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Some Things Never Change

I got back to sunny Northern California after driving back from monsoon-like weather in Los Angeles and what do I find?

Byrnes stories here, there and everywhere.

Byrnes discusses the trade talk with typical upbeat, positive Byrnes attitude. But the reality is that the A's outfield will be too crowded, and judging from what Billy told me in my interviews, he wants to give Kielty a shot to compete on a daily basis.

I still have faith that Bobby Kielty will be a good player. People will point to that one. But understand that Ted was going to get to a range we couldn't afford. I still think it's a story unwritten despite Ted's year (in Toronto) because I think Bobby is going to be a good player. Ted's season last year was certainly a more productive year from that standpoint. But I rule out Bobby Kielty because I think Bobby Kielty is going to be a very valuable guy. I think very, very highly of him and I know that might raise the ire of some people who might not be very satisfied with his performance last year.

It's one situation where I think if Kielty and/or Thomas excel during the spring and Billy believes he's going to get good value for Byrnes, it will still happen.

And we all know Billy's feelings on keeping players merely because fans adore them:

Blez: This may be a stupid question given your tendency and belief in science and stats, but does a player's marketability factor into the equation at all?

BB: Maybe I'm criticized for this a little bit, but I've always thought the best marketing tool for a team is the wins and losses. To try and work from the other side, there isn't enough legs to that sort of speak. Let's face it, if you signed Barney the Dinosaur to play left field for you, you'd probably have a good crowd one day, but they might not come back the second. The bottom line is that it's really a player's performance that is ultimately going to drive our decisions 99.9 percent of the time. I try and stay away from making marketing signs because I don't think they have any legs to them. And I think that what people truly want to cheer on is a good winning team and a player who contributes to that as opposed to a gimmick that sells tee shirts for a couple of weeks.

So, Ray Ratto, don't expect that to be a part of the decision at all. If Billy thinks it would help his club, he'd trade Jesus Christ in a heartbeat.