spooky Posts:4515 Followers:309
On 07/05/2014 11:46 AM in MLB

Spooky Express July 4th Holiday Weekend Oakland A's Report

Spooky Express July 4th Holiday Weekend Oakland A's Report

-- I've been an A's fan since 1967, when they were moving to Oakland, I was 7 years old and Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson became my childhood idols and every backyard baseball game I represented either one or the other dreaming of the day I could step foot onto the field and pitch and play in a World Series.

-- What happened Friday night, Billy Beane pulling off a blockbuster trade to try and win a World Series this year, erases the 1976 fiasco, when Charlie Finley gave away three players in one day, to cut payroll. I was 16 then, when I punched a hole in the wall of my friends house at a party while his parents were away. I'm damn lucky he told his parents it was just an accident when one of his friends tripped and crashed into the wall.

-- Anyway, the A's got Jason Hammel/Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs Friday; and they did not give Chicago anyone off their major league roster- Dan Straily, who has a 13-11, 4.11 record in 41 career starts, plus their first round draft picks the last two years, SS Addison Russell and OF Billy McKinney. Both are very young-- of the 313 combined minor league games they've played, 297 of them have come in A ball, so they're totally unproven prospects, albeit highly touted. ones.

-- Russell has been hurt most of this year, playing in only 18 games; McKinney is hitting .241 in the California League. Hammel/Samardzija both have ERAs of under 3.00, in the major leagues. This makes the A's a huge threat to win right now.

-- It also strips their farm system bare, but their window of success is only open so long; the A's do things differently-- only two players on their current 25-man roster were drafted by Oakland (Gray/Doolittle), and Doolittle was a 1B until he got hurt and turned to pitching. Win now, because the future is shaky.

-- Yoenis Cespedes is signed thru 2015, then can walk; they've made the playoffs both years he's been on the team. To use a word I don't totally understand but fits here, he gives the low-budget A's their swagger--once he walks and breaks the bank, a lot of their invincibility goes too. Thats why it is important for them to win now.

-- Think about it; Beane watched the A's get swept in Detroit this week, after losing to the Tigers in the playoffs the last two years- a team with Brad Mills as its #5 starter (Milwaukee traded him to the A's for $1-- one freakin' dollar!!!) is going to have a tough time making the playoffs, much less winning once they got there.

Now Mills and Jesse Chavez go to the bullpen; this is a dynamite pitching staff.

-- Here are the starting rotations of the three AL West contenders, with Oakland's rotation before and after the trade..........

A's pre: Gray, Kazmir, Milone, Chavez, Mills

Angels: Weaver, Wilson, Richards, Skaggs, Shoemaker

Seattle: Hernandez, Iwakuma, Young, Elias, Walker

A's post: Gray, Kazmir, Samardzija, Milone, Hammel

-- I've been saying this for two weeks; didn't think the A's, as they were currently made up, could hold off pitching-rich Seattle, now that Iwakuma is healthy. It is safe to say that I don't feel that way anymore.

-- Random meaningless fact: if you remember the end of Moneyball, Billy Beane was offered the Red Sox' GM job after the 2002 season. When he turned them down, Boston hired Theo Epstein, who is now the Cubs' GM.

-- If you have a fantasy team and need a pitcher, Straily will be OK for you; just pray to God the wind never blows out at Wrigley when he pitches. He is a fly ball pitcher who benefitted from the Coliseum being a pitchers' park.

-- What do the Cubs tell their season ticket holders? Come back in two years? As of this minute, their starting rotation is Arrieta-Jackson-Wood-Villanueva, and they will bring Straily up as the #5 guy. They've got Baez-Bryant-Russell as three huge prospects/infielders, but pitching wins in baseball, not prospects.

-- There are also political ramifications; the A's are fighting a battle to get a new stadium, one that would make them more financially viable; win a World Series and who says no to them? If they get told no then, they move. MLB will let them.

-- No one knows how this willl turn out; maybe the Cubs will be the winners, you just never know, but I'm guessing when they make Moneyball II in a couple of years, Brad Pitt is going to have one scene where he spends his whole July 4th on a phone, getting his A's pitching it needed to win their first World Series since 1989.


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