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SS And 3B: 3 Great Recent Moves By Billy Beane

As disappointed, and at times highly critical, as I've been the past 2-3 years over the absence of a "major league ready" SS or 3Bman on the horizon, the fact remains that there is a scenario far worse than doing nothing - and that is putting eggs in the wrong basket. Billy Beane has had opportunities to make mistakes that we would have praised at the time only to regret later, such as:

* Brent Lillibridge  Remember when Lillibridge was such a hot SS commodity in the Braves' system that "conversations about him would start with Cahill or Anderson"? Maybe the A's could have swindled Atlanta by getting away with only parting with Mazzaro? Lillibridge, now 25, is sporting a line of .202/.247/.310 in AAA so far this season, after batting .220 last year.

* Andy Marte  Now 25, Marte was another "hot 3B prospect" who at one time would have required a haul of talent to acquire. In 2005-08, Marte had 174 games and 513 at bats to show what he could do. What he did was sport a line of .211/.265/.337.

* Andy LaRoche  Sure, in 2009 LaRoche has finally put up passable big league numbers - and by passable I mean a .764 OPS (.291/.367/.397) in the National League. LaRoche will be 26 before the end of the season and in his 2006-08 trials he hit .226, .203, and .152, slugging .312, .322, and .232 those seasons. How would we have liked to have parted with our minor league talent in order to bank our 3B hopes on that?

My point is that the A's could easily have put their eggs in one of those baskets, and at the time it would have made A's fans feel great - finally, Billy Beane has gone out and addressed the "left side of the infield problem" by getting a blue chip prospect! Sure it cost the A's some of their good young pitching, but it was worth it because finally the A's have, on the left side of the infield...Someone whom Jack Hannahan and Bobby Crosby have outperformed?