Happy New Year, AN! I'm proud to say that my resolution from 2009 heading into 2010 certainly came to fruition: my wife challenged me to be less involved with online forums about the A's and more involved with certain things like planning our wedding and our lives together. While I've been virtually absent from this community since that time, which has been healthy for all involved, I think that things have stabilized on multiple fronts for me to become re-engaged. I think some of you old-timers have noticed and noted my piecemeal contributions over the last few months towards this end, but for those of you who don't know: I used to be a regular, fell into some bad habits, and now I'm back. I'm pretty sure Blez built a "history" tab into his gizmo and you can search my contributions to this blog dating back to 2005 when this whole thing started, but that's not really germane to this post or this current iteration of the band of misfits we hold so dear...
No, as we turn the page into 2013, after a simply remarkable 2012, I'd like us to take a journey into 2015...not an immediate fix, but a year that is more in line "The Plan" than what is available to us right now...
Why 2015? Well, in case you haven't noticed, the A's will be still be playing in Oakland in that year. Even the proverbial demon Lew Wolff is stating as much (btw, like many of you, I've met Lew Wolff, and he's a great guy, so the "proverbial" really just means that he's seen by so many as a demon, and not that he actually is one, pshaw).
Anyways, to 2015...while all of us are ruminating on 2012 and being like, "Well, just add SS here and sign back McCarthy there, and we'll do everything we did last year and then some...", I think the A's brain trust is more along the lines of, "What the fuck just happened?" type of mode.
A lot of guys performed at their peak at pretty much the same exact half-season last year...it was great. However, it also wasn't bankable. All along this off-season I've been searching for reasons about why the A's haven't been hyper-aggressive in adding pieces for a 2013 or 2014 run at the division. After number crunching and meticulously reviewing roster-spot over roster spot, my answer to that question is: how can add to some sort of living thing when you don't even know it's full nature?
Hell...Cespedes, Moss, Carter and Reddick had absolutely no MLB success to their names prior to about June 30th 2012. Milone was struggling with massive home/away splits, Parker was still in AAA (a stork's delivery away from TJS surgery), McCarthy was resting a bum shoulder for the 8th time in 2 years (love you Brandon, just the truth that keeps you ticking), Suzuki was sucking pooka shells and 3rd base was being held together by whatever tattoo ink Brandon Inge left on the bag after he literally left his shoulder dangling on the line after that sharp liner from Cleveland sometime in August.
Point is...I think Beane and Company are just as flabbergasted about what happened last year as we are. Except, they had a Plan in place before THAT happened to get this to the place we're at now, just a few years down the road.
And, putting that into the coffers, with the relative inaction of this offseason, makes me believe that they aren't straying from their Plan, regardless of this past Wild Card. They never planned on McCarthy or Gomes being with the team past 2012 - just like they weren't planning on Willingham or DeJesus being part of this team past 2011.
The PLAN is still in place ladies and gents, it's just a bit more sweet right now seeing as how few trivial investments led to such an unexpected outcome last year. As I've said before, Beane signaled his intents this off-season the moment he re-signed Bartolo to that $3 mil deal: he's still bargain hunting at the low-risk high reward shop, because he doesn't know what the fuck he's got right now, and he'd rather gamble at the low-end with that massive uncertainty, than risk upsetting "The Plan" based on a half season of fortune.
So...2015. Addison Russell will be here. So will Michael Choice. Beane never dealt any of his young arms for two years of Asdrubal Cabrera (thank God). He signed both Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone to arb-eating 5 year deals after they both got through 2013 without major injury...he let Brett Anderson go for a draft pick after picking up his 2014 option and narrowly missing the playoffs in that year, and he's left with (the roster he planned on having in 2015 regardless of the team's record since that time, with):
LF - Choice (1.5 years)
CF - Cespedes (last year of contract, playing great D after adjusting to the COLI wiyth 2.5 years if LF)
RF - Reddick (2nd year arb)
3B - Daniel Roberston
SS - Addison Russell (all star/ROY frontrunner)
2B - Grant Green (after being a super-sub for 2013 and 2014, a la the good years of Chone Figgins)
1B - Max Muncy (great OBP and great glove)
DH - Miles Head
C - Max Stassi (team leader and 20 homer threat) / Beau Taylor (great left-handed compliment(
1S - Parker
2S - Sonny Gray
3S - Milone
4S - Griffin
5S - Straily
CL - Cook
SU - Doolitte
SU - Peacock
SU - Ynoa
SU - Simmons
SU - Krol
SU - Sanburn
Bench- Bostick (IF)
Bench - Peterson (OF)
Bench - some random awesome dude Beane trades for who can fill every hole this team might ever have
And that's how I see things over the next two years...