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The A’s Don’t Have Openings At SS And CF – And That’s The Problem

I wish the A’s didn’t have a SS or a CF – because then they’d be forced to go out and get one with the rather substantial payroll, and 40-man roster, flexibility Oakland has right now.

As it stands, the high draft picks used to select Bobby Crosby and Cliff Pennington have left Oakland with one offensive albatross at SS and no help on the way. The immediate outlook for the A’s would look a whole lot better if they hadn’t drafted so poorly at this position not once but twice.

Meanwhile, in CF the A’s are relying on two players who missed 2007 – Chris Denorfia, who literally missed the season entirely (Tommy John surgery), and Mark Kotsay, who missed half of it, returned to find that backs don’t mend so quickly after all, and was soon shelved to “try again next year,” i.e., another year older and removed from his brief prime.

Of all three players, only Denorfia gives me any hope and that’s partly because he has yet to disappoint. Denorfia does not project to be the next great starting OFer; however, by all accounts he does maximize his skills and he was no less highly regarded than was another A’s overachiever, Mark Ellis. If Denorfia proves to be exactly as good as Ellis, I’ll do cartwheels – and the A’s might do contention, considering that Ellis followed his lost season with a .316 batting average!

But here are Beane’s problems:

• Rather than not having players at SS and CF, he has players that nobody else wants – and that with the possible exception (hopefully) of Denorfia, the A’s shouldn’t want either.

• The minor league system is not bereft entirely, but it is bereft of prospects at those positions for at least the next 1-2 years – if not longer.

• SS and CF are key positions you can’t fill cheaply by trade – unless you want to unload starting pitching, and become weak at a position that is even more key than SS and CF.

So given the importance of these two positions, given that the A’s have three players (not even counting Donnie Murphy) already tabbed to start at these two positions, given Crosby’s swing and health, Denorfia’s rust and greenness, Kotsay’s surgery and decline, given the lack of trade value the aforementioned have, and given what it would take to bring in superior talent at those positions, I put it to you AN:

What the heck would you do?