Great. I volunteer for one day at a nursery and now I think I've developed planter fasciitis. Next week I'm having an MRI to find out if I also have claustrophobia.
In any event, flash back to around this time in 2011 and the A's also had a team that, on paper, did not look special but had some interesting talent and youth, along with a failed LH hitting 1B/COFer who, into his mid-to-late 20s, had never really gotten an extended shot in the big leagues -- a player by the name of
Andrew Lambo Brandon Moss.
Perhaps most importantly, Oakland also had payroll flexibility into the new year and at the 11th hour the A's swooped in to nab Yoenis Cespedes on a $9M/year contract. That move elevated the A's from "rebuilding" to "here we come," and the rest is history.
Why is it not also future? Having entered the off-season with 3 note-worthy weaknesses to address (LF, #2 SP, bullpen), the A's have addressed the bullpen three times. Still missing, however, are a #2 SP or a new LFer -- unless you want to count Yonder Alonso's arrival pushing Mark Canha to LF.
Here are the A's, once again, sitting with at least $9M of room in their payroll. Soon, other teams' payroll will have dried up as Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Cespedes himself, Dexter Fowler, Scott Kazmir and others find a home. And the A's will be well positioned to swoop in to the international market and nab................
If an A's scout raved about Hyun-Soo Kim, his ravings were heard as rantings because Oakland declined to top all of a 2 year, $7M offer from the Orioles. Kim was not only cheap but for all we know you get what you pay for. Kenta Maeda comes with a hefty posting fee and the scouting report of more like a #4 SP than an MLB ace.
Just like 4 years ago today, the A's are beautifully positioned for a late off-season splurge of around $9M/year to bring in that impact LFer or international pitching ace, to elevate this winter's work from good to "look out, AL West". But is there a Cespedes out there for the nabbing? A Tanaka for the taking? A Soler to eclipse our expectations?
It's like the A's are 24 characters in search of an author. Oakland always zags when I'm looking zig, so I'm wondering if there's a target I haven't heard of, haven't considered, that might constitute a January or February surprise that brings the whole shebang together. Or is it "Coco, Brooks, Smolinski, Doubront, and call me when it's 2017"?