Scott Hatteberg. Erubiel Durazo. Dan Johnson. Nick Swisher. Jack Cust.
They are all in the mix for two positions. First base and designated hitter. Swisher and Cust both play the outfield for those of you scoring at home. But many have Swisher pegged as a first baseman in the not-too-distant future and Cust is an average outfielder at best.
But in all likelihood, in 2005, it will come down to Durazo, Johnson and Hatteberg for those two positions. The problem is, they all hit left-handed, so it doesn't make any sense to platoon unless Swisher is in the mix because he is a switch hitter.
Durazo is slotted for the DH position, and he's earned it with his performance over the past year. He was probably the most consistent Athletic offensively outside of Mark Kotsay.
It comes down to Hatteberg and Johnson. This is where it gets interesting because DJ is ready for the show. I live in Sacramento and saw the kid a bunch last year. He's a quality at-bat every time. His stats are there. He performs at every level.
Hatteberg was a key offensive contributor during the first few months of the season but tailed off considerably down the stretch. The normally reliable .390 or so OBP Hatteberg posted a dreadful T-Long like .292 in September in 2004. Many speculated that he was fatigued from playing so many games earlier in the year. Regardless, he was a part of the general malaise that set in with the green and gold down the stretch.
If the A's are truly trying to retool and build a young base for success, Hatteberg becomes the expendable one. He's got the biggest contract and the lowest upside.
On the other hand, Johnson suffered from vertigo late in the year last season and missed a chance to get a few ABs in September when the Mad Hatter was struggling so badly. Who knows whether DJ will come back 100 percent?
In March, this will be one of the more interesting developments with the green and gold. Will Hatteberg and his contract be moved? Will DJ be healthy?
Where's Graham Koonce when you need him? (just kidding)
Click entry link below to vote who should be the 1B/DH rotation in 2005.
Which should be the 1B/DH combination in 05 for the A's?
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Other (and don't mention Giambi - ain't gonna happen)