Can the Oakland A's Offense Come Out to Play?
I also contemplated the kids game "Red Rover, Red Rover, send the A's offense on over!" The last few years I'd say the offense has bounced harmlessly off of the locked-together arms of the opposing side.
Spring training is the time where hope springs eternal. There's always, "We got a new hitting coach!", or "We added some big bats!", or "Eric Chavez will finally be healthy this year!". I've been amongst the group of A's fans that have been saying each year, "Well, the offense couldn't be worse than last year!". Ever since 2006, A's fans have consistently been disappointed. The discussions I've heard seem more centered on who they think will hit the DL first.
To combat the injury after injury the A's have endured this past offseason, Billy Beane has gone out and gotten the A's depth, depth, and more depth. Will that help the A's or will they break their DL use record all over again? ...Ummm here's hoping for health?
Whatever it is, the A's need to do something for their anemic offense. Because having Ben Sheets on the mound won't mean a thing if they can't give him more than two runs to work with.
Last season, after all hope was lost...again...the A's got rid of all their big name players (Holliday, Giambi, Cabrera) and just let the kids show what they could do. The A's front office found out that those kids could play! In 2009, the A's were 37-49 before the All-Star break and 38-38 after, a number that could've been more impressive if not for the season ending 7 game losing streak.
Aside from letting Rajai Davis run rampant on the bases, the A's bats improved significantly. Those showing better numbers in the second half included Ryan Sweeney, Rajai Davis, Daric Barton, Mark Ellis, and Jack Cust. Here's hoping they can keep up that hot streak when the 2010 season starts.
Who knows the state of the A's 2010 bench, but that's what spring training is for. A healthy Eric Chavez would be a boon for the bench, but where does that leave Jake Fox? We all know he's out of options so he has to make the team or get traded. I dare say it's critical for him to make the team. The A's need to jump start their offense early, and Fox and catcher Kurt Suzuki are among the very few who performed better in the first half.
The acquisition of Kevin Kouzmanoff was so critical. Not only does it stabilize the hot corner and give the A's offense that they've lacked there since the days of a healthy Chavez, it takes pressure off Chavez and just lets him focus on what the A's really need from him: offense.
I'll be at the Oakland Coliseum this year hoping and cheering them on chanting "O-ffense! O-ffense! O-ffense!"
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