Color me pessimistic, but I was happy when the A's non-tendered Jack Cust at the Dec 12 deadline and I am not happy about the re-signing of Jack Cust today. I've tried very hard to wrap my head around whatever it is that Beane is planning this offseason, but doing so is like when my NASA scientist father speaks his science speak at me.
Buster Olney from ESPN was quoted as saying the A's value Cust "in a way that many other teams do not." Nearly a month on the free-agent market and Cust must return to the only team that has ever given him a chance. I personally think there's a reason the other 29 teams aren't interested.
Cust is a one-dimensional offensive player, and the A's need to unclog that roster space and open it up to all the players stuck in the A's organizational logjam known as the 1B/3B/OF/DH crunch. If Eric Chavez is healthy to play 3B, where does Jake Fox go? If Chavez is healthy but not enough to play 3B, he must DH...forcing Cust's atrocious defense to the OF forcing one of Sweeney/Davis/Hairston/Crisp/Buck/Cunningham/??? to the bench/AAA. Clearly this leaves no room for 1B/OF prospects Chris Carter and Michael Taylor.
The A's have power without Cust (his only valuable resource), and keeping him around is counter- intuitive to the whole "rebuilding" plan. It's hard to rebuild when you keep around old pieces and don't try the new ones. Ask any architect.