When Mark Ellis went down with an injury, the Oakland A's made a minor trade, sending minor league infielder Joe Dillon to the Tampa Bay Rays for Adam Kennedy.
Since arriving on the scene in Oakland, Kennedy has been one of the most consistent offensive forces for the A's, as well as playing outstanding defense no matter where Bob Geren puts him.
Kennedy has played a majority of his games at second base, has made an appearance in right field, and now has taken over as the everyday third basemen for the A's, and he's played very well over at the hot corner.
With the expansive foul territory the Oakland Coliseum offers, it's a testament to Kennedy that he's been ready every day no matter what position he's asked to play.
But, the biggest surprise so far this season has been his offense. He's never been known as a power source, and has been primarily known more as a slap hitter, but since his arrival, he's had times where he has come up with huge hits for the A's.
For the season, he's hitting .289, with nine homers, 43 RBI, 18 doubles, 38 runs, 1 triple, 11 stolen bases, all over just 78 games.
In the offseason, the A's are going to have to answer the question of what should they do with Kennedy. Do they let him go as a free agent or do the A's re-sign him?
The first issue is that the A's have Mark Ellis under contract and he's been an outstanding defensive player for the A's. Ellis's offense has deserted him since his career year in 2007. 2008 was marked with injury for Ellis and, in 2009, he's had some injuries and his bat is slowly coming around for the A's.
So, what do the A's do with Ellis if Kennedy is re-signed? My answer is for the A's to trade him to Arizona. Why? Well, because when Ellis had his chance in free agency to go elsewhere, he was strongly considering a move to Arizona due to the family he had in the area.
If the A's could get a minor leaguer that could pay off for them in a couple of years for Ellis, then the A's should go for that. Then again, the A's may not look to trade Ellis either, and may actually decide to keep him around.
The reason the A's would keep Ellis at second base is a simple one. Right now, the A's have no real starting third basemen, although Brett Wallace looks like he's the future third basemen for the A's, and with Bobby Crosby gone, the A's could move Ellis over to third if Wallace doesn't make the team out of spring training.
Another issue is that the A's do have two outstanding second base prospects in Jemile Weeks and Adrian Cardenas, but neither look like they will be ready to make an impact for the A's until late 2010.
So, back to the question of whether the A's keep Kennedy. The answer is yes, they should! As for keeping Ellis around, I believe that is a foregone conclusion because their infield prospects aren't yet ready for the major leagues. As I mentioned before, Kennedy has been playing solid third base, and I believe because of this, the re-signing of Kennedy will be one of the bigger priorities for the A's.
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