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Standing Pat

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So the trade deadline was an hour ago and it appears like Billy Beane remained true to his word at AN Day yesterday and strong in his conviction that the team the A's have now is good enough to win the American League West.

The mark of a truly good GM sometimes is the moves that we never hear about.  We awoke this morning to rumors that Billy Beane had jumped into the bidding for Alfonso Soriano.  I couldn't really believe that Beane would want Soriano considering Beane's love of OBP and great defense.  When thinking about it though, the chances are that Beane got involved because he heard that Soriano was close to becoming an Angel.  I'm pretty sure Beane would've stepped up to drive that price back up to make sure that if the Angels did get Soriano, it would've cost them some of their best prospects.

As for the long-rumored Barry Zito deal, it seems like it never materialized.  I find it a bit disappointing just because I would've loved to have added a young pitcher or two to help make sure the A's rotation for 2007 isn't completely mediocre.  One thing that Billy Beane said yesterday that sounded very encouraging was that he'd had a personal conversation with Rich Harden and that Harden felt like he was finally getting better.  Perhaps that helped Beane stand pat because even if the A's lose Zito like everyone thinks they will after this year, they very well could have an adequate replacement in Harden.  Course it would probably be ill-advised at best and stupid at worst to think Harden will suddenly be able to start 35 games in 2007 after his track record of inability to remain healthy.

I do think this offense has been better of late, even if it always seems to start slow in games.  But Justin Duchscherer just made an important point...this team has good enough starting pitching and relief that all the team needs to do is score four or five runs a game.  If Milton Bradley can remain healthy, Frank Thomas continues his hot hitting and Eric Chavez climbs all the way out of his personal hole, the offense may very well be good enough to win with the A's pitching.  Especially if the team does get Harden back.

As for the rest of the division, the Rangers were the most active, picking up Matt Stairs and Kip Wells today to go with their earlier pick up of Carlos Lee.  I like what the Rangers did to help the offense and get depth, but I still don't think they helped their starting pitching enough even with Wells and Adam Eaton coming back.  Then again, that offense is purely frightening now.

A couple players that might've been nice to add would've been a Ryan Shealy or a Craig Wilson, but the A's obviously still believe in DJ and Daric Barton moving forward.

Ultimately, I'm happy we get to see Zito play out the rest of the year in Oakland.  I'm going to try and hit a start or two of his before the end of the year, wear my Zito jersey and cheer for Barry while he's still there.  And honestly, if the A's can do what Beane believes and make the playoffs this year, who else would you want on the mound for Game 1 than Mr. Zito?  Yeah, no one.

By the way, since I didn't get a chance to write yesterday, I wanted to thank everyone for a fantastic AN Day.  It was by far the best ever with everything from a Billy Beane surprise appearance to Milton Bradley's dramatic home run (AN use Dylan can verify that I leaned over to him when Bradley came up and said, "Bradley is going to win it with a walk-off right here").  I can't imagine that it will ever get better so I'm considering pulling a George Costanza and retiring AN Day.  Go out on a high note, sort of speak.  Regardless, I wanted to publicly say thank you one more time to baseballgirl for all of her hard work this year in helping organize everything.  Her energy and enthusiasm were all a part of what made the day so special.

With AN Day 3 behind us and the trading deadline drama now history, the beauty of a pennant race now takes center stage.  And what a better way than with a series against what I believe is now our most heated rival, those damned Angels of Anaheim.