Oakland fans, your long wait is almost over! Yes, 2010 will be the last year of Eric Chavez’s contract! Hazzah!
But aside from that, I’m not sure there’s going to be too much to celebrate in Oak-Town. With no Matt Holliday or Jack Cust in the lineup, the A’s are lacking some serious punch. Aside from the departed players, no one on their 2009 roster surpassed the league average number for Isolated Power (.155). But with the news that the front office is set to acquire Coco Crisp, I think they’ve made their intentions quite clear – they are not going to concern themselves much with this..
Perhaps that sounds harsh. It’s probably more accurate to say that they feel trying to improve their power isn’t worth what it will inevitably cost them. Instead, they’re targeting Crisp, a strong defensive outfielder. On the days that he will start alongside Rajai Davis and Ryan Sweeney, the A’s outfield will rival any other with the glove.
And that should only help their young pitching staff. Out of the six Oakland pitchers with the most starts in 2009, Dallas Braden will be the oldest among them come Opening Day – at the grandfatherly age of 26. Plus, not only are the others younger, they’re more talented. The trio of Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Josh Outman are already good enough to post league average numbers or better.
But while their defense and pitching should make them competitive, I’m afraid that’s all they will be in 2010. Unless the young pitchers take huge leaps, I don’t see what Billy Beane can do right now to top both Anaheim and Seattle to take the division crown. The most likely of the potential positive outcomes is that the pitchers get some more big league experience while they somehow find enough ABs for prospects Aaron Cunningham and Michael Taylor in that crowded OF. And once they can shed Eric Chavez’s deal, they may be ready to make a run for it in 2011.