FanPost

Free Agents by WAR who are better than what we curently have (as of 8/16)

I might update this post at actual seasons end, but seeing as our season pretty much ended and we have infinity kazillion posts about upcoming free agents, it might be wise to look at actual numbers for once (kidding!) and see where we can upgrade by spending uncle Lew's money. There's a few out of position guys I missed, like Huff can play at like 3 or 4 different positions, but feel free to make amendments in the comments section to anything I might have missed.

CATCHER

Kurt Suzuki 1.4 WAR

Free Agents having better seasons:

Miguel Olivo: 3.1

John Buck: 1.9

Victor Martinez: 1.9

Ramon Hernandez: 1.8

Kurt is signed to a team-friendly deal, which in A's-speak means he's a valuable trade piece. He also is arguably not very good, as he is ranked 19th overall in WAR for catchers. Olivo's year has been influenced by a very high .357 BABIP, but he also ranks #1 in catcher defense, so he might be worth it. Buck is somewhat interesting, as is Ramon (whos old now). V-Mart is high profile, but as you can see, not really worth it as a C. Suzuki is a nice low-order piece who "handles pitchers well" whatever that means. I mean unless you have Mauer, Soto, McCann, Posey or Santana you might as well just take what you can get. Zooks is what we have and is somewhat of a known quantity. Unless Beane gets a Swisher-esque off for him (Boston does like him), I think we will hold.

 

FIRST BASE

Daric Barton 2.5

Free Agents having better seasons:

Aubrey Huff 4.2

Adam Dunn 3.5

Paul Konerko 2.8

Despite Dunn having a career year on defense, he still isnt worth maximum value unless he's DHing, which he doesnt want to do. For the life of me I cannot understand Aubrey Huff's year, but he is absolutely awesome now. Konerko doesnt represent a huge upgrade either. I would try and package Barton this winter just to see what the market is on him, and the fact that we have Carter. Barton's season could go either way at this point, if he starts hitting again he's going to be a 3+ WAR guy, if he continues being entirely uninspiring and mediocre, then he's closer to 2. Having a 2 WAR guy at 1B (when there are no 4+ guys at 2B or 3B) is not the recipe for a winning team. If Barton ends up 3+, keep for sure. If not...then make him compete with Carter in spring and perhaps trade one or the other.

 

SECOND BASE

Mark Ellis 0.7

Free Agents having better seasons:

Orlando Hudson 3.0

David Eckstien 1.6

This one hurts because it was such common knowledge that Orlando Hudson is a top 10 2B, and there he is, 9th in WAR right now. He gets paid less than Mark Ellis. If we are serious about winning then we have to cut ties with Ellis and sign O-Dawg at all costs, as he's clearly an upgrade. I used to read FireJoeMorgan constantly, so I want nothing to do with Eckstein, even though batting him at #2 and having him bunt is a far better option than Barton doing it. Either way, 2B is where we need an upgrade, Ellis isnt cutting it.

 

SHORTSTOP

Cliff Pennington 2.6

Free Agents having better seasons:

Alex Gonzalez 2.8

The SS WAR leaders in order: Furcal (grr), Tulo, Alexei Ramirez, Steven Drew, Alex Gonzlalez, Hanley Ramirez, Our Cliff. Yep, Cliff's a keeper.

 

THIRD BASE

Kevin Kouzmanoff 1.8

Free Agents having better seasons:

Adrian Beltre 5.4

This one really stings, doesnt it? Beltre should be ours for this year and the next 2. What is wild is that his OPS at Fenway is 150 points lower than his road OPS. Which means....he'd be mashing no matter where he played, including here. The funnier thing is, he probably wont get too huge a raise to the 3/24 we offered him this year as the market is as low as its going to get. The thing that many posters wont like is: Beltre is literally the only upgrade we can make over the weak-hitting Kouz. I still hold out faint hope Kouz will live up to his career numbers and put up a better 2nd half, but honestly, he's the only guy we can get here. Kouz, like Suzuki, is a great guy to stash in the 8th spot in the order, but we are hitting them both 4-5, thats why the offense is terrible. Id try again for Beltre, but dont like our chances here. Kouz is our 3B next year, most likely.

OUTFIELD

Coco Crisp 1.7

Rajai Davis 0.9

Ryan Sweeney 0.7

Free Agents having better seasons:

Carl Crawford 4.8

Aubrey Huff 4.2

Jayson Werth 3.6

David Dejesus 2.6

Magglio Ordonez 2.5

Johnny Damon 1.6

Scott Posednik 1.5

Austin Kearns 1.4

Manny Ramirez 1.4

Jason Kubel 1.0

 

Ah finally THIS is where we can go wild. Keeping Crisp in CF and getting literally any 2 from the above list makes this team better. Im sure we all have had that dream where you grab a paper and read the headline: "A's make the biggest splash this winter: sign Crawford, Werth & Beltre!" and strangely, there's nothing out there other than players not wanting to be here that is preventing that from happening. We have money. We also have a truly miserable offense. If we can upgrade at the corner OF spots alone, we are a contender. Its as easy as that.

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

Jack Cust 1.4

Free Agents having better seasons:

Aubrey Huff 4.2

David Ortiz 2.6

Jim Thome 2.0

Johnny Damon 1.6

Manny Ramirez 1.4

Damon strangely is not hurt from the time he spent in the OF, but Huff, Ortiz & Manny are. Thome is proving "once a hitter, always a hitter" and can still get it done as a DH full-time. I expect the exact or better production from Manny under the same scenario. We have the Carter/Barton/Cust conundrum at 1B/LF/DH. But Cust can easily be gone and id rather take regular everyday players who are getting too expensive than to wait around for Carter. Do I think Cust can be a 3+ WAR player next year? Probably not. Carter? Yeah, dont see him being more than 2. Manny? He could really be that 3+ DH. Ideally you want 3+ WAR players at every position. We are close in some areas, far far away in others. We really need Crawford here just so we know we will have that leader, that one sure thing. Werth would be incredible in RF too. After taking in all of the above, really the best offseason we could possibly have would leave us with this on opening day 2011:

LF: C. Crawford

2B: O. Hudson

1B: D. Barton

RF: J. Werth or M. Ordonez

DH: M. Ramirez

CF: C. Crisp

C: K. Suzuki

3B: K. Kouzmanoff

SS: C. Pennington

 

The most frustrating thing about this team is that we actually are only 2 bats away from competing. Those bats should be in the corner OF spots or at DH, but they are easily obtainable via FA. Id love to somehow trade for Uggla and his potential 5+ WAR, in fact Id trade any of our current team for it. As it stands, we really need to upgrade at 2B, LF & RF. Those should be our targets for November. If we roll Ellis out again for another go-around, then that is just proof that Beane is watching soccer and doesn't really care about this team.

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