Billy Beane was quoted recently on oaklandathletics.com saying that the team didn't necessarily need an offensive upgrade. And then someone sent a question to Mychael Urban dealing with this very subject. Urban makes a good point that this team would've likely won the division last season without a few key injuries.
As we all sit here patiently waiting for the hot stove to get, well, hot (Johnny Damon's ridiculous contract demands don't count), keep in mind that the A's could find a power source from the inside.
Let me throw a few numbers at you:
What are these? They are the number of at-bats per home run Nick Swisher, Dan Johnson and Eric Chavez hit in 2005. In order.
That's right, Swisher hit a home run once per every 22 at-bats, DJ every 25 at-bats and Chavez every 23 at-bats. Now, Chavez was a bit off his career pace of a home run every 19.6 at-bats last year. But his strikeouts were also up.
Now, you can't assume that both Swisher and DJ will be able to hit home runs at the same pace as they did in their rookie season. But they could also very well be better as they may be more comfortable in the majors. If Swisher had played an entire season and got Chavez's 625 at-bats, he would've hit between 29-30 home runs. If DJ has played the entire season and got those 625 at-bats, he would've hit 25 home runs. That's an extra 17 home runs or so. Seventeen home runs the A's could've badly used.
As for Bobby Crosby, his home run per at-bat was also down last season, but that was likely sacrificed by him trying to hit to the opposite field more. He had 25 doubles in only 333 at-bats in 2005, compared to 34 doubles in 545 at-bats in 2004. That's a double per 13 at-bats in 05 versus 16 at-bats in 04. I believe this is the season that Crosby puts it all together and shows just how good he can be. If he remains healthy, which after last season is a big if.
So when we talk about how much more power the A's could've used last season and who the A's might go after, just remember that Billy realizes that his young crew could very well be the answer. You don't trade players like Barton, Harden or Haren to try and fill a hole that might not be there. Now if you're going to lose Zito for nothing in a year, it might make sense to trade him. But Beane is right in saying that he won't mortgage the franchise's future.