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If You Could Return One ex-A's Player to Oakland...

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It's hard to root heart and soul for a team the way that we root for the A's and have to let go of our favorite players. It's bad enough that they no longer play for the A's, but watching them have success with another team, especially on a national stage, is a tough pill to swallow. And due to the nature of the turnovers on this team, there are a lot of ex-A's players out there, and this year's playoffs are no exception.

We all miss favorite players, for varying reasons. Some of us miss the personalities; some of us miss the bats in the lineup, but most of us can think of at least one ex-A's player that they want back on the team.

I miss players like Giambi and Tejada, not because I necessarily want them back on the team now, but because they had great years in Oakland. I will always love Ramon Hernandez for his walk-off bunt, and Scutaro for his series-clinching double. I miss a healthy Mark Mulder, and I felt for Nick Swisher as he struggled this year. Watching Danny Haren start games brings back great memories; it's fun to watch Blanton's success, and I'll even admit to pangs of nostalgia watching Tim Hudson. And I know for sure that despite Zito's obvious decline and ridiculous contract, plenty of ANers have been rooting for him to pitch well, even if only because his first years with the Giants have been like kicking a puppy.

And then there are players like Kendall, who was a safe-bet .300 hitter until he joined the A's,and Johnny Damon, who had easily the worst season of his career during his year here. But do you want them back for a second shot at the numbers that they should have put up for the A's?

And those were performance issues. What about injuries? Is it hard to watch Jermaine Dye's success with the White Sox when he was so unlucky with the A's? And don't even bring up Rich Harden. Irrational as it well may be, after rooting for Rich to complete even three starts in a row with the A's for many years--much less the playoffs--watching him this year was painful. Yet do I want him back to try again?

If you had asked me this same question at the beginning of this season, my answer was obvious: I missed Frank Thomas, and I wish that had turned out better for everyone concerned. I don't have an answer for this off-season, but I bet AN does.

If you could pick one ex-A's player (must be still playing--Rickey doesn't count) to rejoin the team next year with the full guarantee that they would start the year healthy, who would it be, and why?