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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What a Team

The A's are absolutely stacked. They traded for Milton Bradley today, giving up an outstanding minor league outfielder for the headache, which is a sign they are finally going for it in 2006. Rather than putting everything off until next year, the A's are simply loaded already, without anymore magic from Beane. The starting lineup looks something like this:

2B: Mark Ellis (21.2 WS) (.384/.477/.861)
SS: Bobby Crosby (12 WS) (.346/.456/.802)
CF: Mark Kotsay (19 WS) (.325/.421/.746)
3B: Eric Chavez (21 WS) (.329/.466/.794)
RF: Milton Bradley (11 WS) (.350/.484/.835)
1B: Dan Johnson (10 WS) (.355/.451/.806)
DH: Nick Swisher (12 WS) (.322/.446/.768)
LF: Jay Payton (12 WS) (.302/.451/.753)
C: Jason Kendall (14 WS) (.345/.321/.666)

Compare this to last year's world champion Chicago White Sox, and the roster is

Podsednik (12)
Crede (14)
Konerko (24)
Thome (16--2006 expected win shares)
Dye (18)
Pierzynski (11)
Iguchi (17)
Uribe (17)
Anderson (0)

Assuming Anderson performs at the league average--and generously giving Thome 16 Win Shares, the A's bats are comparable to the White Sox' line up. In terms of starting pitching, if the ChiSox pick up Vazquez as expected, the A's and ChiSox starting staffs would be comparable, particularly if Harden is healthy.

Oakland ChiSox
Harden (2.53/1.06) Buehrle (3.12/1.18)
Zito (3.86/1.20) Garland (3.50/1.17)
Loaiza (3.77/1.30) Contreras (3.61/1.23)
Haren (3.73/1.22) Garcia (3.87/1.25)
Blanton (3.53/1.22) Vazquez (4.42/1.25)

Certain the A's pen, now consisting of Kennedy/Witasick/Saarloos/Duchscherer/Calero/Garcia/Street should outshine the ChiSox pen (at least during the regular season), yet if the injuries plague the A's this season as they did last, certainly the advantage could shift to other top AL teams. The Angels, as always, are dangerous, and the ChiSox/Twins/Blue Jays/Yankees/Red Sox all will vie for three playoff spots. Simply, if the A's can stay healthy, the Blue Jays pitching doesn't hold up, and the Yankees continue their implosion, teh A's should be in outstanding position to cruise to a Wild Card berth and give Anaheim a run for the AL west title.