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The audition

No, not DJ -- Kennedy.

After a fugly (and predictably so) 1st inning, and a couple more shaky ones, Kennedy righted himself and pitched an effective, progressively solid 6 innings against the Yankees. With Embree having imploded, DJ remaining in his trough, and the Piazza Ploy fooling no one, Joe Kennedy may at this point be the only decent trading chip Beane has.

I'd count Shannon Stewart as a decent trading chip, given his recent offensive resurgence, but the plethora of injuries has rendered him nearly indispensable. (OK, not really; if Kielty comes back and Buck recuperates, Stewart can go. But when I'm pushed to advocate hanging on to Stewart ...)

DJ -- who now at least is putting the occasional decent swing on the ball, but isn't hitting his way out of his bad luck -- is not only worse than most of the hitters on the market, he's probably a worse option than the contenders looking for 1B/DH help already have on their rosters.

Of course, when we're talking about offloading marginal players rather than the outcome of the game, that's a sign ... that we should probably be offloading players.

Beyond Kennedy's course correction and Stewart's 3-hit night, the A's really didn't have many bright spots tonight. Braden did chip in 2 decent, unflappable innings. No one (so far as we can tell) broke or strained anything. No one was arrested.

Once again, this was precisely the sort of game Beane has designed the A's to play (albeit with exemplary contributions from unexpected sources): solid starting pitching, shut-down work from the pen, solid defense ... and not enough extra-base hits. It's boring to write that over and over, but it's the monotonous reality of the A's roster as constituted.