Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

My man-love for Billy Beane might just be at an all-time high. And he just traded away my most favorite prospect ever. So that's really saying something.

The guy never ceases to amaze me. The deals he made last week weren't necessarily "big", but they made the team A LOT better, in my opinion. And I'm not talking about just this year's team.

By now, everyone knows all the details, so I won't rehash them, but in essence we replaced Byrnes with Payton, Bradford with Witasick and gave up Quintanilla for Kennedy.

Jay Payton probably isn't that much of an upgrade over Byrnes, but this is such a good move for a one main reason: money. Byrnes is still arbitration-eligible for two more years. So over the course of the next two years, Byrnes stands to make about $5-6 million. Considering that Byrnes is, and always will be, a platoon player, that's way too much money for our mighty Athletics.

I'm sure he will be missed in the clubhouse, but whatev, they'll get over it.

And I keep hearing how Byrnes was a "fan favorite," but I think that needs to be re-phrased; he's was a "casual fan favorite." The casual fans see the gritty hustler. The guy who always sprints out to his position in the outfield and makes spectacular catches.
"I can't believe how upset I am. I don't know if I can follow the A's anymore."

--My wife, upon hearing that Boo-yrnes had been traded
Yes, she calls him "Boo-yrnes." She picked it up from me. She still doesn't get it. Dumb broads.

Anyway, the hardcore fans know Byrnes for what he really is: A guy that can't hit righties and a pathetic defender that has to make up for terrible routes with dives. Sure, he brought some excitement to the game, but so does the Super Chicken.

I can't think of a situation possibly occurring in the future where I might say to myself, "Damn, I wish we still had Byrnes." He won't be missed. Not by me anyway.

This is the same case with Bradford. He's arbitration eligible for one more year. So he'll make no less than $1.12 million (80% of this year's salary) in 2006. That is way too much money for a right-handed specialist with a history of back problems. He probably isn't even worth half of that at this stage in his career.

Giving up Quintanilla hurts me deeply (he's from my hometown), but I guess you have to give to get. I heard Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd on the radio a couple of days ago saying that he wouldn't be surprised if Quintanilla made to the majors before September. THIS September. There's no way he could have gotten that opportunity with the A's. And with Pennington in the mix now, I guess he was expendable. Oh, well. All I can do now is suck it up and wish him well.

In return we got a journeyman outfielder, a journeyman relief pitcher and a journeyman starting pitcher. Doesn't sound all that great, but it is. Believe me it is.

Payton and Witasick are only under contract through this season. Which means instead of spending about $4 million in 2006 on a platoon leftfielder and a ROOGY, about that much will be coming off the books. That's an $8 millon swing. And that's a lot of money.

So not only can you count on the production of the new guys being equal to or better than the production of the old guys, but come next off-season Billy's got more money to spend. Brilliant. Effing brilliant.

Some of that money is already earmarked for the newly-acquired Joe Kennedy. Entering his second arbitration year, he'll probably account for less than $3 million of they payroll in 2006...unless we trade him, which I believe is a very good possibility.

But in order for that to happen, I think he needs to be in the rotation. His value lies in the fact that he's a left-handed starter. And that value is really takes a hit when he's working out of the bullpen. I just can't see Kennedy taking over the fifth spot in the rotation. Not at this point in the season, with the team still in contention for a playoff spot.

Saarloos has done a damn fine job as the number five starter and I don't think he's done anything to lose that spot. Now if he should go into a tailspin or if HE gets traded, MAYBE Kennedy would get a shot.

Then again, Juan Cruz might get a shot too.

Cruz is dominating as a starter down in AAA. In 29 innings for Sacramento, he has a 1.84 ERA and 45 strikeouts and has given up just 18 hits. Opposing hitters are batting .176 against him. If something should happen to Saarloos, the front office brass might prefer giving Cruz what he's wanted all along: a chance to start.

Which still leaves us with Kennedy in the bullpen. And I just don't believe he's a bullpen guy. Not yet. If he gets his stuff together, Joe Kennedy's still the type of guy a lot of teams can use. I'm just not sure how we're going to get him more than a handful of innings each week.

How this all plays out sure will be interesting. But one thing's for sure: the team is in a A LOT better shape now than it would have been had they kept Byrnes, Bradford and Quintanilla.

5 Comments:

Anonymous SpazByrnes said...

Butt-girl.

My all time message board favorite.

What did the article say again? LMAO

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger ogmb said...

Then again, Juan Cruz might get a shot too.

You forgot Duchscherer. In normal-world, Duke should be the #1 contender for an opening in the rotation. But in Macha-world, Duke is too valuable in the pen, that's why we can't use him in the rotation.

And in case you wondered, there's no butt-girl in Macha-world.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Roman said...

Duchscherer's no good two or three times through an order. Check out the splits.

Get it? Splits?

I'll be here all week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 1:11:00 PM  
Blogger ogmb said...

The last time Duke started a game he was just a middling reliever. He's now much better.... WOAH, just checked your splits. You convinced me.

I wish they had such penetrating analysis on other blogs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 2:21:00 PM  
Anonymous smac said...

Butt Girl!

M has a Byrnes affliction, too. I gleefully informed her last week that "We traded your boyfriend."

Good times.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 1:21:00 PM  

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