Thursday, December 07, 2006

A's Winter Meeting Notes

First off this quick blurb from FOX Sports regarding the A's and Piazza, which they awarded "Best Hole-Filler" :

The A's wanted a right-handed power bat to replace Frank Thomas, and they got
one in Mike Piazza. Last season, Piazza managed to slug better than .500 despite
playing half his games in a park that's positively hostile toward right-handed
batters. He'll fall a bit short of Thomas in terms of OBP, but his power numbers
figure to be quite similar. As well, the A's are committed to him for only one

It was especially nice having this follow immediately: "Worst. Gameplan. Ever."

The Giants. Apparently, their Winter Meetings plan of attack was to make an old
team even older and not give a moment's thought to the rotation. After the loss
of Schmidt, their rotation now consists of Matt Cain, Matt Morris and, well,
anything goes after that. If Barry Bonds winds up elsewhere, then this is the
worst team in the NL West.

Speaking of the Giants and the A's, Carl Steward's column from Inside Bay Area is a well recommended read:

Watching the A's and Giants do business at the winter baseball meetings is
a little like watching a hawk and an ostrich.

One quickly identifies what it wants, then swoops and snares its prey
without blinking. The other walks around aimlessly, sticking its head in
assorted holes in a frantic search for fulfillment.

Something tells me you don't have to be told which team is which. Once
again we are seeing that the Giants may have more wealth but they don't have
nearly the stealth — or the health — of the A's.

God bless Brian Sabean. He's sure been a busy guy this past week. But busy
doesn't necessarily constitute productive. The Giants have signed free agents
Ray Durham, Dave Roberts, Pedro Feliz, Rich Aurilia and Benji Molina this week,
but are they better? Not when they lose Jason Schmidt to the Dodgers, still
don't know about Barry Bonds and continue to carry Armando Benitez on their

The A's? They lost Frank Thomas and will lose Barry Zito any day now, but
Billy Beane hasn't even broken a sweat. He didn't even arrive at the winter
meetings until Wednesday, but by day's end, Oakland had signed left-handed Alan
Embree, agreed on an $8.5 million one-year deal with Mike Piazza and still had
time for a little fanciful chatter with the Mets about Beane's latest holy grail
fantasy, outfield prospectLastings Milledge.

Bang, zoom, in just a few hours of work, the A's no longer have any glaring
issues. Embree's signing clears the way for Joe Kennedy to challenge for the
rotation as Zito's left-handed replacement, and Piazza, whose deal only requires
the formality of a physical, is a more-than-satisfying tradeoff for Thomas at


What we know is that the Giants, with or without Bonds, will have another
old team with thin starting pitching and a questionable bullpen in 2007. It's a
recipe for mediocrity or worse, particularly with the Dodgers and Padres —
already markedly better than the Giants at year's end — making significant moves
to improve themselves.

Unfortunately, with a farm system almost bereft of true position-player
prospects, the Giants have no choice but to sign retreads. If they don't, they
become the 100-loss Kansas City Royals instead of their mere 85-loss selves.
Don't fault Sabean, fault the system under which Giants ownership chooses to

Read the whole thing. The latest rumor has the Mets interested in Danny Haren - NOT Rich Harden - but I can imagine Beane's price would be pretty steep. He would want a good young arm in addition to Lastings Milledge.

The A's also got rid of minor leaguer Dominguez, and it looks like they picked up some good young players in the rule 5 draft:

Marshall pitched for Single-A Winston-Salem in the Chicago White Sox
organization last year and was 5-1 with four saves and a 1.02 ERA in 58 relief
appearances. He walked just eight and struck out 44 in 62.0 innings and allowed
a .210 opponents batting average, including .096 against left-handers. The
23-year old left-hander was originally selected by the White Sox in the 25th
round of the June, 2002 draft.

Goleski played in the Cleveland Indians organization last year and
batted a combined .306 with 27 home runs and 106 RBI in 125 games for Single-A
Kinston and Double-A Akron. He added 61 walks for a .391 on-base percentage. The
24-year old outfielder tied for sixth in all of the minor leagues in RBI and he
led the Cleveland farm system in home runs and RBI while ranking fourth in
batting. Goleski began the year by hitting .331 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI in
38 games at Kinston before he was promoted to Akron on May 27. He batted .296
with 17 home runs and 63 RBI in 87 games with the Aeros. Goleski was originally
drafted by Cleveland in the 24th round of the June, 2003 draft.


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