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Happy Holidays!

I want to leave you on a high note before the holiday and thankfully, Baseball Prospectus' Dayn Perry provided an excellent, thorough look at the A's 2005 edition as the perfect platform.

After reading it, I felt like I could sleep better over the long holiday weekend.

Perry states that the A's could possibly get an actual improvement from four out of five slots in our rotation, speculating that 05 Zito will be worse that 04 Hudson, 05 Harden will be better than 04 Mulder, 05 Meyer will be better than 04 Zito, 05 Haren will be worse than 04 Harden and 05 Blanton will be better than 04 Redman.

He then goes into detail about how big of an improvement the A's bullpen and offense have received, especially the pen.

It's nothing new and nothing that hasn't already been discussed here, Perry just does it succinctly and effectively. Unfortunately, his conclusion isn't going to leave you with a warm fuzzy.

That's not to say I expect Oakland to be in the postseason. The AL West figures to be hotly fought, and this is not, as currently assembled, a great team. Last season, the A's posted a Pythagorean record of 86-76 (against an actual record of 91-71) and recorded a run differential of just +51 (worse than that of the Rangers, Phillies, Cubs, Giants and Padres, among others). It's entirely conceivable that the 2005 A's will be a better team on a component level and finish with a worse record than they did last season.

This club has concerns and weaknesses, but they haven't been hopelessly shanghaied by the loss of 66.7% of the Big Three. In fact, they may be a better team because of those deals.

With that parting quote, Happy Holidays AN to you and yours!!!