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Incentives

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So any ANer who manages to stay healthy enough to read this post all the way through could receive upwards of 2.5 cents. Just kidding of course, but incentives seem like the new black around green and gold land.

Last year it was Frank Thomas and his busted wheels. This year it's Shannon Stewart and his broken wheel. We all know how the Frank Thomas signing turned out. Now I'm not going to sit here and say that Stewart is going to be Frank Thomas. They're very, very different players. First of all, Stewart would be expected to play in the field. He will also be expected to make it to second base on a shot in the gap.

But what Thomas and Stewart do have in common is that they're low risk chances that Billy Beane rolled the dice on. Thomas appeared to be headed for retirement given the trajectory of his career, yet he was able to parlay one near MVP season into a very large contract to go play on artificial turf. Good luck with all that, Big Hurt. Stewart obviously realized that playing on turf wasn't a smart idea for a guy with plantar fasciitis, so he bailed on the Terrordome for the lush outfield of the Coliseum (well at least until the Raiders park their seats over it in September).

Stewart is an injury risk joining a team full of injury risks. But he's a fantastic replacement for Jay Payton. Stewart could easily replicate what Payton did for the A's in 2006 and probably add some more plate discipline to the overall A's lineup.

As a matter of fact, I really like the A's lineup top to bottom now, assuming that Stewart is healthy.

Stewart (or knowing the A's, Kendall)
Swisher
Bradley
Piazza
Chavez
Crosby
Kotsay
Kendall
Ellis

OK, so it isn't exactly a lineup that will scare you to death, but there's a good hitter 1-9 right there. And Swisher, Bradley and Piazza can provide some significant pop. Then you've got Dan Johnson and Durazo as well. I wouldn't doubt seeing DJ traded at some point because I know the A's love Swisher at first.

I love the fact that Beane is finding guys who need the A's as much as the A's need them. Stewart isn't a future hall of famer like Thomas, but he gives the A's exactly what they need right now and that's depth. He also gives them good defense and we know how the A's love that.

Damn, I just realize by writing this far, I kicked in your "I listened to rambling too long" clause. Oh well, for a small market blog, you do what you've got to to survive.