The time is right for the A's to make a stand.
For the first time in nearly 5-6 years, I feel the A's should not be sellers at the trade deadline. Sure, Kurt Suzuki and Coco Crisp have bad contracts that they haven't lived up to. Grant Balfour could probably bring in a decent haul as a premium set up man for some team, especially considering he has a team option for 2013 and both Brandon McCarthy and Bartolo Colon have been very effective when they haven't been on the disabled list and could bring in a prospect or two in seperate deals.
However....the dynamic of this team is different than teams in the past. For the first time in a long time, I feel the A's truly have hope to reach the postseason. Granted, the team is currently 41-42, good enough only for third place in the division and not really within good striking distance for the playoffs. But crazier things have happened...
If you compare this season to the start last year, they are very similar. The A's got off to an 'okay' start. Then, they hit a snag and went on a huge losing streak. In the meantime, many of their starting pitchers hit the disabled list....
Yet the main difference between this year and last is how this team is responding. Last years ballclub folded once they lost ten games in a row early in the season and the starting pitchers went down. Through 83 games last year, the team was 9 games under .500. The team this year is only one under and playing very good baseball despite having a 9 game losing streak. The chemistry on the current team is amazing.
The 2012 Oakland Athletics remind me a lot of the 1999 A's. You have a great team of role players (Stairs/Smith, Jaha/Gomes, Grieve/Moss, Tejada/Cespedes, Chavez/Weeks, Velarde/Inge) and and up and coming star (Giambi/Reddick). You have your young, unproven ace in the rotation (Hudson/Parker) filled with quality veterans. By the next year, the unproductive catcher (Hinch/Suzuki) was replaced with a new young star (Hernandez/Norris).
Now is not the time to rid yourself of these players. Let the season play out and see what the A's make of it. That 1999 team that I compare this team to missed the playoffs with 85 wins. They got better and went to the postseason 4 straight times from 2000-2003 though. However, with the new playoff format, if the A's can get to 85 wins this season, perhaps they stand a chance at the wild card round.
I'm not suggesting that the A's go out and become buyers either. Even though Lew Wolffe said he's willing to add payroll mid-season, it's not neccessarily the time to sacrifice the farm system for the present just yet either. I just want the A's to ride this one out and see what happens with their current core group of players.