In his most ringing endorsement since Ken Macha was deemed "good enough for us before, and good enough for us now," Billy Beane has traded for Ryan Langerhans, citing that Langerhans "was available, and given our situation with all the injuries, we need as many healthy bodies as we can get." Essentially, the A's coveted Langerhans because he is that rare "two-tool" player--the two tools being "available" and "having a pulse".
So if you're trying to assess the Langerhans trade, today's secret word is: "inconsequential". As far as I can see, Langerhans was acquired because:
* The A's want to be able to play their other guys in the best positions for them to play, rather than asking Shannon Stewart to pretend he is CFer, asking Marco Scutaro to pretend he is an OFer, and asking Danny Putnam to pretend he is a major leaguer. Langerhans, by being alive and able to play all three OF positions, at least gives the A's added flexibility to put some other guys where they actually belong.
* The A's figure that right now if they can't score any runs, the best chance they have is not to allow any runs either. This means keeping the pitching and defense as solid as possible. So when the Braves said, "Sorry, you can't have Andruw Jones for a Player To Be Named Later or cash," Beane went after someone who will improve the OF defense. In other words, right now the A's are conceding that in the near future CF is not going to provide any offensive punch, so Langerhans joins Kendall, Crosby, and insert-the-others-you-feel-also-fit this-description-here as players who are being told, "Just make all the plays at this important defensive position, and anything you bring to the offense is a bonus." Yes, it's unfortunate when you have about 9 of those in the lineup, but oh well.
"A day, a week, and a month" describe the approximate timetables for the returns of Swisher, Bradley, and Kotsay. Ryan Langerhans is not a major piece of the 2007 puzzle (unless he gets hot and bats .212 or something). Langerhans is, essentially, May 2007's "Player To Be Forgotten Sooner". Which is to say Beane isn't even claiming that Langerhans is "Mr. Right"--just "Mr. Right Now".