First of all, the A's should at least have taken the opportunity to acquire someone named Michael Gromit. But I suppose Michael Taylor will do, seeing as he actually exists and appears to be quite the toolsy young man. With this post, I address three separate issues: How it felt, emotionally, to learn of this trade, how the trade looks to me, objectively, and how I predict the A's will move forward from here.
Emotionally, my first reaction when I heard about the (presumed) trade was, "Noooooo!" because I have spent the last year thinking about "Carter, Wallace, and Cardenas." That's been my mantra. I know, shocking that I haven't been focused on "Kennedy, Eveland, and Hairston," but I haven't been. What got me through the 2009 season, and was going to sustain me as long as need be in 2010? "Carter, Wallace, and Cardenas."
The A's haven't had a really good hitter come up for so long, and I was looking forward to seeing Wallace and the sweet swing I've heard so much about. So I can't help but have a visceral reaction of disappointment to learn that his Oakland A's career will fall 2 games short of one Ryan Langerhans.
Objectively, though, I like the trade. The odds are better than not that Wallace's future is not on the left side of the infield, though frankly I will follow his career with true fascination because opinions on his defensive potential are so varied. And for the A's to trade a 1Bman or DH who can hit, for an OFer who can hit -- and run, and play defense -- is simply a good deal.
The more I read about Taylor, the more excited I am. Here's a guy who appears to have the profile of Jermaine Dye and the potential to be better (or the same, or worse -- that's the thing about a prospect). He is just the kind of player Beane has been saying he's looking for this Winter: 23, full of tools, a potential impact player who, if he is good, could be with the A's for many years alongside the core of Suzuki, Sweeney, Barton, Anderson, Cahill, Bailey, Carter, Cardenas...
What's Next? I realize that Fox and McPherson might see some time at 3B and that Chavez will be Plan A for as long as it's possible, but I have to think the A's are now in a position to deal from the OF and address the infield.
I think Ryan Sweeney will be an everyday RFer, because he was so good defensively, and the A's clearly believe in him, that I don't see them moving him to another team or moving him out of RF. I think Rajai Davis will be the CFer, because he's pretty cheap, and gives you guaranteed good defense at a key defensive position. I think if not Opening Day, then soon after, Michael Taylor will be the LFer -- giving the A's, if they keep those three, a really good defensive OF. Carter starts at AAA, Cunningham is either 4th OFer or starts at AAA, and Hairston is either a 4th OFer, or is traded if there's interest.
Buck is trade bait. Might the Tigers, having shed Curtis Granderson, be interested in a cheap, LH OFer like Buck? Perhaps -- depends on whether they think he's any good. The A's should go after (I may have mentioned this once or twice before) Brandon Inge!!!!!!, offering Buck, or Hairston, as part of a trade that is largely a salary dump for Detroit, but is a chance to fill a real need for Oakland.
Maybe you end up with this lineup in April or May, with Carter on the way to make things really interesting:
Davis - CF
Barton - 1B
Sweeney - RF
Fox/McPherson - DH
Suzuki - C
Taylor - LF
Inge - 3B
Ellis - 2B
Pennington - SS
We're getting there, folks. And it's only December 15th...