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  1. They will certainly need a second guy who can play short. I think if they made a 13-man today they’d leave off either Weeks or Sizemore and add Rosales or Hicks. Otherwise I think you’re right on.

    Of course, that will be nothing like the roster they send out on opening day.

    Comment by Matt — October 23, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  2. I think you’re overvaluing a lot of fluky and career years from some very under talented players. The A’s infield in more likely to be train wreck terrible than to repeat 2012.

    Comment by Pirates Hurdles — October 23, 2012 @ 9:41 am

  3. 2012 was a fluke year for Oakland.

    Back to the AL West basement in 2013.

    Comment by Old School — October 23, 2012 @ 9:50 am

  4. This team is all about platoon splits and positional flexibility, I’m trying to think of another team that even comes close to the A’s in this department and the only one I can come up with is the Rockies. Between guys like CarGo, Rutledge, EY Jr, Colvin, Pachecco, Herrera, Nelson, and LeMahieu there is a lot of built in redundancy and flexibility.

    Perhaps platoon hitters with positional flexibility are the new market inefficiency?

    Comment by Chris — October 23, 2012 @ 10:14 am

  5. Hey guys!! Don’t forget us!

    Comment by Astros and Mariners — October 23, 2012 @ 10:21 am

  6. Kottaras is strictly a LHH, so he doesn’t hit from both sides of the plate, and he didn’t see equal at bats against lefties because he generally hasn’t been able to hit the good ones his whole career. 1/11 vs. Bumgarner, 0/7 vs. Lilly, 0/5 vs. Cliff, 0/4 vs. Dontrelle Willis, 0/3 vs. CC, etc. Small samples, I know, but his league average production vs. LHP is mainly coming off below average LHP. He gets set up to succeed, in other words, and would be over-exposed in a role facing significantly more lefthanders.

    Comment by Dave — October 23, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  7. I think the new market inefficiency is depth and flexibility, w/o having to sacrifice an aspect of baserunning/defense/offense in the process due to underperformance or injury. Every team has someone underperform or get injured, and they must resort many AB’s to replacement level players, the A’s look as if to be conceding that their will be injuries and underperformance but wont have to play a replacement level talent for a majority of the season or mortgage the farm to aqcuire said talent. Depth looks like the new market inefficeincy.

    Comment by Nick Doyle — October 23, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  8. Wow. Those writing off the A’s to mediocrity are missing perhaps the most key point of all in 2013. The will play 19 games against horrific Houston. That’s basically 15-4 by sheer accident, right?

    Consider a full season from Brett Anderson and internal improvement and development by other young cogs in the wheel, and I see them at .500, worst case. Then again, the whole AL West non-Houston portion of the division might be .500 after finishing 65-11 against the Astros.

    Comment by Brian — October 23, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

  9. It’s the M’s turn to have a completely unsustainable weird-ass year next year. The A’s will settle back to closer to their true talent level, the Rangers will be the Angels of this year (do well in FA, just miss in the season), the Angels will continue their slow deflation, and the Astros will join the division and do what everyone expects.

    So I think the AL West in 2013 will finish Mariners, Rangers (by only a couple), A’s, Angels, Astros.

    Rangers might grab 2nd WC, but as we saw from this year’s 2nd WC, who the hell knows what that means for playoff advancement. Mariners will probably be knocked out in the first round by the Tigers or Jays. (Yes, Jays – the O’s are also a fluke, and the Yankees and Red Sox are their own unique kinds of mess.)

    Comment by Flukey's Fluke-O-Rama — October 23, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

  10. Yep. Your last sentence kind of cancels out the first one – every AL West fan who is salivating over the chance to beat up on Houston is forgetting that everyone else gets that same chance. So it all cancels each other out. Rising tide lifts all boats, and all that.

    I think the net effect will make each team in the West 2 or 3 games better than they would be otherwise, perhaps 4 or 5 for Ms’ and A’s from not having to face the other AL West teams quite as much.

    If anything it might increase the chances of both WCs coming out of the West next year.

    Comment by Flukey's Fluke-O-Rama — October 23, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  11. So based on this article, it sounds like the A’s should go all-out to try to get the best available shortstop, in free agency or trade.

    Comment by Chris from Bothell — October 23, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

  12. Wasn’t Grant Green moved to the outfield last year?

    Comment by FF — October 23, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  13. Fluke over a 162 game sample size…? Yeah, ok

    Comment by Kris — October 23, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

  14. He’s really not a shortstop anymore, but if anything, his main position has become second base. The reality is that his defense isn’t great anywhere right now.

    Comment by Danmay — October 23, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  15. Why not?

    Comment by Steve — October 23, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

  16. I wouldn’t predict the A’s to win 94 games again next year (not impossible, but not the likeliest outcome), but that’s as far as I’d go in calling their season a “fluke” and “unsustainable.”

    They are loaded with young talent. Some will regress (likely candidates include Griffin, Moss, Carter) and some will improve (Anderson, Cespedes, Norris, Straily, Donaldson).

    Their pythag actually supported their record this year, and their year-end roster was *miles* better than their opening day roster. I see a team with a true talent of high-80s wins that has a definite shot to challenge in 2013.

    Comment by Matt — October 23, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

  17. I think Grant Green makes the roster over Jemile Weeks, with Sizemore as the starting 2B.

    Green isn’t ideal at SS, but I don’t think it’d kill you to have him there once every 2 weeks or so. Maybe whenever Milone (flyball guy) starts, and a LHP goes for the other team (since Green is a RHB and Drew is a LHB).

    Comment by Timothy — October 23, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  18. even if you get regressioon from “career year” players.

    they’llk get a full seasons worth of anderson (pending health) rather than the 6 starts he had in 2012

    their catcher, ss, 3b, and 2b positions was mostly terrible most of the year

    tyson ross and graham godfrey as fill in starting pitchers had 15 losing decisions between them. thankfully neither will be in the A”s projected 2013 rotation

    obviously 14 walkoff wins is hard to repeat but what looks to be a deeper and now a bit more experienced roster, with payroll flexibility, we’ll see what happens

    Comment by spamelot — October 23, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  19. While you may right about Kottaras not being good enough to tackle above-average lefties, I don’t know that I see that as a major problem. Him being able to do damage against even 50% of left-handed starters — to me — is a major plus. And if he gets lucky once or twice the times he faces Sabathia or Bumgarner, then that’s gravy. All a moot point of course if Norris becomes the player he is expected to become, but again, Kottaras is a mighty fine safety net.

    Comment by Paul Swydan — October 23, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

  20. The A’s will save around 25 runs on defense by using Reddick, Crisp, and Young and then DHing Cespedes. 2.5 wins just on defense is huge so I expect them to employ that set-up as often as possible, with Smith spelling people against righties.

    FYI, after the trade, Beane said he would not trade Crisp or any outfielder.

    Comment by bjoak — October 23, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  21. and no GM ever trades a player he says he is going to keep.

    Comment by jsolid — October 23, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  22. Though stated sarcastically, it is a fair point, but I wasn’t saying his word is gospel. I was stating an FYI as in some extra “information.” I think if he said, “Well, we’ll have to see about Coco,” the negative inference there would be worthy of inclusion in this discussion, just as “I know how important he is to this team” and “He is a personal favorite of mine” are worthy of inclusion.

    His comment that the trade “will impact” Johnny Gomes seems a clear hint that Gomes is on the way out. I certainly think that would be a worthwhile blurb in any discussion about Gomes’ future regardless of whether GM’s always do what they say. See how this works.

    Comment by bjoak — October 23, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  23. great read; very optimistic about the A’s chances next season (more so than 1 year ago, for sure). One note in regards to the OF abundance and lack of a clear back up SS. might Yoenis be a possible part time SS? A’s raved about his arm/range after taking ground balls there earlier in the season during BP. and if were already shifting him to DH and looking to fill 10-20 games at SS it might be an option. Obviously if it were an option ST would be the time for the A’s to feel it out.

    Comment by Ben Kolina — October 23, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  24. Wondering if Oakland and the Mets would match up on a deal for Crisp that would make sense for both teams. I’d assume that talk would take place at some point if nothing else, just considering the relationship I assume the front offices have with a lot of the “Moneyball” guys now working for the Mets.

    Comment by Madoff Withurmoni — October 23, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

  25. Very interesting read. I look at the growth of platoon players as perhaps the new ‘Moneyball’ that more and more teams will start to approach. To me, it’s the natural progression of all of the pitching specailists morphing into situational hitting specialists. All teams do it to some extent, but not to the degree of Oakland.
    What many forgot was that during the first two months of the season, the A’s didn’t know who they were lineup-wise, and endured a 9 game losing streak to boot! You don’t climb out of that hole unless you do have some great talent on your roster. Yes, there may be some guys who slip, and Moss/Carter, Griffin are probably the most logical candidates. But I think it’s just as likely that guys like Cespy, Drew, Reddick (maybe less HRs, but a higher OBS), Parker, Anderson, Young, etc. have as good or better years in ’13.
    I really don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that the A’s win 100 games in ’13. They have young talent, depth and a softer schedule w/the inclusion of Houston; who’s bound to lost 100+ games. I don’t see the A’s digging an early-season hole and lost 9 games in a row like they did back in May.

    To me, the wildcard in all of this is Seattle. I hear some people say that the M’s will be the ’13 version of this year’s Athletics, but I’ve yet to hear someone come out and say why it will all of a sudden come together for them. Until I see it, I see the M’s as the same 10-game below .500 team that they’ve been for the last five years.

    Agree that TX and LAA will also be there, and that if I was a betting man, both wildcards will come from the AL West.

    Comment by damon389 — October 23, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

  26. The A’s infield was mostly train wreck terrible in 2012, with the exception of 1B and part of the 3B season.

    Comment by BX — October 23, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

  27. Not exactly true, as last year the Rangers already played the Astros 6 times, so they will only be playing them 10 times more than normal, while the other three teams play them 16 times more. (Im pretty sure they play the ‘stros 16 times next season)

    Comment by Kurtis — October 24, 2012 @ 3:04 am

  28. I highly doubt they would let him play shortstop, while he may have the tools to play there, I doubt the team would risk injury playing their best hitter out of position.

    Comment by Kurtis — October 24, 2012 @ 3:07 am

  29. True, but they played him all over the diamond. While he may never be a starter at SS, he would probably be a perfectly fine replacement for 10 games a season.

    Comment by Kurtis — October 24, 2012 @ 3:09 am

  30. Why do you think we shouldnt count Cespedes as a Center Fielder? In the short amount of time that he played there he looked better than he did in Left, I wouldnt take his CF defense over Young’s or Crisp’s, but I think Cespedes could play a solid CF.

    Comment by Kurtis — October 24, 2012 @ 3:12 am

  31. Sounds possible

    Comment by Buck Showalter — October 24, 2012 @ 6:17 am

  32. The A’s infield in more likely to be train wreck terrible than to repeat 2012.

    The A’s infield was “train wreck terrible” in 2012. They hit .221/.292/.361 last year–worst in the AL. The outfield will likely regress, even with the addition of Young, but the infield should be improved.

    Comment by Sam — October 24, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  33. I’ll take the under on Anderson having 30 starts in 2013.

    Additionally, I’m not sold that their current options at C, SS, 3B, or 2B for 2013 are any more likely to produce than they did in 2012.

    Comment by Chris — October 24, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

  34. Give me a reason why you’d put Cespedes in center over Crisp or Young. Take offense completely out of the equation. Exactly.

    Comment by Dave — October 24, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  35. Cespedes has displayed excellent range in OF and his arm is very strong where Coco’s is one of the weakest in MLB. The knock on Cespedes is that he gets poor reads and takes bad routes to the ball. With more time, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect him to improve that aspect of his game.

    And I don’t know why you would take offense out of the equation. If Cespedes is only slightly worse than Coco on defense but infinitely better on offense, then it would make sense to play him instead of Coco if you wanted to get Seth Smith or Brandon Moss in at LF.

    Comment by B — October 25, 2012 @ 1:02 am

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