Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Catch as Catch Can

Here is a quick digest for you A’s fans who are too lazy to sift through the off season muck.

- It looks like the A’s won’t stand pat on Adam Mehuse at catcher. Though I think Mehuse showed something last year, especially the ability to hit under pressure (aside from game 5), he may be a year away and could benefit form a platoon with an experienced player. One rumor has the A’s trying to bring in Benito Santiago (though another story has Santiago going to KC). This would fit the “platoon and train Melhuse” theory. Santiago probably can’t catch everyday but he did hit .279 last year. His walk totals are very un-A’s like, (29BB in 401AB) but he knows how to work with a staff.

- If the A’s don’t get Santiago Peter Gammons offers a convoluted path of trades and intrigue that would net them Paul LoDuca for Joe Blanton. LoDuca appears to have fallen out of favor in LA where his numbers have declined every year since his first full season in 2001. This trade doesn’t seem to make sense for the A’s given that LoDuca’s low walk totals don’t mesh with the A’s offensive philosophy and he doesn’t have the leadership value of Benito Santiago to off-set that. Also, Blanton is a rising pitching prospect and the A’s success has been built around pitching which has allowed them to go for OBP and power on offense. It’s the Big Three who have allowed the A’s to win with cast off position players. But Zito, Mulder and Hudson won’t be around much longer. They’re all eligible for free agency in the next few years and the A’s won’t be able to keep them. That means they’ll need to reload through the farm system, which means Rich Harden, Justin Duchscherer and Blanton may be the Big Three of the future. The Bottom line is that Blanton may be more valuable down the line than LoDuca.

- As I speculated here a few weeks ago T-Long may be headed back to the Mets. Sure it’s via SD but if it happens I will still claim my prognostication skills are in full effect.

- The A’s may be on the verge of actually retaining a free agent. And he’s a good one, keeping Keith Foulke would be nails. He was one of the best pitchers in the AL last year, he can pitch in any situation, for more than one inning, and he can go on back-to-back days.

- The Detroit Tigers are coming after Tejada, if he takes their money he deserves what he gets. Maybe he should ask A-Rod about going to a loser.

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