Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Tony Reagins is possibly interested in signing Bobby Abreu or Adam Dunn.
This concerns me greatly: for all the positive steps taken by the A's this offseason, by all reckonings (quantitative and qualitative) they have only really just drawn even with the Slegna. Beane has once again pushed the team into a position where they project to be competitive, not dominant, with several obvious and deep holes in the roster (shortstop, starting rotation, health status of Chavez and Ellis and Duchscherer).
Now, granted, this Dunn/Abreu-to-the-Slegna development could end up being merely the counter to the A's signing Garrett Anderson. In particular, the logjam of OFs (including the deadweight GMJr contract) on the Slegna roster, Kendrick at 1B, and Vlad's need (though not desire) to DH would seem to mitigate against Reagins inking Dunn.
Yet Dunn would certainly represent an upgrade over any of their OFs except Vlad (and perhaps Hunter) and a direct replacement for Teixeira in their batting lineup, and it's looking more and more likely that he'll be able to be obtained for a modest 1- or 2-year contract. It would certainly be a smart signing for the Slegna, to counter the A's developments while still leaving them financial flexibility to deal with their needs in '10 and beyond.
So my (rhetorical) question is this: If the Slegna were to sign Dunn (or, for that matter, Abreu, though if both are available for roughly equivalent costs I don't see any reason to choose Abreu, but whatev), what, if anything, could Beane do to make up the talent differential?
We've spent the entire winter Slap Chopping all the possible upgrades at SS and SP -- not only is there very little available, but what's available doesn't come close to Dunn's value.
I think a Dunn signing by the Slegna guarantees them the division by a healthy margin (and ensures that Holliday is gone by July 31st). If Beane's serious about contending in '09, he needs to either block Dunn from signing with the Slegna, or trade for JJ Hardy or a frontline SP. Me, I'd advocate packaging Holliday to fill either/both of those needs, and sign Dunn to replace Holliday's projected production, corner defense be damned.