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Lease-To-Buy, OK--Otherwise, No

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I keep hearing about how the A's can't stand pat. I can't help but wonder, "Who is Pat, and what would make a person so unpopular?" Anyway, there are these succulent rent-a-players out there who would fill out an A's lineup nicely. Carlos Lee--finger lickin' good. Andruw Jones--5-tool outfielder extraordinaire for the suddenly non-contending Braves. Aubrey Huff--he may not blow your house down, but he's better than the nine pigs we're trotting out there now. These rent-a-studs are all guys who would make the A's lineup look a whole lot better. And they're all guys the A's should not go after, in my opinion.

The A's do not want to go the "Ray Durham route" (2002), when they were good but got even betterer by adding a player whose contract was up at season's end. If the A's make any move, it should be of the "Jermaine Dye" variety, adding an impact player who can make an impact (hopefully not on his own leg this time) this year and beyond.

The 2007 A's once looked to be even better than the 2006 version that was going to challenge for the World Series. It's amazing what losing two starting pitchers will do. Rich Harden was supposed to be the ace by now, that rare starter who could cause an opposing to team to say, "Oh good, we're only facing Zito." Dan Meyer was projected to be about as good as Danny Haren, and was supposed to be in his second full major league season right now. Meanwhile, Daric Barton was projected to arrive around April, 2007, allowing the offense to get better as the decade wore on.

Now, with Meyer backpedaling, Harden running in place, and Zito already jokingly signing with every team he pitches against, the 2007 rotation looks thin and the offense looks thinner, while the farm system bears a striking resemblance to Calista Flockhart. The last thing the A's need is to further deplete the farm system, or further weaken the starting rotation, just to acquire a player they will lose at the end of the season.

If the A's make any move to bolster the offense--ostensibly to "go for it in 2006"--they may as well make a blockbuster move to land the Jason Bay or Bobby Abreu type player who could anchor the offense for years to come and make it possible to weather the weakened rotation or farm system it would cost to get them. Otherwise, it's not worth it because the 2006 team--with Harden, Chavez, and Bradley happy just to find 7 working limbs among them--may not be World Series good, and the rest of the decade will be a lot more fun if the team gets better, not worse, from here.

So please don't rent a good player, Billy. Buy a great one, or...Maybe we can stand Pat after all.