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Should the A's Even Upgrade?

Uh... yeah... Oakland? Um.... no...
Uh... yeah... Oakland? Um.... no...

I know it has been quoted before, but on the podcast I am a part of we had Sam Miller then of the Orange County Register on and he spoke about how the stars have to align and everything has to be just right for Oakland, whereas other teams sort of seeing stuff lining up and go for it. The Orioles are in that boat right now, they didn't expect to be where they are but they are a few games out of the wild card and are going for it. There is something to be said of this strategy. Even if the club wasn't supposed to compete, they are and they plan on taking advantage of that.

Which brings us to the A's who sit at 47-44 and a half game behind Los Angeles and Detroit for a wild card, tied with the aforementioned Orioles and the Indians, and a half game ahead of Boston and Tampa Bay. The A's have a clear glaring weakness, the left side of their infield, and there has been talk of making upgrades. Among the names bandied about are Yunel Escobar and Stephen Drew. While I'd love to get a fortification at third base, so far the rumor mill at least indicates that the A's are interesting primarily in adding a shortstop where there are more players of a higher caliber available.

But should Oakland give up some prospects to compete today? Escobar to me doesn't represent a huge improvement over Pennington who I think ought to bounce back to normal numbers hopefully next year at a cost less than that of Escobar. Drew who intrigues me has a mutual option for 2013 and heading into a free agent season it seems no sure bet that he would exercise it to play in Oakland. The A's have pitching depth, but if they want to compete beyond 2012 should they really be trading arms that could be used in the future when they have guys who are set to leave via free agency at the end of 2012? Does getting another rental really serve any purpose?

The A's are in some ways in a strong position vis-a-vis the teams they are competing with presently. With pitching depth they have an ability to fill holes that others team may not. But look at Tampa Bay, they have a lot more depth to work from. Look at Boston, who have the ability to add payroll, as does Los Angeles or Detroit. If it were me I'd be looking at dealing Colon, I'd be looking at dealing Balfour, and seeing what I could get for Jonny Gomes and if I could finally get something in return for Coco Crisp. I would not be looking at mortgaging anything more than fringe players for a shot at a second wild card.