3.13.2007

"I'll Trade You A Clean-Shaven 38-Year-Old DH For a Bearded One": Oakland Athletics 2007 Season Preview

Moving from Frank Thomas's 2007 team to his 2006 club, FTG's 2007 MLB season preview odyssey takes a look at the Oakland A's, who signed Mike Piazza this offseason to fill Big Frank's shoes.

I really don't know what to make of this team. They did give me one of the more entertaining baseball games I attended last year, with Huston Street blowing Frank Thomas's 2 homer return to US Comiscular (ahhh, that was when it still looked like the ChiSox were on their way to repeating, sporting that vintage 2005 pixie dust).

That loss was just a bump in the road, though, as the A's went on to take the mediocre AL West last year with 93 wins despite losing two of their best players--Rich Harden (he's one tough-looking Canadian, ain't he?) and Bobby Crosby (I guess Crosby is still more potential and hype than actual production at this point, but whatever...)--for significant portions of the year. Getting these guys back and only downgrading slightly in swapping Thomas for Piazza would lead one to believe that the chances of division title repeat are high. Anything's possible in the mediocre AL West, but I just don't get the feeling that this team is built for success.

Now that Zito's gone, the A's are counting on Harden and Haren to anchor the rotation in front of guys like Esteban Loaiza, whose performance after his career year in 2003 with the White Sox has cemented that season as a complete anomaly. My gut feeling is that the rotation is going to give up a lot of runs--many too many to be erased by an offense sporting two catchers whose better years were in the late '90s, a third baseman whose production has fallen pretty steadily every year since 2002 (note to self: do NOT, under any circumstances, draft Eric Chavez in fantasy leagues--this man is not even a top 10 3B anymore), a guy trying to come back from excruciating foot problems (and no, his name is not Frank Thomas this year), a guy who's such a perennial problem child that his Wikipedia article has a section titled "Controversial Moments" (he's also only had one complete season in the majors--2004), and a guy who, for no apparent reason, I mildly disdain for coming off like a self-absorbed, overrated prick (again, I really don't know what I'm basing this on).

So there you have it, an uninspired preview for a largely uninspiring team whose most inspiring offseason moves were to gamble on two bargain-basement veterans (Piazza and Stewart--woohoo!). I wouldn't be surprised if the A's finished last this year. At the same time, I wouldn't be all that surprised if they finished first. So goes the AL West. If I was an A's fan, I'd give 2007 a shrug of the shoulders and a "meh." I'd be more excited about the prospects of spotting Danielle Gamba in the crowd than seeing Mike Piazza's swan song.

11 comments:

Gage said...

Wow, we're really cooking on these season previews now!
So, I guess we're adding Nick Swisher to the "People Trout Hates For No Reason" list. Matt Painter will geet him at the door.

Gage said...

Or rather, greet. Damnit.

Notorious B.O.B. said...

...or rather skeet.

joe said...

west virginia and ohio state seem like reason enough to me (john denver must have been on one amazing rocky mountain high during the writing of take me home, country roads...)

joe said...

ok, so maybe john denver didn't actually write that song... where's my fact checker, anyway?

trout said...

it's not so much that i hate matt painter, it's just that i think he has rather unfortunate visage.

Notorious B.O.B. said...

So, Brian, you move out of West Lafayette and now you're hating on the guy who has managed to bring us out of suckdom and back into the tourney?

I say we tar and feather him boys - and then make fun of him for having glasses! Yee-haw!!!

trout said...

So much talk of hate, and all I want to do is love. I make a few innocent comments about Matt Painter needing to get a new face, and all of the sudden I'm vilified.

Really though, I do appreciate what Painter has done; Keady's departure was long overdue. I still sort of wish Cuonzo Martin was head coach, though. For no apparent reason, I really really like Cuonzo. Maybe it's his shiny head.

Tittle500 said...

Cornelius McNary would make an excellent assistant.

And don't forget:

Porter Roberts
Herb Dove
Justin Jennings
Matt Waddell
Todd Foster
and of course...

"Tiny" Tim "Magic" Ervin "Johnson"

W2E said...

Here’s a nice article I found online relevant to the discussion on your blog:

Are you dreaming about a career in baseball? Dreaming is the first step, just so you know, together with ambition and determination. But if your dreams and goals are serious and if you are convinced that you belong among the top USA Baseball players, then here are some tips that can help you achieve what you desire! Or maybe you are the parent of a child who presents a great interest in USA Baseball, both in watching it and practicing it. So make sure you don't waste your child's potential!

The first thing you need if you want to become a baseball player is the right equipment, what else? Sure, this means spending money, but all hobbies and talents come with a price. After all, this is not such a financially-demanding hobby.

So, what do you need? First of all, you need to go to a large specialized store, such as Athletics Galore, Akadema (where you can find a wide range of items for juniors) or Just Bats. We all know that the baseball glove is the most important and valuable equipment item in this sport, but is it the only necessary one? No. Your shopping list should include: baseball bats, baseball gloves, softball bats, batting gloves, baseball cleats, chest protectors and batting helmets.

If you are an amateur, you can spare the batting gloves, for example, but if you want to be a professional, all these pieces will be actual must-haves. When selecting the needed equipment, make sure that you choose the best of the best, in case you are really aspiring to be a professional baseball player.

The equipment has to feel right, to fit you and this is why you need to be advised by a specialist when you shop and try the equipment on before you purchase it. The cheap equipments are not the best choices, so make sure you choose reputable brands that can offer you the performance and protection you need when playing the game.

If you are asking yourself whether there are certain academic requirements in order to become a USA Baseball player, the answer is simple: no. However, this does not mean that we all have equal chances of becoming baseball players. First of all, you need the right muscle tone, the fit and strong body type, lots of talent and you need to join a sportive club, a local team - some great sportsmen started from the smallest baseball teams and managed to become true professionals.

But there is one more thing that you need in order to become a professional baseball player and that is... luck. Besides the goals, ambition, equipment, hard work and training, you need that luck ingredient in order to obtain that successful USA Baseball player recipe.

You can also find more resources on the following MLB teams on our website: Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners.

Mike

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