Oakland has an interesting road ahead. One thing I believe is that in many cases in MLB things are discussed at a fairly high level, and because of the nature of the subject, and the desire to roll things out with the right timing, they are kept very quite. I believe that something has already come down the pipeline on the stadium situation where a vote is planned or an answer is decided. I don't believe that Oakland would have moved so heavily in the direction they have, simply to put more pressure on a situation their still in the dark about. They know something is happening expect an announcement before spring training begins. I take the fact that Selig recently paid the Giants a personal visit to discuss this topic, the fact Cahill was just dealt, and the fact the Giants are now suing over the rights, to mean things will be decided soon. I believe Seligs meeting with the Giants was either to inform them of a dicision in favor of the Athletics, or a notification that a vote would be held at the owners meeting and the votes are already confirmed in order to push it through. I know Jerry Rhiensdorff has thrown in his support of the Athletics, and his opionions carry a lot of clout with the other owners.
I am continuing this post under the supposition that this is the case because no other explination fits based off the last month and a half of actions. I believe that rebuilding makes sense for Oakland right now based on more then just the stadium situation. The actions of the Angels, and I expect at least some sort of splash out of Texas before its all said and done, means that the A's will have virtually no chance of competing over the 2012-2013 seasons where they are as an organization. The upside of this situation is that both teams in question are in the position where by the 2014 seasons in order to simply maintain the peices they currently have, it will cost considerably more, with several of those players beginning to age(Lets face it Texas having stupid crazy good luck at converting bullpen arms to frontline starters can not continue indefinantly, and they have been getting a pitching staff for pennies to support their offense).The Pujols signing is amazing if their moving since in my opinion that deal is only going to even look like it has a hope in hell of not being an albatross for two years three tops, then a very 2002 A-rod Rangers situation will take effect. The A's being a pitching built team wont be as intimidated by an overpaid aging slugger as others might.
An aside I think its ridicules that the Cards wouldn't pony up for Albert they were the one team where it would have been fair, if you look at values Albert over his current career with STL they have under paid him against his earnings to the tune of 193mm. If they match Anaheim's offer it only requires him to put up 60-70mm WAR value over the next decade for him to be fairly compensated for his value. I highly doubt he's going to put many 40mm value seasons up going into his mid thirties, and while his peripheral value to the Cardinals is high, and he has the justification of having over produced to balance against down years. With the Angles it will be a completely different story fans will not be tolerant of the highest paid player on the franchise not living up to his contract, and my guess would be a max of 100-135mm in value produced over the life of it. It's a real shame for Albert that the Cards weren't willing to bite the bullet and give him a fair contract based on the previous deal. Albert I believe will come to regret his decision, for in St. Luis he would have been adored forever, but in Anaheim he will come to be hated for the future burden he lays on their franchise. He will ask himself later if the 40mm difference in the offers was really worth the outcome.
The thing the A's need to beat into their own heads is patience, patience, patience the Cahill trade was ill timed and poorly valued. The plan for the A's should be to deal only from areas of large depth, and only when over valued. The reality of the situation is that if they are moving on the best possible timeline into a new stadium, the absolute earliest they would be taking up residence would be 2016. I am assuming even if things are in progress in January they will take at least a year to finsh the land deals and wrap up whatever fight the Giants throw their way. Under the usual circumstances it will take them three years to get into the new stadium at the least. The timeline provided means their is absolutly no rush to do anything right now. If the A's have a stadium happening its ok for them to lose to teams spending tons to, "win now", and if they are in rebuild mode they will be getting progressivly better as more players hit the majors and begin contributing. I would like them to be active on the trade market in a slighltly diffrent way. I believe the A's should sit on their own players unless stupidly suicidaly overwhelmed, but look to scavange the FA market once it has thinned for Grady Sizemore type bounce backs, players left jobless Maholm, Webb, outside shot Beltran who you could deal at the deadline. They need to find players that they are able to trade since they have lots of roster space, and with a stadium deal a win then mentality. They can take advantage of there situation to sign players with the idea of manufacturing value then turning for prospects. If you look at what Sandy's been doing with the Mets he landed Zach Wheeler for Beltran, who I believe has a no arb offer claus in his contract, which in my opinion was SF massivly over paying since they got two months and not one prospect to replace Wheeler. One other advantage to laying off the market other then good investment deals late, is that it will keep plenty of room for waiver claims when anything good comes up and if the team is sucking they will be claiming high. They also will be picking up three additional picks from Dejesus, and Willingham in the next draft, along with lottery picks in the next few. I don't think the team should deal till they pick up this draft crop and see which positions they need a prospect for following that.
One thing that will very much work to the A's advantage in the next few seasons as they look to rebuild and move, is the new CBA. Oakland will receive five picks in the first eighty in the upcoming draft. They have also shown a persistence in signing most picks at or a little below slot recommendation, so they will stay eligible for the new draft lottery. A few 68-94 rebuild season means they should be getting an average of two additional picks in the top fifty. They stand to benefit greatly from the new CBA to build a solid base to bring to a new stadium.
I will look more in depth at players in a moment, but I want to make one observation right now. I think Trevor Cahill, signed to the terms he was, will be worth far more in WAR, and will be valued cost against production, much better the Jimenez will for Cleveland. I believe the Rockies got a far superior package(based in no small part on when he was dealt) then the A's did for Cahill. Cahill and Jimenez are good compareables since both had very strong 2010 seasons, and both were not in quite the same form this season. The comparison in value becomes skewed to Cahill more heavily since he in my opinion had head mechanics issues based on the situation around him, whereas Jimenez was dealing with injury, and a decline in velocity when traded. If the A's had made no move hung on to everyone and just moved forward to 2012. Trevor would have been able to spend half a season without nearly the pressure to win he had last year. By mid season be in the running for Cy Young status, which would have been worth two top ten prospects at the deadline. The Yankees will be in the mix when Nova gets hurt, and Garcia/Hughes flop, or some other equally likely scenario happens. The Yankees would have then opened the bidding with Montero, Banuellos, and others. Any other interested team would be attempting to outbid, and team control of an ace(see april comparisons to Halladay) for less then 15mm a year on the end of it, would be worth the largest haul in recent memory. Cahill is good, really good despite the leagues looking at him as a number three starter, and in my opinion his struggles this year were very easy to explain. Trevor a 23 year old signed a 30mm contract while enjoying one of the top three starts of any pitcher in baseball. Within a week half of the rotation around him got hurt and the offense went cold(Barton, Ellis, and Kouz all had respectable numbers heading into May). Now this 23 year old kid who has made maybe 2mm in his entire carrier is garunteed enough to be set for life, and must now carry a team that looks very different from a week previously. Of course Trevor's head got messed up and he simply lost his ability to find the strike zone, but you send the kid to a sports psychologist, and for the rest of that contract you have a bona fide frontline ace. Billy young Roy Halladays(who himself had some down years speckled in the beginning of his carrier) are worth way F...ing more the Parker, Cowgill, and Cook. My main point is the team does not need roster headlines to motivate the fan base when a stadium announcement alone will do all that they need. So stop giving away players just to say your doing something, and start combing the free agent market so you can snag the underpaid bargains at the end that will be expendable and worth a Collin Cowgill at the deadline by themselves. Make a list of guys that you want so that any left at the end cheap, can be grabbed for mid season value at little risk. Only look to deal a player like Cahill or Gonzalez when they are peaking, and a perfect storm in the market presents itself. You have the better part of four years to wait for these things, and very good opportunities will present themselves. A last note here on Cahill is that had they not dealt him, he would have been under team friendly terms until after they were residence somewhere else able to expand payroll and keep him beyond this contract. The team will also be afforded low expectations, so they will have room and opportunity to give players some real time to prove themselves, and work out the kinks at the big league level.
I will now look player by player at a large portion of the organization for individual assesment and strategy.
Prospective depth chart:
Brandon Allen: I think this is the answer by mid season. Brandon showed amazing athleticism with Oakland, and started out very hot with the team. I remember watching the games and for the next couple weeks he was smoking line drives right at people. I saw his confidence fade from his swing and the results were not as good. I feel like first base is his job to lose in ST, and that having the spring to get going under less pressure to build a head of steam before the season starts will benefit him.
Daric Barton: Barton does not in my opinion have a long term role with the club. I think 2010 Barton has value, and would be worth some talent in a trade to a team, but he must show that his poor 2011 performance was related to his mid-season surgery in order to get that value back. I would like to see them get him going enough to get something for him then move on. Daric just doesnt profile signifigantly better defensively then Allen, but has a much less desirable offensive upside. He did lead the team in WAR in 2010 so getting his value back and dealing him would be a good situation.
Kila monster: I dont know nearly as much about Kila as some of the longer tenuered A's. I do remember him being in slightly higher regard last spring. If he has some versatility he might find an oppertunity, or he could be a good contributer to another River Cats post season run next year.
Chris Carter: As much as people dog the shit out of Carters defense, he had a reasonably error free season at first in AAA(most of his errors were in the outfield only one or two came at first). He wasn't smooth, but also wasnt terrible in his few starts at first in the bigs last year. I think DH is Carters job to lose next year as it sits, and honstly I think he deserves it. Carter seems to lack confidence and it effects his swing in similar fashion to Allen. They lose focus, and their swing seems to slow and get off balance. I think the only real confident time we have seen out of Carter was his second 2010 call up where he struggled went down got hot, and came back to a team that was out of contention, he then hit .330 with a few jacks in his last handful of games. In my gut I think his injury hampered off season last year, and the "produce to stay" mentality of his callups has limited him below his capeablities. Give him a roster spot out of spring, and let him start hot or cold for a while and once HE feels he is where he's supposed to be, and proves to himself he belongs, we will see the Carter we have been expecting.
Jemile Weeks: Thats all I need. This kid is going to be very dynamic for a very long time! Think .320/.385/.420 with 11HR 70RBI 95R 40SB. I dont think I want anyone else leading off for me unless they find an anti-aging treatment for Ricky. I think Jemile has gold glove potential, he is very Athletic, and has shown big play potential. His fielding is the area in which he needs to improve, but the raw materials for an allstar second baseman are there. This kid is athletic and focused with an eye for improving his weak spots expect him to surprise on defensive value eventually.
Who else do you need this kid wants to play he will take up the glove 162 games next year if they let him, and pure utility goes somewhere else.
Cliff Pennington: He is the splenda of SS, Cliff has the potential to be a plus defender, but the "he makes to many errors because he's to good" excuse is really old. I define a top level defensive SS as someone who is smart enough to hold the ball when he knows the errors coming. Cliff needs to get smarter on defense, and his hands can be a little clanky at times. Offenesively he's alright, and showing improvement. He needs to figure out what was going wrong with SB/CS in 2011, but on a whole he's progressing behind the plate. If Cliff tightens up the defense, and continues to improve offensively, he will serve the team well at short until a star comes along to displace him.
Grant Green: I'm still slightly confused by the move from SS to center, I dont think Green profiled as an elite defender at short, but he's very athletic with work he should be able to play major league SS. I think keeping him at short provides above average offensive power at a premium position usually lacking in the raw power Green has shown. I believe he may eventually transition back to SS with Choice profiling better defensivly in center, and the potential that Taylor along with others might lock down the corners. Green would then profile as a potential downgrade at SS defensivly, but a big upgrade with the bat. Green has the offensive upside of a three or five hitter. Grant is a very outside chance to crack the roster out of spring, but I think after he went off in the AAA playoffs he will be starting the season their, and if someone goes down or gets moved mid season, Grant should get a shot at some playing time if the team feels his defense is progressing(this scenario is much less likely at SS then say RF).
Scott Sizemore: Scott was good. I like what I saw from him he hit well, at times very well, others not so much, but he still managed to be one of only three players last season with Weeks and Willingham, that produced positive oWAR. Scott was a top prospect for Detroit until he was hurt, and he transitioned to third only this season. I thought he played better then should be expected when learning a new position on the fly. Scott is hands down the incumbent third baseman in ST, and I think he may be able to develop into a some what permanent solution. After all he is almost comparable to Weeks in service time, so look for him to improve on both sides of things.
I cant think of another third baseman with any chance of cracking the MLB roster in the farm system, there are a few canedits to switch to third Barton or Kila perhaps, but the team could use some higher ceiling depth here. I would say I like Sizemore, but he still needs to prove some things before I would ignore looking for depth. There are a few nice prospects in the minors, but the best of them would be looking at getting his call-up in San Jose still being only seventeen.
Kurt Suzuki: Kurt's good, very much so from the game calling aspect, but he has in some degrees been regressing, and needs to consistantly produce at more his 2009 numbers. I think Suzuki, when you factor in what he does with the pitching staff, is and should be the starting catcher until Stassi can take over the position. Tell Kurt to spend all offseason with a bucket of balls doing popups and throws to a second base target though.
Landon Powell: Nice guy, but he's had longer then he deserves based on performance to establish himself. Im sorry but he just can't hit or run in the bigs end of story move on. I think the only reason he has been in the position he is for so long is the complete lack of depth at the position, but they have a couple of guys that one or the other of can out produce Landon. I think he gets non-tendered, and there probably isn't anyone willing to give anything for him either so just let this one go.
Recker/Donaldson: Unheralded, unproven prospects in their late twenties. I think they could outplay Powell, but I don't know if either would be better then a cheap veteran FA.
Max Stassi: A high school catcher that the A's managed to sign outside the first round when he was un-drafted under the assumption he would not sign. The A's convinced him to forgo college in lew of signing, and it might be more preferable for them to have locked him up young letting him develop in the farm system instead of college. I have heard as a now nineteen year old he is able to call a game at the level of a advanced minor league catcher, and he can hit. This kid knows baseball when Suzuki is usurped from his starting roll expect Stassi to be the incoming prodigy, likely after 2014 when Suzuki's current contract is finished.
Michael Taylor: Taylor had an average call-up where he deserves a longer look. This is a guy like Carter where its really at the point on a rebuilding team, that these guys need to be given a long enough look where you have your answer. Taylor and Carter were top level prospects not long ago, and if you look at them for fifty AB you will never get a true idea. I think both these guys should be given starting jobs, and let them sink or swim over 80-160 games. One thing that will put people in the seats in Oakland this year is if some of these guys break out like Weeks has. You get a team with three or four Hosmer types on it and fans will come if your going to the playoffs or not. Mostly with the way the division is shaping up there is nothing to lose right now.
Jermain Mitchell: Mitchell took some big strides forward in 2011 and was impressive in doing so. I think that he still might not be completely ready to play in the majors, but he is close. Mitchell is dealing with some minor injuries, and may be unable to start the season till May/June, so I think he will start in AAA, but it is very possible, if their is room, for him to sharpen up in AAA then move up to the big league club mid season.
Michael Choice: Not quite big league ready, but also operating in a situation where if he is ready the road is wide open. Choice has been more and more impressive. He shined in the minors this year showcasing power, speed, and defensive ability. Choice then tore up the fall leagues, and is a decent lock for mlb top fifty prospects next year. I think Choice will at least start in AA and expect him in AAA by mid season if he keeps progressing. Choice is the center fielder of the future for the Athletics.
Jai Miller: I like Jai a lot he is Willie Mays esq. at times watch some defensive highlights from the River Cats this dude can move like he's on fire. His power is awsome Jai knocked three shots out to each field of Las Vegas in the span of four innings this year, included was one of five homers in the history of the ballpark out to the polo grounds depth center at more then 450ft. He strikes out a lot, and has yet to hit for average in the majors, but this is a fantastic athlete with a fairly small sample size. Jai has a very pretty swing he's one I want to see sent down to Phoenix where Chili lives to get some one on one work with the new hitting coach in like February, if they can get his pitch selection a little better and work on his timing he could break out. I think Jai might be similar to Taylor where giving him a decent long look he will settle in and perform. Give this dude a chance to make some web gems next season he will be exciting to watch. Jai also was notably the top hitter on the Cats this season leading the team in HR and OPS.
Ryan Sweeny: Ryan it seems is always a little undervalued. When you watch him in the field he is a big guy who can cover a lot of ground. He can play center, but I think he is sometimes more suited to right. Ryan hits for average like nobody's business, and can usually be counted on to sit somewhere near .300, but his power numbers have always been fairly underwhelming for his size and athleticism. I think if Sweeny is able to increase his power numbers it will help him stay locked in as a starter.
Colin Cowgill: He was impressive this year in AAA, but his prior results were not usually so sparkling. I do not know if his recent performance was a result of him coming out of his shell so to speak, but from the looks of things if this past season is a new Cowgill the A's wont have completely lost the Cahill deal, although they still could have done a lot better then two wins on who they got had they stayed patient. I do know the A's drafted but failed to sign Cowgill, and the team has been interested in him for a while, so I would say that bodes well for him.
I believe the A's will snag up at least one outfielder in the bargain market around Feburary. Despite perhaps a belief of mine that it would be better to let these kids play, and if it doesnt work, you can always grab some guys off waivers mid season to send some down. My LF outlook is baisicly covered in the other OF lists with perhaps a Carter, or another blocked player like Cardenas given a look.
Carter looks like this might be his to lose bat wise in the spring it all depends on if the team would want Matsui back for something in the 2mm range, which is all I think he will get once the market thins, or decide to keep the slot open for looking at some prospects. In case no one picks him up someone like Vlad might be available for somewhere in the 2-5mm range, and would be the type of low risk signing I would approve of since a player like that is a deal able commodity at the trade deadline if a team has need.
Adam Rosales: 2011 was a very lost season for Adam. It was a shame since he worked so hard to try to get back, and nothing seemed to go right. I was impressed with Adam before his injury in 2010, he is a very hard working player with a ton of hustle. Here's to hoping with a healthy offseason Adam can bounce back this coming year. If he can return to form his ability to play all of the infield, and the outfield, make him perfect for the utility role.
Eric Sogard: Eric might have a chance to crack the roster out of spring, but it's a slim one. He will most likely play fairly well for the Cats, and the organization might soon walk away from this one. I just have not been impressed that Sogard will really amount to much more then we have seen so far.
Starting Rotation: The A's need to take a similar stance on their starters as the Ray's, they should be keeping the best, dealing the really good but not quite top when they hit full value such as Garza deal, and continue stockpiling and being reticent so that people know that if their going to even try to pry one away from you they need to bring their A stuff to the table. I would have said look to a Cahill, Gonzalez, Gray, Ynoa, and on of Anderson, Krol, Ross or whichever other prospect climbs the ladder, now that leaves lots of wiggle room with the list of potential starters they will have available over the next two seasons at nearly double what's necessary. They shouldn't let any that can be controlled thru year one in the new park go, and they should only trade the others when they have good value and a log jam is happening. The A's just dealt one of their top two starters and a decent reliever where Cahill's contract is better then Wade Davis, yet more then one columnist I have read says thats the type of haul TB should expect in a trade which leads me to believe that they will deal smarter, and indeed get a similar haul for him alone, but they also have seven legitimate starters right now with Moore's extension all but guaranteeing him a rotation spot next year. Follow the Ray's example you don't need to always re-invent the wheel, and their template is solid team-building.
Gio Gonzalez: Oakland if you fire sale Gio in the coming months I will fire sale the stupid O.co with gas, ok so maybe they would be happier that way, damn, but sieriously get an extension signed with him that will cover until the stadium, and then do not trade him unless the offer is the equivalent of the recieving team owner blowing Billy to get him. Mid season on an up year for Gio when he alone is the diffrence in a teams mind between going home, and title glory you empty the dugout in there AAA to give him up!
Brett Anderson: From everything I have been hearing of his rehab Brett has improved his eating habits,and already lost weight. I think he is very dedicated to coming back very strong and I am looking forward to his return. I wouldn't say this is my view now, but in my opinion the A's should have extended Gio kept Cahill and dealt Brett in the middle of 2013 after he's back healthy since out of the three he would then be the one under team control for the least amount of time, and would be costing the most annually to keep. In light of the Cahill trade I don't think they should consider dealing Brett without an absolutly amazing offer.
Dallas Braden: We will see how Braden does physicly returning from injury. I like Dallas as a person he has a tremendous amount of grit, and I would throw him in a clutch situation over other pitchers generally considered to have much more talent. That being said on a whole he does not have nearly the ceiling or long term potential of a Gonzalez, and is only under team control another year after this, so on Dallas if the price is right move him.
Brandon McCarthy: What a year he had justifiably according to stats he was the A's number two starter when healthy. I did a peice on Brandon as an extension canidate a few months back, and I think the premise remains valid. Sign McCarthy to a three year 8-10mm deal with a couple options at six, then once he has another stretch of health this season, and he would be worth a decent package, perhaps similar to the one they recieved for Blanton. Otherwise for as long he is starting in Oakland if healthy he will be a solid starter with a top five in baseball strike to ball ratio.
Guillermo Moscoso: I was very immpressed with Moscoso this season. I watched the game he was perfect thru like six and no no till the eighth. I think as he continues developing his repritior he will be a solid middle of the rotation starter. I think as it stands right now he has a spot in the rotation so as long as he's improving he'll be set their.
Tyson Ross: It has been rough watching Tyson struggle since his injury. Hopefully having some down time in the offseason will let him get back 100%. If Tyson comes to spring pitching like he did before the injury he should have a shot at a rotation spot. If Tyson is ready to slot back in that would be a scenario where trading someone like McCarthy or Braden (The advantage of course is their is very little likely hood that they would be in a rotation in a new park) to a team that just had a starter go down early and doesn't have much payroll flexablity would be a win win.
Josh Outman: Another injury bounce back, it seems to be a trend here on this list, another good reason for not trading starting pitching, I can't think of a player on this list at or around full value right now other then McCarthy. Outman like the rest needs to show he's fully recovered from injury. During the course of the season it seemed to be up and down for Josh although trending up twoards the end. He was down for a long period with surgery so this might just be a case of it taking a while to knock the rust off. Hopefully he will get back to his pre-injury form, and can contribute again.
Graham Godfrey: Although a slightly older prospect Godfrey had quite a breakout season, and would have been hands down the winner of PCL pitching award had his time with the big league club knocked just a few innings shy of qualifying for the league leaders. I think he might break out as a lat bloomer or be a decent back of the rotation starter. Keep an eye on how this next year plays out and a much better picture should be had of his potential.
Sonny Gray: Quite a impressive introduction although its a small sample size, Sonny walked right into AA and began tearing it up. given his age and relatively well developed pitch assortment I think he will be in Oakland perhaps as soon as this year and should be dropping into the rotation by 2013-2014. I have heard his style closely resembles Tim Hudson, and if his results continue in the same form he's shown so far he wont be long for the minors. I loved this signing too by the way, I saw him profiling as high as top eight last spring and it was by shear luck, in no small part to all the high school players coming out of the woodwork, for the A's to land a top ten pick relatively close to big league ready at pick number eighteen.
Rich Harden: I know he is currently not under contract, but he is one that I think would enjoy coming back to Oakland, and he wouldn't cost much. I think Rich would be and interesting canidate to convert to the bullpen. He would profile well with his k/9 ratio as a late inning guy, and would have better odds of staying healthy with the lighter workload. I think they should bring him back for around 1mm and see what he looks like in a 7th or 8th inning role. I also think Melvin's philosophy of letting starters stay in hurt Rich in terms of season stats. Rich had a few amazing outings, and several where he went five real strong innings got lit for three runs in the sixth, and took a hit to his ERA in one inning of most of his starts. This would support him as a one too two inning reliever that's able to be very effective in short appearances. Hardens thirty this year try and manufacture some value here, you've done it before with the same player.
Jarrod Parker: Parker profiles as a top three starter, and is fairly close to the big league level. I don't think he's guaranteed a rotation spot, even with a strong spring, unless the team deals more starters then just Trevor. I would probably start him in AAA and then look to move him up if he's performing well somewhere mid season when trades open up a spot for him to grab at. I very much hope he pays off well since I think Trevor might actually be a year younger the Parker. He is the key piece in the Cahill deal so his value will sink or swim that deal.
Bruce Billings: Bruce had a rather inauspicious Oakland debut following his accuisition, and I doubt he makes the pen out of spring expect him to start in AAA, and perhaps he can get his call up if he shows greater control there to start the season.
Jerry Blevins: The guy who comuted more for Oakland then any other in 2011. I think Jerry will be more stably in Oakland this coming season based on the looming vacancy on the roster. I think he will remain in Oakland unless he really struggles. Jerry is not a super long term player in my opinion for the club, and if while having a strong season there's some july intrest I would not be opposed to moving him.
Andrew Carignan: I liked what I saw of him out of the bullpen this past season. He probably needs a little refining, but I would say its not a bad shot he's in the bullpen at the beginning of 2012.
Fautino De Los Santos: It looks very likely Fautino will be groomed for the closer role following Andrew Bailey leaving the organization. He had some trouble with control at times this season but features the potential to hit triple digits with his fast ball, and has a wicked hard slider. If Fautino develops a effective third pitch and can tighten his control he will be an impressive ninth inning man.
Joey Devine: I'm really hoping Devine bounces back he would be very capable of closing if he is back in his pre injury form. I would prefer to see a situation where Oakland is able to let Bailey start hot then deal him for a ton at the deadline. If Devine is back in full form he could slide seamlessly into the closing role as he did before Bailey came up, and possibly be dealt once he re-establishes his value next season perhaps giving De Los Santos a little longer to mature into the closing role, so that he is established there for the new stadium opening.
Neil Wagner: His stats last season in a small sample size were not amazing but he seems like he could soon become a solid bullpen option. I am sort of anticipating the A's giving him a shot to start the season there.
Ryan Cook: A starting prospect that wasn't really working out, who transitioned to the bullpen this season. His results in the minors once taking over in a late innings role was a drastic counterpoint to his starting results. I am not sure based on his newness to the organization how close he is to being able to compete on the major league level, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a look at some point next year especially if he's putting up good numbers in the minors.
Brian Fuentes: I simpathise for what Brian went thru with Geren this season, and his second half was a huge improvement over his bad month with old Bob. I think Brian would have some decent trade value if he is able to continue to produce for Melvin as he was to start this next season. I expect him in a seventh or eighth inning role until someone is willing to part with something to get him.
Grant Balfour: I would say Grant is the eighth inning man unless dealt. He is a fun guy to watch, and I must say I am fond of the mad Aussie, but I would expect to see him gone before September if he's performing as well as last season. I would be advocating keeping him since with another season like last he might have had a shot at type A under the old CBA, but with the new agreement since he wouldn't be making the dollar value qualifying him for it I believe. So as much as Grant is a fiery fun player to watch if his results are good the highest value return on him will probably be to deal him when an atractive offer presents itself.
Andrew Bailey: Until he's dealt he is the closer. Bailey is the shit, and I think even with some teams needs he is undervalued right now. There is a glut of closing possibilities on the market right now and the value seems to be down. I would wait for Bailey to put up another all-star season where he's healthy all the way thru, and unless your blown away by someone at the deadline look to deal him next year when the market will be much thinner. I think Bailey's value is to low to deal him now, and mid season you don't get as many teams looking for long term closing solutions (Mid season closing acquisitions are not usually long term solution grabs, but more injury stopgaps with incumbents expected to return). It would be in the teams interest to hold off on moving Andrew till after this season in order to receive a solid package.
Kurt Suzuki(no real replacement ready overwhelmed or not), Brett Anderson, Jemille Weeks, Scott Sizemore, Brandon Allen, Tyson Ross, Grant Green, Michael Choice, Fautino De Los Santos, Andrew Carignan, Sonny Gray, Michael Taylor, Jai Miller, most top prospects ect.
Moveable only if first son's are invloved in deal:
Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey.
Players to move when at there peak value:
Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour, Dallas Braden, Daric Barton, Rich Hardon, Adam Rosales, Jerry Blevins, Joey Devine, Graham Godfrey(maybe deal maybe keep depends on what he becomes), Adrian Cardenas, Eric Sogard.
Free Agents to target: This will be a general pool to scavange any leftovers off of for cheap. Give some AAAA players a shot at Nelson Cruz breakouts, or bounce back targets like Brandon Webb. The A's sure seemed to steal some value from Texas last offseason picking up Moscoso and McCarthy for next to nothing.
Brandon Webb, Coco Crisp, David Aardsma, Wilson Betemit, Milton Bradley(Psych), Endy Chavez, Johnny Damon, Vlad, Edwin Jackson, Scott Kazmir(minor league only if you fix him its a big win but don't count on anything out of him), Casey Kotchman, Ryan Ludwick, Paul Maholm, Hideki Matsui, Xavier Nady, Magglio Ordonez, Luke Scott, Chris Snyder, Joel Zumaya. Just use that roster depth to pick up guys without jobs late for cheap. If a player is under minimal financial commitments, and producing decently they always have value since they work for any situation midseason. Oakland needs to run a business of acquiring value that wouldn't last till there new park anyways then deal from that to keep strengthening the farm system, but for the love of god don't move really good players you CAN keep till you get the new venue going.