I'm going to really try to stay as positive as possible while our Green and Gold guys battle through this funk they are in right now. I think this team still has a chance to contend this season with the personnel at-hand and obviously, with memories of Braden's Mother's Day Masterpiece still fresh in my head, there is still some nice, positive stories to fall back-on so far...
But as I look into the near future, there are two very irksome issues that are dashing my hopes for this organization. They aren't anything new to any of us, but I thought I'd throw out some of my latest thoughts regarding them to make myself feel better.
1) The Injuries: It sucks to (probably) lose Duke for another year. It sucks to be without Ellis for several weeks. Buck probably missed out on his last opportunity to be a productive member of the organization with his latest setback and that sucks. I'm sure we all really wish Joey Devine was setting-up or closing games out instead of handing innings to DFA-train...yes, all those things suck, but they certainly weren't totally unexpected. All of the four above guys are currently unavailable for basically lingering or reoccurring injuries and as they always say, the best predictor of future injury is...
You get the point. So I'm not really all that concerned/irritated/upset about those guys going on the DL. I'm not even all that upset about Wuertz, Suzuki or B Anderson and their woes or Coco. Those injuries seem like wear-and-tear issues that probably could have been better managed by the A's training staff, but aren't too debilitating for this organization long-term.
So, even after all that, I haven't been that doom and gloom about this team's health report. However, this morning I read something that sent me over the edge. If you don't subscribe to the oaklandclubhouse site on the Scout.com website, I apoligize that you won't be able to read the whole article below:
The gist of the story is thus:
- James Simmons is out and has been out for months now with "shoulder pain" that has yet to be properly diagnosed or identified by any physician.
- Dusty Coleman (overslot guy from 2008 draft) that played a pretty good shortstop and was an intriguing up-the-middle-bat, had a wrist-surgery that supposedly "hasn't heeled correctly" and will probably need another surgery to correct it...so he'll probably miss another season and will likely never hit for much power ever again.
- Michael Ynoa has experienced a myriad of small health issues (the latest being a back strain) that have kept him off the mound for a long while and have prevented him from debuting in a regular season professional game.
- REgarding Sean Doolittle, here is what Keith Lieppman says in the article:
"He is another player that is frustrated and we continue to struggle with figuring out exactly the issue is," said Lieppman
- THen there's Chad Lee, Chris Mederos, Jemile Weeks...all pretty talented recent draftees that have one issue or another keeping them off the playing field at the moment, not to mention guys like Andrew Carignan or FDLS who have been "rehabbing" for over a year now and haven't progressed much.
Seriously...the health issues facing this organization are ridiculous. I think I'm most mad about the Simmons and Doolittle situations. Regardless of their current prospect stature(s) (and once upon a time both players showed the potential to be big-league contributors) the fact that the organization is "still trying to figure out" what's wrong with both guys months/nearly a year after their original injuries is just incomprehensible. Couple that with the (probably) botched surgery on Coleman and the recent botched surgery of Braden...I mean, c'mon!
I don't know what to think about the health issues anymore. I mean, a lot was made a few seasons ago about this organization reorganizing and re-prioritizing health and training organization-wide...it's just not working...in fact, it's pretty clearly failing. This
team organization is doomed unless it can really find a way to deal with health issues in a much more manageable way...in fact, I think this organization really needs to make this a MAJOR priority from now on, and not just rearrange staff members and buy new exercise equipment. They need to approach managing medical issues like an undervalued commodity...find the best/most enlightened medical minds out there, aggressively seek them out and bring them into the organization and/or try out some radical training/treatment methods. This current situation is untenable.
2) Inability to Produce Offensive Talent: Seriously. I've written about this before numerous times, but I believe that A TON of this organization's future lies on the wide backs of Chris Carter and Michael Taylor. These guys need to become star-level offensive contributors fairly soon, or else this team will continue to get out-hit by most of the AL or this latest window of opportunity will close without a real chance at the playoffs.
There just isn't anyone beyond Taylor or Carter in the minors who legitimately profiles as a difference-maker and the current MLB squad is showing that it's clearly not able to score runs consistently or hit for any power. There's a slim chance that Beane could trade-off someone like Gio or Mazzaro or even Ross or CAhill for some type of offensive talent, but with this teams' injury issues, I don't think Beane would make a move that would impact the depth chart that adversely.
I might be overreacting a bit here to both of these issues, but, honestly not by much. I'm not worried about this organization's ability to consistently field a competent pitching staff. While the team still plays in the Coliseum, I'm fairly certain that Beane could put together 12 decent pitchers every year by simply trolling the waiver wire...however, his recent inability to put together a decent lineup year after year is truly mystifying...and troubling.
- It could be argued that Barton, Suzuki and Pennington have shown some semblance of offensive talent and they came up through the system recent; (for the most part). But even in best-case scenarios, these guys will likely top-out as good everyday players but not star-level contributors that can carry an offense.
- There's just no way that Beane will ever be able to lure premiere free agent hitters to Oakland...and without a really deep farm system, he won't be able to trade for marquee hitters either. This is why it's critical that he finds a way to develop one or two of these types of hitters ASAP.
- Beane's off-season and spot-managing attempts to really strengthen the fringes of the 40-man roster were somewhat prescient and a step in the right direction in terms of managing the crushing effect of the injury maelstrom...however, these efforts are just a band-aid on a massive hemorrhage. This team is not going to win a playoff spot this year or in at any time in the future if it has to really on major contributions from guys like Eric Patterson, Jake Fox or Adam Rosales.
So tell me AN, am I overreacting? Or am I justified in having such scary thoughts?