are supposedly asking a lot.
Mike Lowell: With Boston talking about new 1B options, Youk moves to 3B and Lowell becomes the odd man out. His D is up and down, he does some things extremely well, such as fielding slow rollers, but when it comes to line drives he's among the worst going. His bat moves from league average to excellent. Depending on what the RS want, it would be a smart option to listen. He makes $12MM so obviously the RS would need to take a chunk of that.
Mark Teahen: He's godawful at defense and not very good at hitting. Please no.
Alex Gordon: H-Rod, Barton & Buck for Gordon, who says no? Before biting my head off I see: flawed prospect, failing and blocked prospect and failed prospect for a guy who had Weiters-esque hype when he arrived. seems like a good package for KC, and an absurd bounty for us if he ever gets healthy/finds his stroke again.
Garrett Atkins: would be on the 'reclamation project who doesnt matter if our intention is to bring up Wallace at some point anyway' but other than that, no. hes awful at baseball now.
Jake Fox: I dont trust this guy, shoddy D, good in SSS with the bat, star of the "free Jake Fox" campaign over at fangraphs. His D really isnt good at all, like, why bother trading a player when Glaus is available for just money, and not a ton of it either?
So, there it is, Purple Haze the album---I mean our 3B situation and the options we have internally and externally. Feel free to discuss any other options I may have missed.