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Ratto Misses Hudson's Contract in His Equation

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Billy Beane, Ray Ratto has spoken. You can feel comfortable enough to do your job now.

He has officially declared that Barry Zito is The Big Three member who should be traded.

The A's have starting pitchers. They don't have a bullpen, a bench, or enough depth to enhance their starting nine. The A's are always shopping for their players at the equivalent of Food 4 Less. The rest is simple math.

But so far, the news from our squalid little corner of the Hot Stove League is this:

The Giants have signed Omar Vizquel to make you forget about Deivi Cruz. And the Giants are preparing to try to overpay for Dustin Hermanson.

Yeah, I'd drink a half-gallon of T-Bird out of a horseman's boot, too.

Thus, we are brought back to the matter of breaking up the Big Three, and why it is an idea whose time has come.

But first, let's pick the one to go.

Zito.

There. That was simple.

But why? you ask.

Two years of so-so results, plus he's left-handed, plus he has the kind of off-field profile (read: Alyssa Milano) that could easily blind another owner (read: Fred Wilpon of the Mets) to the danger of ridiculously overpaying in return.

OK, Ray probably has space limitations on his column, but he misses the major part of the trading equation. To not factor in Hudson's resignability or whether or not the guy even wants to stay here is like trying to get E without the MC squared. Those are huge factors in the final result.

The A's want to win a championship desperately, but they also want a team which can compete over the long haul. Losing Tim Hudson for nothing but draft picks isn't as acceptable as it was when we lost Tejada and Giambi for picks. Hudson should bring something that impacts the Oakland club immediately, and in my opinion, Hudson would bring something much better than what trading Zito would. Yes, it's possible that there are still stupid GMs out there who might overvalue Z at this point in his career, but Hudson is one of the top pitchers in baseball. Everyone knows and accepts that already. It's a universal truth.

As for whether to trade him or Zito or Mulder, only Billy and Tim Hudson (and Hudson's agent) knows truly whether or not Huddy wants to stay here. If Hudson is moved as opposed to Zito, then we'll have our answer because I don't think Billy would trade one of the top pitchers in Oakland history if he thought that Hudson would resign.

Ratto does make the obvious points about Mulder's trade value. But to jump to the conclusion that someone will overpay for Barry, to me is making almost as big a leap of faith.

But then again, Ray Ratto says it, so it must be true. You have your marching orders, Billy.