So here we are, December doldrums setting in after a miraculous 2012. As a life-long A's fan I can't remember a more breathtaking season, and I'm including 1989. Something about the limited expectations paired with the dramatic finish made this season the sweetest ever. That said, I'm literally counting the days until P/C's report (two months, one week!). Though there is no immediate baseball on the table, there is at least rampant rumor and speculation in MLB's hot stove season to keep me relatively occupied.
Now, I don't know about you, but for me the burning A's question this winter has been, "what the hell are we going to do at Shortstop?" Everything else, for some reason, seems less crucial. Sure, there are outfield questions, but they revolve around having too much of a good thing. Sure, there's talk of a mystical fifth starter (love the crazy argument for R.A. Dickey!), but honestly, I think our rotation is tops no matter who we plug in there. First base regression? Maybe. Continued slumpage for Reddick? sure, a concern I guess. But honestly, what the hell are we going to do at Shortstop?
I submit this: forget Drew. Let him go. Let the Yanks make him a third baseman. Or whatever else may happen. Don't get me wrong, Drew put up OK numbers for us last season- albeit he was only here for 39 games. But do we really need to shell out LARGE dollars for what I honestly believe is a player who has already seen his best days? Meh. What I'm more interested in is the possibility of getting Hiroyuki Nakajima. Luckily, it seems Beane may be interested in the same thing. According to Ken Rosenthal, the A's are meeting with the Nakajima camp as I write this. Why does this make more sense than hotly pursuing Drew? Here's my two cents:
- Age is not a factor (they're only a year apart) but dollars are, and I think Nakajima, who has stated his only concern is that he can start everyday (not a problem here!), would sign for less money/years. He's in the position where he needs to prove himself in the Bigs before seeking a possible megadeal.
- Offensive numbers-wise, Nakajima has an edge. This is tricky though. He's only played for NPB, while Drew has had to face MLB hurlers. However, even if there is a perceptible drop off, Nakajima would still be a better hitter than your average league SS. Defensively, let's call it a wash, though I think reports point to Nakajima having a better arm.
- I hate J.D. Drew. Nakajima is not related to him.
- I have bizarre dreams that the A's mystically find the next Ichiro.
- And, just for fun, Nakajima plays in Tokorozawa, where the weather seems comparable to Oakland. This means he can probably handle our miserable May nights. Drew on the other hand played in Arizona, where I think the average temperature is just a shade shy of hell hot.
Enough of my ramblings. Thoughts? Arguments? This is my first ever post, so be a little kind...or not.