Oakland A’s State Of The Union – Trust In Billy Beane To Find A Gem This Winter – Just Not Cruz!

Billy Beane saw his 2013 squad reel in their 2nd straight AL West Title.  The team will be hard pressed to do it again in 2014, but don't ever count out the A's.  It has been a quiet winter thus far, with just signing Nick Punto, and exercising options on Coco Crisp and Brett Anderson. What acquisition does the MoneyBall GM have up his sleeve this time around?

Billy Beane saw his 2013 squad reel in their 2nd straight AL West Title. The team will be hard pressed to do it again in 2014, but don’t ever count out the A’s. It has been a quiet winter thus far, with just signing Nick Punto, and exercising options on Coco Crisp and Brett Anderson. What acquisition does the MoneyBall GM have up his sleeve this time around?  I don’t think he will dip into the FA Market for a big name, but certainly a guy or two that can help his ballclub.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Nelson Cruz is a sought after Free Agent for power, but it is my humble opinion that the A’s will just not fork out that type of money required to land his services.

Already, the club is projected to give out contracts that will estimate to in the $50 – $55 MIL range once some of their guys head to Arbitration like Seth Smith, Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie, Jerry Blevins and John Jaso.

The franchise will likely see Bartolo Colon and Closer Grant Balfour also leave the nest from their 2013 Pitching Rotation.

Billy Beane hasn’t really been that busy in Free Agency, as he only  signed Utility Infielder Nick Punto for a 2 YR/$5.5 MIL deal, and he exercised the Team Options on Coco Crisp and Brett Anderson.

Cespedes 2013 Highights

I doubt the Athletics will actually bring in a player like Cruz.  1st off the A's hate giving up assets like a conditional draft pick for compensation that it would take.  Secondly, a contract north of $15 MIL doesn't fit into Oakland's team salary structure.  Thirdly, the guy is injury prone, a PED user, so how can you be certain of what you are buying into.  Oakland doesn't have the luxury of being wrong on this guy.

I doubt the Athletics will actually bring in a player like Cruz. 1st off the A’s hate giving up assets like a conditional draft pick for compensation that it would take. Secondly, a contract north of $15 MIL doesn’t fit into Oakland’s team salary structure. Thirdly, the guy is injury prone, a PED user, so how can you be certain of what you are buying into. The A’s organization oesn’t have the luxury of being wrong on this guy.

The franchise just doesn’t have $16 – $20 MIL to pay one player of Nelson Cruz’ ilk.  It is also not the Beane way.

Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crisp reaching for contracts in $35 – $40 MIL total over 4 – 5 years range is the highest the MoneyBall GM likes to spend on any Free Agents.

Jermaine Dye was the last big coveted Free Agent the team signed other than those guys.  That move didn’t exactly work out for the A’s that well, although he was still decent.

The A’s win because of their depth.

The philosophy is always to have guys that Walk on Offense, and have a lot of power, while the Pitching Staff is assembled with power pitching – that can fan guys, but also don’t yield that many free bases up either.

The truth is that Beane really doesn’t have to make many moves this offseason – and his team will be ultra competitive next campaign.

Look for Yoenis Cespedes to take the next step, and you can bet Coco Crisp will have a big season in a contract year.

I would also think that Jed Lowrie and Josh Donaldson could repeat nice seasons from 2013.

Josh Reddick had a poor 2013 showing, but he could rebound in 2014 too.

Brandon Moss is really solidifying his numbers in a big league uniform.

Under the radar, is Alberto Callaspo, who came over and did an admirable job – with a .270/.350/.759 3 Slash Line out of the 2nd base position, added with 5 HRs and 22 RBI 50 Games.

Like Lowrie, Callaspo is also in a contract year.

John Jaso – and his .390 OBP over the last 2 years, will also come back to pick up some serious AB in 2014 – after having an injury plagued year in 2013.

The Pitching Staff will have A.J. Griffin, Tommy Milone, Sonny Gray, Jarrod Parker and Dan Straily all back as their Starters next year.

You mix in a little Brett Anderson for depth, and maybe a cheap veteran, and you are talking about a strength of the club.

Ryan Cook, Jerry Blevins, Dan Otero, Sean Doolittle, Jesse Chavez and Evan Scribner, and you have about 6 guys who can make up a quality Bullpen.

You have to think that Beane will pick up a reliever like Fernando Rodney, Francisco Rodriguez, David Aardsma or someone similar to help round out the Relief Core.

A guy like that could potentially make about $3 – 6 MIL for a 1 YR deal.

As for position players on the market.  Don’t be surprised to see the club go after Jason Kubel.  This is the type o guy that is perfect for the team.

A LHB, with some pop, a decent RBI guy, plus someone who could Walk.  Kubel has a Career 3 Slash of .264/.330/.715 – even though he had a down year split between the D’Backs and Indians.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Beane ends up breaking free from Seth Smith before or after his Arbitration hearing.

Another thing to think about is what the team will do with Hiroyuki Nakajima?  He is over from the NPB league, and will begin his 2nd year in North America.

Can he take over the SS position at any point?  If he can play, perhaps Jed Lowrie is a candidate to be traded.  Based on his great 2013 year, and that he is a Free Agent in 2015, Beane could sell high on this asset.

it is better for Beane to start the 2014 with more money to save for the Trade Deadline type of deals.

Just like last year when they were able to pick up Kurt Suzuki and Alberto Callaspo based on team needs, they only had to pay the pro-rated portion of their salaries for the year.

With extra Starting Pitching in the hopper, there are possibilities to make deals into the season.  Beane knows how to surf the waiver wire too.

In the course of every year, the guy makes plenty of transactions.  There have been some great stories on players that work out for him – despite not parting with any significant assets in return.

Nobody is better at pick-pocketing other franchises 25th or 26th guys on the Roster like Beane does.

You can count on an unexpected move for the better, or a player that you never thought possible for the club to pick up, will come over to Oakland on a deal.

Meanwhile the team will keep trucking along, post nearly 95 wins, keep proving skeptics wrong, and they will win the wins per $ of Team Payroll yet again.

Jason Kubel was one of the better RBI OF/DH from 2009 - 2012,  with 375 RBI in only 2145 AB.  This works out to be about 100 RBI for every 600 AB.  This was great production yet he doesn't see that much respect.  With a loaded OF in the desert of Arizona, Kubel should revel in coming back to the AL Central - where he can primarily DH.  Kubel has a Career 3 Slash of .265/.330/.766 - even though he was only .220/.288/.612 this campaign.

Jason Kubel was one of the better RBI OF/DH from 2009 – 2012, with 375 RBI in only 2145 AB. This works out to be about 100 RBI for every 600 AB. This was great production yet he doesn’t see that much respect. With a loaded OF in the desert of Arizona, Kubel should revel in coming back to the AL full  time – where he can primarily DH or be s spare part . Kubel has a Career 3 Slash of .264/.330/.755 – even though he was only .216/.293/.610 this latest campaign.

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Chuck Booth – Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:   To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here .

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker

Posted on November 28, 2013, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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