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Who’s on First …?

Heard an interesting topic on Robert Buan’s postgame show following the A’s game Monday night. Buan asked his listeners how he thinks the A’s infield will break down in 2008. Very intriguing question, given 1) the health status of third baseman Eric Chavez b) the club option in Mark Ellis’ contract that the A’s have yet to pick up and c) the pending arrival of Daric Barton from the minors.

Of course, Billy Beane has rarely goine the conventional route, so trying to figure out he’ll think is a bit like trying to get into Barry Bonds’ head. It’s a fruitless pursuit. Therefore, nothing he does this winter will shock me. I could see him dangling Eric Chavez to see if there would be any takers (given his $11 million annual salary, there probably wouldn’t be), and I could also see him biting off any reporter’s head who might ask if such a move could be in the offing.

Same goes with Ellis. Beane comes from the school of Sandy Alderson, and one of Alderson’s guiding principles was that second baseman were a dime a dozen. On the other hand, Ellis may well be the best all-around second baseman the Oakland A’s have ever had, and Beane may well decide that he’s worth more money than your average second baseman.

Anyway, how would you like the A’s infield to look in 2008. Here’s what I’d like to see going into spring training.

3B _ Eric Chavez (His six Gold Gloves count for something, even if he never does meet offensive expectations).

SS _ Bobby Crosby/Donnie Murphy (Murphy has really impressed me, he’s younger and hasn’t been injury-prone. Crosby doesn’t deserve to lose his job because of an injury, but he does deserve to get some healthy competition in the spring).

2B _ Mark Ellis (If I had to guess, the A’s will let him leave and turn to a Marco Scutaro/Murphy platoon here. It’s all a matter of dollars).

1B _ Daric Barton/Nick Swisher (Hopefully, they’ll let Barton play everyday after he’s called up in September. If he doesn’t cut it, then give the spot to Swisher and leave him there. The A’s already have plenty of outfielders).

rhurd