Oakland A's: Will I Stay or Will I Go?

Ron TepperCorrespondent IIJune 22, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16:  Matt Holliday #5 of the Oakland Athletics congratulates Jason Giambi #16 after hitting a three-run home run in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 16, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

I am a die-hard A's fan.

I also think like a general manager.

Balancing the two can be awfully difficult. As much as I don't want to fold at this point, the chances of the A's rallying against all odds and winning their division this year are  as likely as me becoming the next baseball commisioner. Yes, I know the A's have a history of having great second-half seasons. I just don't see that happening this year.

When Oakland traded for Holliday and signed Giambi and others, I thought, "This is nice but your timing is off by one year." The real target date was 2010. It was next year to get those bats and reap the benefits of having a great crop of young starting pitchers unlike this league has seen in years (as in collective age) No? Name a younger rotation in baseball.

Well, pitchers like Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson (who I should remind you were pitching in Single-A ball at the start of 2008) made a huge jump right into the rotation, and although they have thrown well, one could argue at the age of 21, both could have used a full year at AAA before becoming key figures this year. It was in 2010 I could have expected those bats to merge with those young arms

Well, the trading deadline is coming up and already most of the questions are already answered. Who do we trade and what do we want in return? As of now, this is how it looks:

Eric Chavez: Staying. They'd love to dump that $11 million they owe him this year, along with an additional $11 million next, but no one will touch him. They couldn't give him away for a bag of peanuts. He's finished. Look at his stats or injuries over the last three years and honestly say I'm wrong. Hey, 5 injuries? Rehab? Rehab time is over. He's out. I would try to work with his agent on an injury settlement. That might save the A"s 50% of his contract.

Orlando Cabrera: Staying. Yes, the Red Sox like him but, so should the A's. Give Cabrera another $4 mllion right now to be the team's SS in 2010.

Jason Giambi: Trade Him. The question is, can they? He's having a bad year. He's old. They can't get any decent prospect for him. Oakland only paid him $4 Million for this year. The team has an option to have him in 2010 which they won't. If they keep Giambi next year they have to pay him double what he got this year (8.5 Million). If they let him go after this year they would pay him only 1.25 Million as a buy out.

Russ Springer: He's gone, at least after this year.

Bobby Crosby: He's gone. He is playing so badly he may end up playing in AAA next year. Thank god for the A's, he's a free agent

Mark Ellis: He has another year remaining like Chavez. He's set to make 5.5 Million in 2010. Try trading him to any team who wants him. He is blocking 2 younger prospects who may be readt next year

Matt Holliday: Now this is the big one. First of all, would they A's consider signing him long-term? They just might, but the asking price is too high. Remember its not just a matter of convincing him to stay for less money. HE HAS AN AGENT. That agent won't be happy if his client signs for $75 Million vs. $150 Million. Both have a stake. Makes sense to trade him but get a big bat back for him, it could be a prospect in AAA that has power and would be ready to step in next year, or a guy in AA who is hitting a ton.

I think the Mets and Tigers would be great trading partners.

As a GM I want a cheap club by the end of this season. I then want to reload with that dynamic pitching staff and go for it all in 2010, so this is what I do:

First, trade Holliday. I love the guy, but you have to deal him and forget about any "restocking of prospects" here. You get a team's top prospect. How about that Martinez kid from the Mets? Maybe throw in Giambi and Crosby

Wouldn't the Mets have interest? No Delgado, no Reyes, no corner outfielder, and they have the money. Makes sense. The A's unload three guys who they will lose at the end of the year anyway and get a guy that can hit in the middle of that order.

With Holliday, Giambi, Springer, Ellis, and Crosby gone, and 50 percent in a settlement for Chavez.

Justin Duchsherer is a free agent after this year. They can let him walk and owe him nothing.

Total savings: $39 Million

That $41 million per year will allow them to be players on the market for that one big Matt Holliday bat, except this is a young guy with minimal salary to whom they have the rights for at last three or four years.

So, 2010 starters: Mazzaro, Cahill, Anderson, Outman, Gio Gonzalez, and Braden. New Closer: Drew Bailey. If they get Devine back, that's a bonus.

They are solid at 2B (look at their prospects: Weeks, Patterson.) They are solid at SS with Cabrera. Solid at catcher with Suzuki. Solid in center with Sweeney/Davis. Aaron Cunningham (this kid is still in diapers) in left. Jack Cust resigns and stays at DH.

And now the best part. Not only are they the youngest team in baseball, but they come up with three bats added to Cust to finish, all affordable. Thats the key—no "rent-a-player" for a year here.

They get one big bat in free agency (and they can afford it)

One hopefully big bat in the Holliday deal, a top prospect with power that fits a position of need.

This would be the start of a small market dynasty and remember forget the lineup. IT IS ALL ABOUT PITCHING, AND THIS TEAM BY 2010 WILL BE LOCKED AND LOADED, and ready for another run.

Oh and one more thing: Fire Bob Geren


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