Saturday, December 17, 2005

Unofficial 2006 Roster Updated

Click here.

Billy Beane made the unusual move of signing free agent Esteban Loaiza to a 3 year contract worth about $21 million with an option for 2009. This one has me scratching my head, why pay roughly $7 million per year for a starting pitcher with a career WHIP of 1.41 and career BAA of 0.285? Yes, I like the K/BB ratio of 2.33 and the fact that he has been a reliable starter averaging more than 180 IP for the last 3 seasons. Then there is always the argument of "quality starts". Ok, ok, I get it. I have nothing against the guy, and I think he is a solid starter. I just don't think he is worth $21 million + over 3 years, especially with that ERA of 4.71 and WHIP of 1.52 away from home during 2005. Regardless, this move strengthens the A's starting staff, adding depth to an already solid rotation.

In what could possibly be the steal of the century - possibly, mind you, only time will tell - the A's traded hot minor league prospect Andre Ethier to the Dodgers for talented but flawed OF Milton Bradley and utility infielder Antonio Perez. That's right, 2 major league players for 1 minor league prospect who's stock - after a smoking Arizona Fall League stint - will never be higher. I liked Andre Ethier a lot and felt he had a good future with the A's at some point, but have no ill feelings for trading him for 2 solid major leaguers. For excellent analysis on this deal, has the 411.

I am not going to go into the details of Bradley's now famous temper and on and off-field problems. He is an extremely talented player who has not hit his true potential yet, and I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt. You can listen to interviews with Bradley and Beane here (for Bradley) and here (for Beane). If Bradley starts up with his old tricks again then of course I will condemn him for the team cancer he has so famously been labeled with. But until then, I am giving him this chance.

Even if Bradley gets injured (again) or ends up in trouble again, Perez could still make this deal worthwhile. A utility infielder who will be able to spell Chavez at 3B and also fill in at SS and 2B? And his offensive skills are superior to Scutaro, no offense to Marco, I like him just fine. Who knows, if he plays solidly enough he could earn a more permanent spot in the infield.


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