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Happy Rebuilding Year!

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Sadly, the 2008 Oakland A’s were officially eliminated from the race at 6:13 this morning. “We had a good run,” manager Bob Geren told reporters in an impromptu and emotional press conference at 6:16am. “Our boys fought hard right up to the end and I’m proud of them.” Reached on his cell phone as he was walking Eric Chavez’ dog, Billy Beane preached the importance of looking at baby steps during this rebuilding phase. “Next year, we fully intend to be in the race come January 2nd,” the ever competitive Beane insisted, as he hurled an L.A. Times onto Mrs. Fletcher’s porch to complete Mark Kotsay’s paper route. “I want all the fans in Auckland to know how important it is to me to field a competitive soc—baseball team.”

Ah, but I jest. I’m still excited about 2008, because I want to see what a Dana Eveland looks like, what Barton, Suzuki, and Blevins can do with a touch of experience under their belt, what Dan Meyer’s arm can do when it hasn’t just thrown a full season after sitting most of two years out, what a Denorfia looks like, whether Duchscherer can ease into the rotation as successfully as I’ve suspected, and so on. But I’m also left with a question…

…If the A’s are raising the white flag on 2008 and re-something-ing (build, load, whatever) for a-year-to-be-named-later, why in the world would they play Mark Kotsay at all, ever? Even if the guy could hit .280 next year and play an above-average CF – which is so debatable it’s not even worth debating – so what? That’s not so wonderful, or so much better than someone else could step in and do, that it’s worth anything to a losing team, and it’s not as if Kotsay is in the A’s plans beyond 2008. Getting Denorfia as many games as possible, or seeing what Buck can do in CF, or putting Carlos Gonzalez out there and saying, “Get your feet wet and be ready the following 5 years” – in each case, agree or disagree, there is at least a method to the madness. But putting Kotsay out there in CF in 2008 – other than not having to do his paper route on Sundays or something, I’m just not seeing the point at this point.