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Creative Solutions To Nice Problems

I like them all so much, can't we just keep each one and I promise I'll walk them (with Chavy's dog) every day if you just let me keep them all! I'm referring, of course, to the glut of non-starters I'd really like to see make the A's Opening Day roster, such as:

  • Ryan Goleski, who is too good to send back to Cleveland but who (barring a deal) has to be on Oakland's major league roster in order to stay with the organization

  • Erubiel Durazo, whose "Holy Grail" hitting ability puts him in a category of players the A's usually can't get once, let alone twice.

  • Bobby Kielty, who is arguably the team's single best hitter against left-handed pitching.

  • Shannon Stewart, who is a lot better than Cindi realizes when she exclaims, "How good can Shannon Stewart be--I've never even heard of her!"

Now things tend to sort themselves out, and if Dan Johnson starts seeing triple, or if Milton Bradley gets his first owie mid-March, the A's may only wish they had dilemmas. But just in case everyone is healthy and looking good (and playing well), here are some creative, outside-the-box ideas of how the A's can cram these faves--we'll call them "the litter"--onto 25 spots:
  • FREE PEREZ NOW! No Antonio Perez, no Lou Merloni, no Donnie What's-his-name, just Marco "jack of all three positions" Scutaro as backup infielder to Ellis, Crosby, and Chavez. That means if Chavez goes down, you're looking at Scutaro or Melhuse at 3B for the rest of the game--and then a roster move to part with one of the litter. It buys you time to see if Goleski, or Durazo, Kielty, or Stewart might wear out their welcome, and if one of the litter gets hurt before an infielder does then hey, the dilemma has sorted itself out once again.

  • FREE YABU NOW! OK, Yabu just stands for that guy who never pitches but probably would if the game went 17 innings and we needed a double-play against a Rule-5 switch-hitter. Perhaps we could survive just fine with 11 pitchers, given that Haren, Loaiza, and Blanton are innings eaters and given that guys like Embree, Gaudin, and Halsey can give you multiple innings out of the pen. Why not keep Halsey, rather than another short reliever like Witasick, in the pen as a back-end innings eater and go with 6 relievers (e.g., Street, Duke, Calero, Gaudin, Embree, Halsey) so that you can hang onto Goleski and have a bench with Durazo to mash righties and Kielty to mash lefties?

  • FREE MELHUSE NOW! With Durazo and Stewart and Kielty, we don't really need Melhuse's bat, and with Kendall as your everyday starter a back-up catcher's main role is to be ignored by the manager. So let's just give Kendall what he wants: write his name on the lineup card in indelible ink, and tell Piazza he's your emergency back-up catcher, but first confirm with Kendall that if he gets horribly injured (e.g., blocking home plate against the Zamboni machine during a rain delay) he is to emulate the character from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, insist that his decapitation is "merely a flesh wound," hop to first base on the one still-attached leg, and steal second.

OK, these ideas might be presented in descending order of seriousness, but really, please: Can we keep the whole litter? I really like them all.