If the MLB draft were treated like the NFL’s _ and thank goodness it isn’t _ we’d know all about every team’s intentions for June 7, not to mention the strengths, weaknesses, character flaws, shoe size, 90-foot dash times, etc. of every player available. As it is, the draft carries considerably more mystery, which is as it should be since we’re dealing with kids who have yet to prove they deserve the ink of a major-leaguer.
Thus, we don’t have a real good idea of what the A’s or the Giants will do, but it was encouraging to see Giants general manager Brian Sabean emphasize that his team won’t be cheap when it comes to their first-round picks. The Giants are having their own Moneyball-like draft this summer, with six picks among the first 51 selections, and it presents the organization a great chance to infuse itself with some youth. Ignore the minors long enough, and eventually, you turn into the Yankees, and the Giants have walked that slippery ledge for a while. So, they need to treat this draft as delicately as they have any in the past decade.
The A’s “Moneyball Draft,” showed just how important the draft has become in bridging together consistently good seasons. Nick Swisher has emerging as a possible future start, and Joe Blanton is one of the nails in the rotation, and without them, the A’s likely would not have found themselves in the playoffs a year ago. And without picking Mark Teahan, whom the A’s used in a trade to acquire Octavio Dotel in 2004, the A’s likely wouldn’t have been in the race until the final weekend that season.
The rest of the Moneyball Seven (John McCurdy, Ben Fritz, Jeremy Brown and Steve Obenchain) have faded into obscurity, with Brown the only one who has tasted the majors. But the point is made. The Giants better hit the mother lode with at least one or two of their picks; otherwise their road to success becomes even more difficult.
Other Monday thoughts:
— The Angels look as if they’re about to take off in the AL West. They’ve won five straight and 10 of 12 and rolled through the Dodgers like a buzzsaw during a weekend sweep. Could be a critical time for the A’s, as they try to hang close.
— Blogged a couple of weeks ago after the Giants’ eight-game winning streak ended that they had probably experienced their best and worst spells of the season (the worst being their 2-7 start) and that they likley would settle in is a win-a-couple, lose-a-couple team. Since the end of their eight-game winning streak, they’re 9-14, have won two in a row only once and have lost no more than three in a row.
— We shouldn’t be all that surprised Barry Bonds has slowed down. This is generally the time of year when the physical grind of a season starts becoming a factor. Besides, he was on pace to hit 50 homers before his current slump, and no 42-year-old should be expected to do that, not even Bonds.
— If I’m Joe Torre, I’d be ready to quit as the Yankees manager. Who needs the aggravation? Take the four World Series titles, the respect from Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada — the remaining members of the old guard — and ride off into the sunset.