We’re just two days from the reporting deadline for position players, and lots of the A’s regulars have arrived. Eric Chavez and Mark Ellis have popped in and out of Papago Park in recent days and were here again today. Bobby Crosby, Jack Cust and Daric Barton (wandering around with his mom’s 8-week-old bulldog, Diesel) showed up this morning.
Chavez, the team’s longest tenured player, held his traditional start-of-the-season media chat, touching on a variety of issues. Here are a few highlights:
–He’ll sit out at least the first week’s worth of exhibitions as a precaution, after undergoing right shoulder surgery that ended his season last August. But he’s encouraged about his health at this point. “I can pretty much do everything. The only thing I haven’t done baseball-wise is actually field a ground ball and throw to first, which I’ll do today.”
–On the addition of Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi: “I think it’s going to solidify the offense, really. The only question marks I guess are (the) leadoff (spot) and speed. If Jason can do what he’s been doing, Matt’s obviously had a great career, and throw Custie, myself and Bobby in there, Ellis is healthy, it can be pretty good.”
–On trading three important players for Holliday: “It signals for us that I think Billy (Beane) saw a window of opportunity. as far as the (AL) West is concerned. … With the Angels losing a few of their key components, i think the window opens a little bit.”
–On the keys to the season: “If we can stay healthy and the (young) pitchers make that jump, we can be competitive. How good we can be and how many games we’ll win, it’s hard to say. Definitely we have the pieces to contend. That’s all you ask for is a chance to win.”