Oakland A's: Forget About Selling at Trade Deadline, for Now Anyway
The 2012 Major League Baseball season is 26 games old for the Oakland A's.
I don't know if fans should be happy with this, or if they should be disappointed.
The A's were expected to finish towards the bottom of the American League West by a lot of so-called experts. They now stand at 13-13 (second place) only four and a half games behind the mighty Texas Rangers.
There is one thing I can't get out of my head though.
That I think they could be playing better—and to be satisfied with where the club is at this point—would be selling the A's short.
Forget about the fact that no one even thought they would be this good. Well, they are this good, and quite frankly they have the potential to be better.
Expectations can, and should, change as the season progresses. So fans need to realize that even though the bar was not set that high to begin the season, the team has cleared it and now it's time to reset the bar.
There's a line from the movie Major League that reminds me of the 2012 Oakland A's: "You know these guys ain't so F'n bad."
Forget About It!
There are already rumblings all over the Internet about who the A's should or could deal at the trade deadline. As long as Billy Beane doesn't agree with thoughts about dumping guys at the July 31 deadline, then all is good.
Yes, things can change drastically for the worst between now and the end of July. If this happens, Beane will probably sell at the deadline.
Let's not jump the gun though. The A's are in the mix and to start speculating on who they could dump is unproductive thinking.
What the A's should be focused on is what they need to do to improve on there .500 season.
The A's bats need to catch up to the team's arms.
The part that makes you scratch your head, is the fact that the A's hitters have the ability to play much better than they have been so far. Jemile Weeks and Coco Crisp are the first two guys that come to mind when the subject of underachieving hitters comes up.
Weeks and Crisp hit one, two in the lineup and are supposed to be the table setters. So far, the table has a few plastic forks and a napkin.
In just under 100 games last year, Weeks hit .303 and was seen as a player the A's could build around. That's not the case in 2012. The A's lead-off man is hitting .192 and his OPB is only .266.
Crisp gets a bit of a pass due to an illness he can't seem to shake. But even before the illness he was scuffling. Crisp is career .274 hitter with an OBP of .329. In 2012, he's hitting .194 and his OBP is .260.
Guys like Josh Reddick and Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes have shown they can deliver with men on base, so when the first two guys in the order get going, things can only get better for the A's offense.
The A's Pitching staff has done their job. Obviously there have been some surprises (Tommy Milone 3-2 and Bartolo Colon 3-3), and whether they will continue to hold up their end of the bargain remains to be seen.
Colon continues to do work just about every time he is handed the ball. The veteran's record does not even come close to showing how well the big fella has pitched.
Milone is young, but has shown the ability to become a crafty left-handed pitcher. His first four starts were solid. Start number five against the Red Sox was not. Milone allowed seven earned runs on eight hits while only lasting 4.2 innings.
A's setup man Ryan Cook has been lights out. He has not allowed a run in 12.1 innings and has given up only two hits.
Closer Grant Balfour has struggled as of late and this could be a reason for concern. Jordan Norberto and Brian Fuentes are serviceable closers, but there is a reason Balfour beat them out in the first place.
The A's bullpen is going to have to be spot on all year for the team to succeed. If or when the team starts to hit on a consistent basis, the pen will have to do their job night in and night out. Let's face facts, even with improved hitting, the A's are not going to blow out a lot of clubs.
Be Happy but Not too Happy
Fans have the right to be happy with the A's thus far, but they should not be content.
Manager Bob Melvin has his team buying what he is selling. It's now just a matter of executing on the field.
The A's leader will continue to work until he finds a formula that clicks. There is no need to be talking about getting rid of players at this point in the season. The A's basically stood pat at the trade deadline last year, so to think the team should do differently in a year that shows more promise makes no sense.
If the A's are thinking about making a move at the deadline, it should be as buyers not sellers. It's early, but that should be the mindset at this point in the year. The team should be thinking to improve for 2012—and not worry so much about 2013.
I'm sure Melvin is not happy with where the A's stand at this point, so why should fans be content with mediocrity.
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