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Offseason Recap and the Return of the Community Prospect List!

And now we go to the 2015 team, or as I would like to call it, the Community Prospect List!

With all the trades we have experienced this off season; the list should look vastly different compared to last years. This year, I am also going to try a new voting style. Expanding from last year’s recommendation for drop system, this year I will not be attaching a poll at all!

Instead, in order to vote for a prospect for the current round of voting, find the first comment in the thread that says “VOTE FOR [PLAYER NAME]”, for example, “VOTE FOR GRANT GREEN”, and add a +1 Comment that comment. If the player that you want to vote for does not have a comment, create it yourself by typing “VOTE FOR [PLAYER NAME]” for your comment, and post. Only the first comment will count for that player’s voting, so watch for the green.

There are about 11 or so weeks until Opening Day, so we will be doing one voting thread per week until the season starts. So get ready, set and VOTE!

I told AN’ers I would be delaying this year’s Community Prospect List for a few reason [See the bottom of the post for the Community Prospect List!]. Some were for myself (lots of work, which is why you have not seen me on the front page for a while), but primarily because of the increasingly apparent strategy the A’s were taking early in the off season, as they laid hints that the move to San Jose would be approved, presumably at the January Winter Meetings, and that the groundwork for a competitive team circa 2015 would be their main priority. What did that mean for the A’s, AN, and a much depleted farm system? It meant a few years of sucking in order to garner high draft picks, and a trade of everything of value on the team, even if that piece was going to be around for a few more years.

And it did not take long to see that this was necessary. The Angels won the bidding war, out of nowhere, for Albert Pujols, out from under the grasps of Miami’s higher bid and the Cardinals home town advantage, and the Rangers won the Yu Darvish bidding war from Japan. These two signings in particular shows that the A’s were now relegated to the far, far back. The Angels and Rangers had announced massive television deals that would seemingly pay for their entire payroll (making everything else gravy), and the Mariners still made much more than the A’s. Cisco Field and San Jose became the only thing that the A’s could dream about to save themselves from destruction. Because it was one thing when you were in a division with 3 other middling payrolls, it’s another when you are in a 5 team division with two Yankee-Red Sox wannabe’s and a new team, with a new owner, with something to prove.

Accompanying this, there came the news every day of the newly christened Miami Marlins, with a new stadium in hand, bidding massively on every top free agent under the sun (albe losing out on them as well). The point is that they believed that they could pay for them, and that gives the A’s hope for the future.

So it began. After firestorms of rumors, and a bidding war around Gio Gonzalez, the A’s decided to trade… Trevor Cahill? The A’s sent Cahill and Breslow to the Diamondbacks for a package of Pitchers Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook, and Outfielder Collin Cowgill. Gio Gonzalez was dealt to Washington for Pitchers Brad Peacock, AJ Cole, Tommy Milone and Catcher Derek “Soon to be called Chuck” Norris. Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney were dealt to the Red Sox for outfielder Josh Reddick, infielder Miles Head and pitcher Raul Alcantara. They expressed interest in Jorge Soler, a 19 year old, five-tool outfielder from Cuba.

Meanwhile, Josh Willingham was let go to Minnesota, David DeJesus wandered off to the Cubs. Instead, they were replaced by the aforementioned Josh Reddick and Colin Cowgill, as well as by a resigned Coco Crisp (for a massive amount of money considering his age and performance, but presumably to pacify the Players Union), and Seth Smith, acquired from Colorado in exchange for Guillermo Moscoso and Josh Outman. And now, just recently, we hear about the singing of Bay Area Native Jonny Gomes.

So now the A’s outfield seems rather full (sorry, Michael Taylor), and the rotation has been freed up for… what? Prospects and returning injured starters Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson, whenever they recover and play enough to be traded for more prospects.

Oh, and Jai Miller got traded somewhere in there too. At least we still have McCarthy’s tweets (and you can thank Wikipedia, Reddit and Google for that!)

There are three questions on the mind of A’s fans: Cisco Field, and what the team will look like come 2012, and 2015.

On the ballpark front, progress was made at the Winter Meetings, as the owners heard from the Blue Ribbon Committee, who might or might not have completed their report, the Giants have started suing San Jose to stop the move, and the A’s sound conservatively giddy about a possible forthcoming decision. Now we just have to figure out where the A’s will play for 2014.

For 2012, there are still a few moves that may be made. The A’s might sign Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal, though even if that occurs, he will not show himself until his 50 game suspension is up. The A’s might also try to deal from their glut of 1B/DH depth in the form of Brandon Allen, and then something has to be done about Michael Taylor if he does not make the team (after all, he’s about to become a complete non-prospect if this continues). And then, there is always the possibility that Kurt Suzuki will be out the door, made more possible by Victor Martinez’s recent injury. But first, let us see what we do have.

Catcher:
Kurt Suzuki
Anthony Recker
Josh Donaldson
Landon Powell (AAA)
Derek Norris

First Base:
Chris Carter
Daric Barton
Brandon Allen
Kila Ka’aihue

Second Base:
Jemile Weeks
Scott Sizemore
Adam Rosales
Eric Sogard
Adrian Cardenas

Shortstop:
Cliff Pennington
Adam Rosales

Third Base:
Scott Sizemore
Adrian Cardenas
Eric Sogard

Corner Outfield:
Josh Reddick
Seth Smith
Jonny Gomes
Collin Cowgill
Michael Taylor
Jermaine Mitchell

Centerfield:
Coco Crisp
Colin Cowgill
Michael Taylor

Designated Hitter:
Chris Carter
Brandon Allen
Kila Ka’aihue
Daric Barton
Jonny Gomes

Starting Pitchers:
Dallas Braden
Brett Anderson (DL)
Brandon McCarthy
Tyson Ross
Graham Godfrey
Jarrod Parker
Brad Peacock
Tom Milone

Relief Pitchers:
Grant Balfour
Fautino De Los Santos
Joey Devine
Jerry Blevins
Brian Fuentes
Graham Godfrey
Tyson Ross
Ryan Cook
Neil Wagner
Andrew Carignan

Going forward with that group, this is how I see the 25 Man Roster playing out to start the season.

C1: Kurt Suzuki
1B: Brandon Allen
2B: Jemile Weeks
3B: Scott Sizemore
SS: Cliff Pennington
LF: Seth Smith
RF: Josh Reddick
CF: Coco Crisp
DH: Chris Carter

C2: Anthony Recker
IF: Adam Rosales
OF: Jonny Gomes
OF: Colin Cowgill

SP: Dallas Braden
SP: Brandon McCarthy
SP: Graham Godfrey
SP: Tyson Ross
SP: Tom Millone

RP: Grant Balfour
RP: Joey Devine
RP: Fautino De Los Santos
RP: Jerry Blevins
RP: Ryan Cook
RP: Neil Wagner
RP: Andrew Carignan

I think the DH/1B situation will come down to a battle between Barton and Allen. My feeling is that the A’s play Allen a bit more, to see what he can do and see if he can be shopped, and if he struggles (or if Carter cannot hit in the Majors), Barton comes back.

I think Taylor will have to have an excellent spring to grab an outfield spot. The recent rash of acquisitions for mediocre outfielders, to me, shows their lack of faith in Taylor. If he makes the team, it will be at Cowgill or Gomes’s expense.

For the starters, I think the A’s will wait for Peacock and Parker to get more AAA experience, and delay their starting clock, while Ross and Godfrey hold the fort till they are ready. Meanwhile, Millone, who has a year of AAA under his belt, gets the nod as the 5th starter. I have no idea what to expect from Anderson (if at all) in ’12, so I left him out to start the season.

In the bullpen, I see Balfour getting the nod as the closer, and possibly traded midyear and replaced by either Devine or FDLS. The rest of the pen is rounded out by pretty much whoever is pitching well in spring training, or perhaps whoever’s arm is still attached.

And now we go to the 2015 team, or as I would like to call it, the Community Prospect List!

With all the trades we have experienced this off season; the list should look vastly different compared to last years. This year, I am also going to try a new voting style. Expanding from last year’s recommendation for drop system, this year I will not be attaching a poll at all!

Instead, in order to vote for a prospect for the current round of voting, find the first comment in the thread that says “VOTE FOR [PLAYER NAME]”, for example, “VOTE FOR GRANT GREEN”, and add a +1 Comment that comment. If the player that you want to vote for does not have a comment, create it yourself by typing “VOTE FOR [PLAYER NAME]” for your comment, and post. Only the first comment will count for that player’s voting, so watch for the green.

There are about 11 or so weeks until Opening Day, so we will be doing one voting thread per week until the season starts. So get ready, set and VOTE!

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