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The Left Side: Time To Finish The Job

For the current "rebuilding" to be a success in my book, the A's need to compete - not necessarily go to the post-season, mind you, but be "up and coming" contenders as they were in 1999 - in 2009. And I think they can still do it, because they have amassed enough trade chips to turn around and fill needs. Here's what I would recommend, with Eric Chavez likely your DH in 2009:

1. Keep Duchscherer, at least through his contract year (2009), if not longer, to anchor a young rotation. You don't need to trade Duke in order to make important upgrades and you do need Duke in order to compete right now.

2. I'd look at the Braves as a possible trading partner for a SS. Atlanta has a keeper in Yunel Escobar, and two excellent prospects in Brent Lillibridge and Brandon Hicks (both of whom have had their struggles this season, but both of whom are highly regarded by scouts and are turning 23 and 25, respectively), and having lost Tim Hudson (and soon Teixeira, I presume) Atlanta is especially in need of help rebuilding the pitching staff specifically and the team in general. Just a simple swap of either James Simmons or Vince Mazzaro for Brandon Hicks or Brent Lillibridge could help both organizations achieve their goals.

3. I'd look at the Cardinals as a possible trading partner for a 3Bman, specifically slugger Allan Craig, who at 24 should not be stuck behind Troy Glaus for another two years. St. Louis is in the thick of a pennant race and should be looking to win now. They have needs in the rotation (where injuries to Chris Carpenter, Mark Mulder, and Adam Wainwright have left them thin), as well as the bullpen, where Isringhausen's up-and-down season has left the Cardinals scuffling. Between Greg Smith/Dana Eveland, who could help them now and later, Huston Street, who could help them a lot now, and the A's wealth of minor league pitching talent, I would have to think there's a deal there that could land Craig in Oakland and help both organizations.

A 3Bman who can rake, a SS who might be able to hit, run, field, and throw - I can watch those guys grow up together and accept the growing pains knowing the future is bright. Whether it's exactly those guys or someone else, my point is, if you're rebuilding to show, in 2009, how good you will be in 2010, you need guys like this in the lineup, not filler like Hannahan and, sorry to say, Crosby.

The A's have the chips to make it happen without trading Duchscherer. Time to do what you do best, Billy: Get creative and get the real future on the field in Oakland now, so they can be kick-ass sooner rather than later.