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What’s the future hold for A’s offense?

The weather here at the Coliseum was unusually warm last night. Different story tonight, as the wind is already kicking up. It’ll definitely be more chilly. And speaking of chilly, the A’s have certainly cooled off at the plate. What happened to that offensive revival? They’ve scored just 13 runs over the past six games, and haven’t topped three runs in any one of them. Adam Kennedy, who’s been such a catalyst for this team since he was acquired, is hitting just .176 (6-for-34) over his last eight games. And remember, five of those hits came in one game last week against the White Sox.

As encouraging as it’s been recently to see the A’s run wild on the bases, and see players like Rajai Davis, Mark Ellis and Kurt Suzuki take turns getting key hits, let’s not forget that this is still a pretty flawed team offensively when you look ahead to next season. As things stand, I don’t see the A’s being good enough offensively in 2010 to support the young pitchers that are obviously going to be the team’s strength. And as team owner Lew Wolff told Bay Area News Group in this story, he’s not crazy about the A’s bringing in more power hitters from the outside as they tried this year with Jason Giambi and Matt Holliday. Problem is, I don’t know if their best hitting prospects (Chris Carter, Adrian Cardenas, Brett Wallace and Co.) will be ready by next season.

My question for you, A’s fans: When it comes to improving this offense, would you rather see the A’s go out and try to obtain another slugger or two as they tried to do this season, or should they abandon the search for power and build a more speed and run-oriented offense, as they’ve shown signs of doing since the All-Star break?

–Not much pregame news today: Dallas Braden’s left ankle is showing no signs of improvement, according to manager Bob Geren, and you have to wonder if we’ll see him on the mound again this season. At this point, it might be better to shut him down and make sure he’s healthy to start spring training.

Tonight’s lineups, featuring Daric Barton playing first for the A’s for the second straight night:

A’s
Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Hairston LF
Sweeney RF
Ellis 2B
Cust DH
Barton 1B
Pennington SS

Cahill RHP

Tigers
Granderson CF
Polanco 2B
Guillen LF
Cabrera 1B
Huff DH
Thomas RF
Inge 3B
AVila C
Santiago SS

Galarraga RHP

Joe Stiglich

  • Jan K Oski

    I saw this entry on JO’s blog, and I found the entry intriguing. Wolff sounds like he is rejecting Beane ball at its core. I believe the ultimate question is, will Beane ever allow a Manager to start the season with speed and situational hitting. I doubt it. Does that mean a management change or is Beane rejecting his world-famous theory for small ball?

    I’ve seen Coach Gregory at Cal change his bend ‘n break defensive scheme to an aggressive 3-4 to save his job and ultimately put Cal’s defense on the map. Beane needs to do the same thing, so long as the A’s are dealing with Mount Davis killing too many chances of the homerun.

  • Coachmmm

    The A’s might consider bringing in Carl Crawford if he’s truly available. He’s someone they’d want to try to sign long term. Other than him, I’m not sure who would be available for the OF, maybe jermaine Dye or Carlos Lee.

  • Nodaclu

    The problem, as the Furcal debacle and the Matt Holliday experiment clearly showed – premier MLB talent wants *nothing* to do with playing in an old, drab, multi-use stadium where no shows up to watch. I hate typing that, but reality is strongly bearing that out.

    If you’re going to bring someone in from the outside, I think it’s necessary to take the extra step of making sure they actually “want” to play in Oakland. Otherwise the team will never get its money’s worth out of any FA player or big bat acquired in a trade.

    At this point, I’d love to see *all* of the big bats come up (Wallace, Carter, Doolittle if he’s healthy). Might as well see exactly where they are in their development.

    Of course, Barton hit .347 in his ’07 September callup, once again proving that it’s all just a big crapshoot anyway. ;)

  • Jan K Oski

    Cabrera, not Furcal, played in Oakland this year…

  • http://contractyear.mlblogs.com Bee Hylinski

    Jan, I think Nodaclu was referring to the attempt to sign Rurcal which went for naught. I wouldn’t mind picking up one proven bat–either power hitter or hitter for average, preferably the latter because of the Coliseum–but not 2 or 3 of them. We need to score runs and the long ball is so iffy in the Coliseum, so running and small ball is essential for the A’s to win. So let’s bring up the guys from the minors and get a look at them in September and maybe acquire one guy from outside in the offseason.

    I also agree that the guy has to be a gamer and accept playing in Oakland. Holliday certainly is tearing up the NL in St. Louis. I’m not saying he didn’t try, but he let drop enough comments to indicate he didn’t want to play in Oakland and we saw the results.

    On another front, what exactly is wrong with Braden’s ankle? First we heard it was a rash, and then nothing, or maybe I missed something.

  • Nodaclu

    Jan….I was referring to Furcal’s refusal to sign a 4 year, 40 million contract to play with Oakland – instead taking slightly less to sign with the Dodgers.

  • Nodaclu

    Whoops…sorry….Bee caught it as well. :)

  • Nodaclu

    Last report I saw on Braden was that the swelling was surrounding a nerve in his foot. Nerves aren’t to be messed with, which is why I think they are treating this with kid gloves now.

  • Jeremy

    I think the issue is the rent-a-player. Each year we’ve watched the A’s bring in hired guns who everyone knows will be gone at the deadline or in the offseason and as soon as they’re purged from the roster the A’s take on a different attitude and seem to play more as a team.

    If they can bring in a FA middle of the order hitter on a multi-year deal, do it and it will not only show the fans and players the A’s are trying to win and win now, but also allow for some much needed continuity on the big league club. Problem is there aren’t middle of the order FAs who would be willing to take a discount to come to Oakland and good enough, young enough, and durable enough that the A’s would offer a multi year deal. List of 2010 FA Middle of the order hitters:

    Tejada
    Beltre
    Bay
    Holliday
    Abreu
    Vlad

    And Tejada is very debatable as a MotO hitter.

  • Jeremy

    I’d like to see them take a run at Abreu and/or Vlad. I’m not sure the Angels plan on resigning Vlad, nor that he would have interest in Oakland, or that Oakland could afford him… but he sure would look good as the RF/DH #3 hitter in Oakland.

    Abreu is much more reasonable. He could fill the exact same role, but would be cheaper, and probably only require a 2 year $18M contract. He would fit nicely into RF and the #3 spot in the lineup… even if he is an atrocious outfielder these days.

  • http://contractyear.mlblogs.com Bee Hylinski

    Thanks for the update on Braden, Nodaclu. Having a nerve problem in my ankle myself, I concur that it needs to be given the kid glove treatment.

    As for our other starter (?) on the DL, I hope that Duke takes his meds and therapy seriously and can beat the depression. Since pitching is such a mental game, it may be hard for him to get back to his old form, even with treatment. It may be like an alcoholic working in a bar. I wish him the best of luck.