- Baseball in the Garden of Eden, A Book ReviewPosted 770 days ago
Oakland Still Sitting In Last Place
- Updated: June 7, 2009
Although they were originally looked at as the number one contender to knock off the two time reigning American League West champions, the Oakland Athletics find themselves ten games under .500 and in last place in the division.
General Manager Billy Beane deviated from his usual plan this past offseason by adding aging veterans and trading some of his young players in hopes of winning big in 2009.
The first big move of the offseason for Beane was trading for Colorado Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday, in turn trading away closer Huston Street and top prospect Carlos Gonzalez. After that, Beane signed Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera, Nomar Garciaparra, and a barrage of veteran bullpen arms.
This offseason was one of the first that saw Beane trade for big names instead of prospects. But with all those big moves, they have not converted to wins.
The biggest problem is that the A’s ace of their staff, Justin Duchscherer, has not even thrown a pitch this entire season while recovering from right elbow surgery. In the process, this injury has created one of the youngest starting rotations ever.
The rotation is led by Dallas Braden who is 4-5 with a 3.63 ERA in 11 starts. Braden is also only 25. Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson hold down the number two and three spots in the rotation although they both just turned 21 a few months ago.
Cahill is 2-5 with a 4.33 ERA. He has made three straight starts going at least 5.2 innings while giving up 3 runs or less, although he has been given the loss in two of those starts. As for Anderson, he is coming off of a really rough outing where he gave up 6 runs on 8 hits in 4 innings against the Texas Rangers. He carries the same record as Cahill but also has a 5.70 ERA.
Josh Outman has started eight games this season as the A’s “new” fourth starter, replacing Dana Eveland. He is 2-0 and carries the best ERA at 3.06 among all starters on the team. In all of his eight starts, he has given up no more than 3 runs.
As for the fifth spot, Edgar Gonzalez is occupying it for the past two starts. His first start was decent (1 run in 5 innings), but his second one was not (5 runs in 5 innings) while giving him his first loss in an Athletic uniform.
The pitching has done the best it could with what they have got but the real problem lies in the offense. Their big trade piece, Holliday, has only 7 home runs while hitting .278. He hit his first home run on the last day in April while hitting .240. But by the time Holliday started going back in the right direction, the A’s already found themselves three games under .500 at 8-11.
Another big offseason acquisition, Nomar Garciaparra has found himself on the DL. Oakland took another hit when they lost their second baseman in Mark Ellis who also landed on the DL. This forced them to go out and get Adam Kennedy.
Much like Holliday, Jason Giambi has hit hard times too. He does have 6 home runs but he is only hitting at a .218 clip. Shortstop Cabrera is also struggling, he is only hitting .233 with 2 home runs. His on base percentage has also dipped a lot from last season. He just doesn’t seem like the same player anymore.
In addition to their problems with their new players, the comeback by Eric Chavez has been put on hold once again as he too has landed a trip on the DL. In eight games this season, Chavez was hitting .100 before getting multiple injuries, a strained right forearm and a herniated disc.
All in all, it has not been a good first two months for the Athletics. If this trend keeps going, look to see Beane flip Holliday for some prospects near the trading deadline. It was a common idea when Beane acquired Holliday that if the A’s were out of it in June and/or July that they would trade Holliday for quite a bounty.
This might be the best option for Oakland as they sit 9.5 games back. Even if the A’s can string a few wins together and get past Seattle, they would then have to surpass on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Texas Rangers which would be a very hard feat to do.
It seems like a broken record but it might be best for the A’s to just build for 2010 and beyond.