Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's official: Welcome to the new A's DH

Via Inside Bay Area:

The A's late Wednesday agreed to terms with Mike Piazza to a one-year, $8.5
million contract, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The deal will not be announced until Friday at the earliest because
Piazza still needs to take a physical.

This is a good deal for the A's and it seems for Piazza, who wanted the flexibility of a 1 year deal in case he decides to head back to the NL after this season:

Beane did confirm that the A's were discussing only a one-year contract with
Piazza, contrary to the buzz Tuesday that the A's had offered a two-year deal
worth about $15 million. One industry source said Piazza probably wanted
flexibililty in case he wants to return to the National League.

has played his entire 15-year career as a catcher in the NL, but he'll be able
to leave his glove behind in the AL. Beane said Piazza likely will DH "99.9
percent of the time"....

As for what is expected of Piazza:

A's officials have insisted during the past week that they don't expect him to
put up the numbers (39 home runs, 114 RBIs) that Frank Thomas had as the team's
DH in 2006. But Piazza did hit 22 homers and had 68 RBIs with the Padres last
season, numbers that aren't as pedestrian when considering he played half his
games in Petco Park, a hitter's graveyard. He had a on-base/slugging mark of
.935 away from San Diego.

The quieter move the A's made, but equally important, was the signing of reliever Alan Embree, whom I have always liked, to a 2-year deal with a club option. This frees up a bullpen spot to be moved to the rotation and it is widely rumored that Joe Kennedy will replace Zito in the rotation. So going forward to 2007, the rotation most likely will be:

Loaiza (ugh)

If Harden can stay healthy, the 1-2 punch of Harden followed by Haren could be the edge the A's need to stay competitive. Forget Loaiza, hope that Blanton rebounds and Kennedy can pitch as good or better than the Saarloos/Halsey experiment and we still have a tough rotation.


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