A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

One more pickup?

The regular trade deadline has come and gone, but the last day for waiver transactions is August 31, and Peter Gammons is reporting that the A's are trying to acquire 2B Jeff Kent from the Astros. Houston says it is willing to take on some of the remainder of Kent's contract, but supposedly the A's ownership has balked at the idea of adding any more salary. It should be noted that in contrast to previous years where they were consistently 28th or so, the 2004 A's are in the middle of the pack in terms of total player salary.

How good a pickup would Jeff Kent be? Well, I'm sure the financial parameters would have to be appropriate, and it would be a shame to give up too much in terms of prospects. But Kent, even in his decline phase, is still a very good hitter:

2002 (SF): .313/.368/.565
2003 (Hou): .297/.351/.509
2004 (Hou): .282/.334/.477

It's not a pretty trend, especially when you take park effects into account, further distancing the recent Kent from the MVP candidate of 2002. But those numbers are still solid, especially for a second baseman. Compare with the A's second basemen this year:

Scutaro .274/.296/.378 (307 AB as a 2B)
McLemore .227/.320/.284 (88 AB as a 2B)

plus a smattering of terrible at-bats by Esteban German and Frank Menechino (before he was dealt to Toronto). That's pretty ugly.

I'm pretty sure Kent has a no-trade clause, but he has indicated to the Houston front office that he wouldn't mind being moved to a contender in the right situation, since it looks like the Astros are out of the running this year. Kent is originally from California, played college ball at Cal-Berkeley and of course spent his prime years across the Bay playing for the Giants, so I'm sure he wouldn't turn down a trade to the A's.

Kent still has a little over $2M left on his $9.5M salary for this year, after which he will be a free agent. With Mark Ellis's rehab coming along ahead of schedule, the team doesn't really need a 2B for 2005 so they can just let him walk at season's end and pocket the draft picks. Meanwhile, having Kent's bat in the lineup instead of Scutaro's would really improve the team at what I consider to be the weakest position on the diamond for the A's for the rest of this season and, hopefully, deep into the postseason.

Obviously there's some money to be worked out, and prospects, but I would love to see a deal like this happen. The A's and Astros have already made two deals this season involving major leaguers (the Kirk Saarloos-Chad Harville trade and the Dotel trade), so obviously they are comfortable dealing with each other. Houston, just like any other organization, could use some of the low-risk, moderate-upside prospects that the A's farm system is just chock full of. C'mon, Billy, work your magic one more time...

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Watching those highs and lows

The A's won a good one last night, 3-1. It was dissapointing that they could go 7-4 on the road against the best, then come home and go 2-4 against the worst. But I keep telling myself that it is a long season and one game or even one week is not do or die. The A's are never as great as they look when they win a bunch in a row, and are never as bad as they look when they have a bad week.

Last night on Extra Innings after the game, Robert Baun posed the question: "If you could get one former A's player back for this stretch drive, regardless of salary, who would it be?" There were many votes for Tejada and Foulke, and Damon, I thought Ted Lilly would be nice pickup, but then last night Redman did such a nice job. The truth is, if we picked up anyone, we'd have to maximize the equation "who we'd get minus who we have there now". The A's do such a great job filling holes, it becomes difficult justify replacing anyone playing for the A's now. If we could get Ray Durham back and sit Scutaro, it would be an offensive upgrade but a defensive downgrade. If we get Ted Lilly back, we put Redman in the pen? Not really clear that that is an upgrade. If we get Miggy, we move him to 2b? Crosby to 2b? I can't remember a dominant LF to get back to sit Byrnesy. Foulke is probably an upgrade over Dotel, but Foulke did blow the save in game 4 of the playoffs last year. I am not so sure Dotel wouldn't have done better in that situation. Damon is great, but you gonna sit Kotsay? I noticed no one called in and said, "What we need to take this team to the next level is to get T Long back!"

Monday, August 16, 2004


It is hard to muster up the energy to post when the A's are on a losing streak. After ripping through the toughest part of their schedule, the green and gold have dropped two of three to AL Central also-rans Detroit and Kansas City. Oh well. It's on to Baltimore and Tampa Bay. There's still time to put a winning streak together before the schedule goes back to divisional play in September.

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