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How do you judge the A’s season to this point?

Final day of a long 10-game road trip … The A’s began it 4-2, but they need a win today to finish 5-5. When they left Oakland, they were 8 games out of first place, so regardless of today’s outcome, they’ll have lost ground on this trip …

I just did a “5 questions” session about the A’s for the Orange County Register, in advance of this weekend’s series w/the Angels. I believe it will be posted tomorrow at ocregister.com, or perhaps it’s already up. Anyway, one of the questions had to do with fan interest over the battle for second place between the A’s and Angels (neither team is eliminated from the AL West race yet, obviously). So as the season hits the final month, I ask you this:

If the season were to end today, would you be satisfied with the A’s second-place finish? Or, you can take a broader look and answer this: Do you consider this season a success or failure to this point?

Take everything into consideration: The development of the young starting pitching; the fact that this would mark the A’s best finish in the division since 2006; the disappointing performance of the offense, which has failed to support the pitching; the continuing problem with injuries …

Interested to read the opinions on this …

–As for the morning news … The A’s have eight right-handed hitters in the lineup against Yankees lefty CC Sabathia. Daric Barton is sitting and Rajai Davis is batting second. Jeff Larish (the only lefty bat) is playing first base with Matt Carson in right field. …

–Conor Jackson’s sports hernia surgery went well, manager Bob Geren said. His timetable for recovery is three weeks, and the A’s still aren’t officially declaring him out for the season. I can’t see any way Jackson plays again in 2010. There’s really no point … If he returned right at the three-week mark, there would be just a little more than one week left of games. This guy needs to heal up and get ready for next season, although I’m not sure how he fits into next season’s outfield puzzle. One of many issues the A’s have to consider over the winter …

The lineups:

A’s — Crisp CF, Davis LF, Kurt Suzuki DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Ellis 2B, Carson RF, Larish 1B, Powell C, Pennington SS; Braden LHP.

Yankees — Jeter SS, Swisher RF, Teixeira 1B, CAno 2B, Thames DH, Posada C, Kearns LF, Nunez 3B, Gardner CF; Sabathia LHP.

Joe Stiglich

  • J Canseco

    This season is a failure. OK, the rotation was excellent. Was anything else? Why do fans have to wait around for five years for a complete team to hit the field? I’ve honestly run out of patience in 2010.

  • tug

    This season was NOT a failure. Name a team besides the Yankees that don’t have to wait around for five years for a complete team to hit the field. The pitching staff is a little ahead of schedule and the hitting is behind. This biggest issue is the outfield. We have eight or nine guys competing for three spots, but we really need to add at least one (better, two) guys that are better than all of them. If we can have a couple of good bats along with Sweeny and Rajai, then the team gets exponentially better. Kouz batting 6th makes a lot more sense. I’d like to think that Carter and/or Taylor are one or both of those studs, but more realistically, they’ll need to be brought in – then those young guys can step in down the line.

  • Andy K

    Season was a limited success. The pitching ended up a success – though Sheets was a total bust. Hitting – do I need to say anything about this. Lack of any good moves this season to support the pitching now or in the future – failure.

    This Yankees series was a huge blow – I am having a very hard time following the games. The team seemed to wilt, with bad plays, etc. Hate to say it, but the Yankees look very good.

    Lets hope for a winning record this season – that would be successful. Hope for some good FA signings this year – unlike the last 4 years.

  • crister

    Unfulfilled promise. Recordwise, it should be viewed as a moderate success. Especially if injuries are taken into consideration. Still, there has to be a feeling of frustration. One gets the sensation of an organization stuck in place. Patchwork roster and at times, going on the cheap. Interchangeable parts with lateral moves that don’t really contribute much. Hairston, Conor Jackson, Kouzmanoff etc. So so players that yes, may be major league level, but not exactly difference makers or at the very least guys you can plug into positions and not have to worry about them and focus on other spots.

    More importantly, this year’s faults unless addressed over the offseason will spill over into next season. Chris Carter and Michael Taylor can’t and shouldn’t be expected to be offensive production saviors next year. How many rookies end up carrying a club for an entire season? It’s unreasonable to expect them to out-of-the-blue do so. So where’s the offense going to come from to complement the pitching? Is another season going to be spent trying to figure that out and next thing you know, it’s 2012 and guys are one year closer to their arbitration and thus more expensive and we’re going to have to go through the whole deal with who to hang on to and who to trade and so on.

  • scott no2

    Disappointing. I thought the offense would be better than what it was. but instead we used the DL over and over and over and over again. I worry that the organization does not provide the right trainers and conditioning.

    Hope that makes sense.

  • Fool Manchu

    Unfortunately, there are only 3 groups of people currently attending A’s games. The first group consists of about 5,000 hardcore fans who live and die with the team and attend all their games. The second group of people in attendance are there to see the A’s opposition, and sometimes they outnumber The A’s fans. The third group is comprised of schmucks like me. I park at the adjacent BART station parking lot for free so I don’t have to pay the $17 for parking in the A’s lot. I attend $2 Wednesday games and jersey/bobblehead give-away games. This will be the extent of my commitment to the team until the product on the field improves. The starting pitching looks promising, but none of their position players jump out at you. This season certainly hasn’t been awful, but it hasn’t been great, either. I wish I could expect better next year, but I don’t.

  • jclay09

    Positives:

    The current starting 5
    The bullpen
    Daric Barton
    Cliff Pennington
    Coco Crisp
    Jack Cust
    Adam Rosales
    The defense

    The defense and the entire pitching staff have been stellar virtually all season. Cahill, Anderson, and Gio look like a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Pennington and Barton both took major steps forward and look like perennial everyday players on a playoff team. Coco, when healthy, has been an absolute beast on offense, defense, and on the base paths. With him in the lineup this is a much much better team. Cust, while not hitting for much power, greatly improved his BA and is still getting on-base at a .400 clip. Rosales has been the jack-of-all trades the team has been missing since Scutaro.

    Negatives:

    The bats of Suzuki, Ellis, Kouzmanoff, Rajai
    Injuries (again) mainly Jackson, Sweeney, Sheets, Duke but smaller ones of Braden, Anderson, and Coco as well
    Eric Chavez
    The Conor Jackson trade debacle
    Ben Sheets
    Chris Carter in the majors
    Michael Taylor
    Adrian Cardenas
    Jemile Weeks
    Tyson Ross after April 23rd
    Gabe Gross
    Jake Fox
    Travis Buck
    Bob Geren

    The A’s bet big on Carter, Taylor, and Weeks and currently they’ve all hit major road blocks. Carter the least of them, but still 0-19 with 9 K’s and not passing the eye test is a big issue. Rajai was expected to regress, but not to forget how to walk almost completely. Ellis and Suzuki were expected to hit much better, Kouz expected to hit for more power. Fox, Gross, Buck, and Chavez all colossal disappointments, some expected. The Conor Jackson trade was a major head scratcher at the time, and still is.

    Overall I’d say a slight disappointment if the season ended right now, mainly because they’re under .500 and because of how badly the yankes have destroyed them this season. 1-9 against any 1 team is flat out unacceptable and getting outscored 23-54 on the season is just pathetic. Vs the rest of the league the team is 64-58 and that’s with an atrocious road record. The team has to find some offense at the corner OF positions and has to learn to win on the road.

  • TheDream5

    I felt that this was a 500 team going into the season and it essentially is…The offense is terrible, but the pitching has been amazing. I’m very optimistic for the future because of the solid young pitching. Anybody who expecting this team to compete in 2010 in crazy…hopefully 2011 will be a different story.

  • COH

    an abject failure.

  • Joe

    How exactly is this season a failure? What were people that think this expecting this season? I was hoping for 81-81 at the start of the season and as long as this Yankee series doesn’t send them into a downward spiral, they have a pretty good chance at finishing up right around there. Obviously, they need to find some offense going forward and yeah it’s painful to see the A’s fail to score night after night while Carlos Gonzalez is an MVP candidate in Colorado but…they’ve already got an excellent pitching staff, which in theory is harder to find than hitters. Now, they’ve got to figure out how to put together an offense. Let’s hope they can use the money they won’t be spending on Chavez (finally) and Sheets next year and be able to bring in 2-3 quality bats. I’m not expecting superstars because superstars don’t sign for non-playoff teams unless you way overpay and the A’s shouldn’t do that but they can get some good bats for the $20M that’ll be off the books in Chavez & Sheets.

  • crister

    Last year, you could see throughout the season that despite their record, the team had a pretty good future with regards to the pitching. You were almost looking forward for the season to be over. Not for any other reason, but for the excitement of seeing how the pitchers would improve in 2010. Sure enough, that excitement was largely warranted. I’m not the biggest Geo Gonzalez fan, but hey, the numbers don’t lie. Anderson and Cahill? Pretty good… Bailey? Huston Street who?

    This year, you’re just not getting that vibe with any of the position players. The corner infield spots are bigtime question marks. The outfield? Well, Crisp’s broken finger was just dumb luck. No one’s fault… Sweeney though… What is he really? Going on 26, bad knees, quite a few injuries already, overall “ok” skill set, but doesn’t’ exactly stand out in any particular aspect of the game. Travis Buck? That train has left the station. Raj Davis… Nice spark plug. Jack Cust… I hear Japan is nice during the summer. Is Suzuki going to continue to improve is is this pretty much it? Not that he’s bad or anything. Maybe he’s just not the star that everyone thought he was going to grow into. And it all goes back to . . . Who this year has us excited for next year? The pitchers more or less got their growing pains of of the way last year. Can’t say the same for any of the offensive guys with mayby, just maybe Pennington and that’s a real maybe…

  • Damon

    The season is about what I expected it to be – a qualified success. I recall telling my friends at the beginning of the season the A’s were at LEAST a year away. The pitching staff has exceeded my expectations, but the offense has indeed been disappointing. Ryan Sweeney’s injury certainly didn’t help in that regard.
    What we need offensively (assuming we continue to lack power), are 9 guys who are flat-out TOUGH outs. We get 9 guys hitting .265 or better, we can live w/o power, ESPECIALLY with the pitching we have.

  • http://www.oaklandas.com Dave Hendu

    I have never been so optimistic. The starting staff is unbelievably good. As strong 1 through 5 as any staff in baseball, probably stronger. The hitting sucks but I believe that Billy Beane will go out and get some big bats in the offseason. I would like to see the A’s make a decision on a center fielder, and I would it to be Rajai. But they can’t have corner outfielders hitting 1-3 home runs a year. Either Crisp, Davis or Sweeney should be in center. The other two should be shipped out. I would like to see Taylor and Carter earn their way onto the starting lineup in left and right. This could be good spots to pick up big bats, as could DH. Cust is a bust. 14 home runs through August for a guy who strikes out as much as he does? Please release him. I don’t want to see Pena either. He’s a k-machine as well.

    I like the infield a lot. Not much pop on the corners, but that should improve next year. Great gloves, though it may be time to bid adieu to Ellis. We don’t lose much defensively by putting Rosales in there, and he’s a probably an upgrade offensively.

    The ‘pen is fairly solid. Losing Bailey hurt the team a lot this year. Having someone who can step in and close games out without shifting the roles around too much will be nice. The return of Devine may bring that guy, should Bailey go down again. The starting staff is awesome and will be even deeper with Outman able to fill in if need be. Mortensen seems ready as well.

    With the right bats filling in in right, left and DH, this team could win the division next year.

  • Damon Yeargain

    It was unrealistic to expect the A’s to win it this year. They were too young, with way too many unknowns. A much more realistic goal this year was to hit .500, see where the team stands and make a run in 2011. They are well within reach of those goals. We now know where this team stands. Great young pitching staff. The hitting, especially in terms of power, needs to be improved. With $20 million or so coming off the books, I expect Beane to make some moves to get some bats. Plus, as another person on this list pointed, out they may still develop some bats within the farm system.
    I say the season was success. We know where the team stands and with the addition of some bats the team will be poised to make a run next year.