With the new year in full swing, the A's need to stick to their New Year's resolution and continue to get younger and stronger. However, with the recent offseason moves made by Billy Beane, it's hard not to notice that they've strayed just a tiny bit from their Youth Movement.
The A's third base situation is probably their biggest priority, since they've traded away top prospect Brett Wallace to Toronto in exchange for another highly regarded prospect, Michael Taylor. Now, the A's have Jake Fox to provide some kind of insurance to the injury-prone Eric Chavez.
The A's also have invited Dallas McPherson, a once highly-regarded Angels' prospect ruined by nagging back injuries. McPherson is expected to compete for a job in Spring Training; he too could provide some insurance for Chavez. One other possibility for the A's third base situation is prospect IF Adrian Cardenas, who could be moved over to third base.
Aside from the A's apparent third base needs, they are also without an experienced short stop. Cliff Pennington, although solid defensively and offensively (he hit .279, 21 RBI, 4 HR in 60 Games) isn't without risk. The A's top pick in last year's draft, SS Grant Green, is considered more fundamentally sound than most, but won't be expected to make the roster during spring training since he still needs experience in the minors.
So far this offseason GM Billy Beane and the A's have busy, and with the resigning of Justin Duchscherer and the signing of OF Coco Crisp, the A's will continue to look for temporary solutions for their biggest problems until their highly regarded hitters begin to earn their way onto the big-league roster.
The A's in 2010 should be extremely young and exciting to watch. The A's young pitching staff will include Justin Duchscherer, Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, and Gio Gonzalez. The A's bullpen will be even stronger, with the return of Joey Devine who joins AL ROY Andrew Bailey, Michael Wuertz, Brad Zeigler, and Craig Breslow.
The A's offensively will be very interesting, especially if Chris Carter, who was named MiLBY for a hitter, makes the roster for opening day. Despite Carter's impressive numbers, the A's still think highly of Daric Barton, who was once considered their top-hitting prospect. Barton hit .269 with 24 RBI in 54 games with the A's last season.
OF Prospect Michael Taylor who came to the A's in the Halladay-Lee four team trade, will be exciting to watch during spring training since he's drawn comparison to Frank Thomas in looks. He's a big guy, with a ton of potential and should be exciting to see as he tries to compete for a job in the OF. But, with the signing of Crisp, the OF seems a bit congested.
The A's currently have Sweeney, Crisp, Davis, and Hairston in the OF, and perhaps Beane could use one of them as trade bait and bring up Taylor later in the year. Regardless, Taylor is part of the A's bright young future.
Although there have been some rumors about the A's pursuing Adrian Beltre, Miguel Tejada, and other seasoned-vets, their goal is the same. They want to slowly introduce their big-time bats along with their already promising young arms to position themselves as playoff contenders in the coming decade.
Make no mistake, the A's have a bright future ahead of them.