A's Fading Away in the West

Joseph LopezCorrespondent IJune 19, 2009

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 18:   Matt Holliday #5 of the Oakland Athletics takes the field after striking out to end the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 18, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 3-2.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Remember when Billy Beane traded for Matt Holliday? Or when he signed Jason Giambi, Nomar Garciaparra and Orlando Cabrera in an attempt to boost an anemic offense?

Remember when the A's were said to be the darkhorse team in the American League?

With the month of June half over, the A's trail the first place Rangers by nine games. How can a team with Matt Holliday, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Giambi be nine games out of first?

It's been a very ironic year thus far for Billy Beane and the rest of the A's front office. For once, they actually went after a proven hitter and finally forked up some cash to sign key veterans like Jason Giambi and Orlando Cabrera.

The deals haven't paid off, though. Instead of seeing the impact many expected to see from Matt Holliday, the A's are finding themselves fading in the standings.

Jason Giambi has a batting average right around the .200 mark, Cabrera is hitting under .240, and Nomar is dealing with his calf-injury. And even though Matt Holliday is hitting a solid .275 with eight home runs, it's not the kind of impact Billy Beane expected.

The A's offense is still anemic, partly because the A's don't have an answer to their injury woes. They simply can't stay healthy. Eric Chavez is out, Mark Ellis has been out, and Ryan Sweeney was just activated from the DL.

But who's really to blame for the A's lack of success? Is it Bob Geren, who in my opinion is one of the worst managers in the American League, or is it Billy Beane? Who put the A's in this position?

In 2007 Beane traded away fan favorite, Nick Swisher, and his best pitcher, Dan Haren. In 2008 the A's shocked the League by playing .500 ball in the first half, but after Beane traded Rich Harden away the A's hit the brakes on and lost any hope of playoff contention.

The Harden trade was one of the worst trades Billy Beane has made. It really made no sense whatsoever. And now with the A's nine games out, is Beane ready to ship Holliday off to a contending club? Or will he summond enough courage to axe his best friend, Bob Geren?

Geren had his shot, and disappointingly, he's failed. He hasn't named his closer yet, and even in June he has no idea who to give the ball to in save situations. His use of the bullpen is questionable, and his frequent lineup changes never allows A's hitters to find their stride.

If the A's continue to fade from the rest of the West, then look for Beane to trade away yet another All-Star. If the A's continue losing close ballgames due to bad judgement look for Geren to get the axe.