A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Another reason for optimism

As the season approaches, I am very, very excited about this team, more than I was about the 2004 and 2003 teams. The closer you look, the better this team appears to be.

One thing the A's have which they didn't have last year is depth. When Ellis got injured, sub-.300 OBP Marco Scutaro (a very disappointing season from him, admittedly) was the replacement. When Chavez was out for a month, we paraded a bunch of guys out there who could neither hit nor field. About the only useful backup we had was Melhuse.

This year? We can withstand almost anything. If Kendall is injured, Melhuse (or possibly John Baker, who is impressing everyone in major league camp) can step right in. If Hatte or Durazo bite the dust, Dan Johnson is right there. We have two major-league quality second basemen in Ellis and Ginter. If Chavez gets hurt, Ginter can play third. We have three guys who can play center if Kotsay gets hurt (Byrnes, Swisher, and Thomas), and we have those same three guys in the corners, along with Kielty. We have at least six reasonable starters (though I'm not personally sold on Yabu), more if you count Etherton, Serrano, and Saarloos. The pen is laughably deep; we will have no trouble coping with Bradford's unavailability, as Huston Street, Jairo Garcia, and Yabu are able to step right in, and multi-inning guys like Duchscherer and Cruz provide quality depth.

About the only position where an injury would really hurt is shortstop, where Bobby Crosby is really the only major-league-caliber player in the organization. Ellis used to be a shortstop, but hasn't played there in three years, and his shoulder injury presumably would interact poorly with the longer throws. The radical solution would be to move Chavez over and put Ginter at third, but that seems unlikely (though I'm sure Chavy would be excited about it.) Mike Rouse isn't really a major league player. Scutaro would provide his usual bad defense and mediocre bat.

Hopefully Crosby, who seems to get the best of every collision, won't go down.

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