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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. Therefore, my guess is that he’ll try to move Ellis in the winter (and can’t tell you how much that would bum me out), because he conceivably could use a platoon of Donnie Murphy and Marco Scutaro at second. Then again, Scutaro is eligible for arbitration, too, and the A’s generally look to replace such players.

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 until tweaking an oblique muscle, hadn’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. That said, the A’s always have been built to win on pitching and defense, and Ellis is a vacuum).

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