Words and Numbers

Looking at all these trade Rumors, I started to think. Could the A's indeed compete in 2008 after all? Or perhaps my optimistic side just showed itself and has yet to be eclipsed by my pessimistic side yet.

As I see it, this would be our current 25 Man Roster if the season started today, and everyone miraculously became healed of all their wounds.

LF Travis Buck
1B Daric Barton
RF Nick Swisher
DH Jack Cust
3B Eric Chavez
2B Mark Ellis
CF Chris Denorfia
C1 Kurt Suzuki
SS Bobby Crosby

C2 Rob Bowen
3B Jack Hanahan
SS Donnie Murphy
CF Mark Kotsay
1B Dan Johnson

SP Dan Haren
SP Rich Harden
SP Joe Blanton
SP Chad Gaudin
SP Justin Duchscherer

CL Huston Street
RP Alan Embree
RP Andrew Brown
RP Lenny DiNardo
RP Santiago Casilla
RP Dan Meyer

So lets examine this. According to ZIPS Projections, the A's could potentially have above average hitting talent at every position except Short Stop. That is, though, if you replace Kurt Suzuki with Rob Bowen, but personally, I think Suzuki will out preform his projection and at least be League Average, but we'll have to wait for PECOTA to see if the projection systems have a consensus on this.

ZIPS also predicts that we will have 4 above average starters in Rich Harden, Dan Haren, Justin Duchscherer and Joe Blanton, with Chad Gaudin being below average with a 4.55 ERA. But, ZIPS also says we will only have 1 above average relief pitcher in Huston Street, if Duchscherer does join the rotation. Though ZIPS does look very pessimistic on pitchers.

The way I see it, the weak points on our roster are:
Center Field
Short Stop
Starting Pitcher
Setup Men

That is a lot of holes, but potentially only Three players are needed to fill it, if Duchscherer goes back to relief and sures up the Bullpen. Centerfield could be taken care of if Denorfia comes back strong, and/or Mark Kotsay gets bitten.

So my question to AN is, with the consensus that the Angels have mostly made sideways moves thus far, and the big assumption that the A's will infact be healthy for the first time in years, can the A's compete if we acquire a Starting Pitcher and Short Stop of decent quality?

For example, if we were to go after a reclaimation project, though again, with our injury history, it would probably doom them to death, of Jason Jennings, Bartolo Colon or Mark Prior, could we compete with the Angels and Mariners? Could we even entertain the idea of putting Jack Hanahan at Short Stop or Second Base and moving Ellis to Short? Can Murphy, Petit or Crosby do the job with out bankrupting the offense?

And if we did come to the belief that we could compete, and traded for talent, who do we have in the minors? In short, who are our top 10 prospects anyways?