Just a quick final note from Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to say the A’s are out of here. Shortly, I will be, too.
They will go home now and continue to pursue their DH candidates. That could take awhile, as I wrote for tomorrow’s editions. Hideki Matsui is clearly their top target, but as I wrote, there are 10 DH vacancies around the American League and Matsui could have some attractive options — New York, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago, Texas, as well as Oakland.
If Matsui falls through, there’s still a long list of available, albeit not quite as desirable. Vladimir Guerrero has been bounced around in other media reports, but I would surmise that’s quite a longshot. I talked to both Rangers GM Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington in the past two days and they both said they want Vlad back and he wants to come back. And even if Texas can’t get him under contract, like I said, it’s a wide-open marketplace. Jack Cust was the only DH type that signed here.
Personally, and this is just my own opinion, Derrek Lee is the guy the A’s should go after. He’s a terrific clubhouse presence, he’s semi-local (a Sacramento native) and he can play first base if Daric Barton is injured or needs a day off. He’s lost a bit of bat speed but as a RH bat hitting behind Coco Crisp, David DeJesus and Barton, he could be quite productive. Another guy I’m surprised doesn’t get any run is Troy Glaus, who admitted has had a checkered injury past, but hit 16 home runs with 71 RBIs for the Braves last year playing in just 128 games. He can also play multiple positions. He’s never really been a full-time DH, but one wonders if he might thrive in such a role, and he’d come cheap.
Obviously, the A’s don’t appear to have a place for power prospect Chris Carter right now, and don’t count on it being DH. The A’s don’t want to cast him in such a role at such a young age, and that’s smart. If he shows he’s ready to play at the major-league level this spring and they can’t hold him back, they’ll make a spot for him and move somebody else in the field, whether it be Barton or one of the corner outfielders. But there wasn’t enough sample size on Carter late in the season to make an accurate judgment, and it doesn’t help that Carter hasn’t played in the Venezuela Winter League as planned.
I tend to think — nah, I’m pretty certain — agent Scott Boras’ claim that his client Adrian Beltre is still interested in Oakland is nothing more than rhetorical leveraging. And now that the Angels have lost out in the Carl Crawford derby, expect them to go full bore to sign Beltre because they need his offense.
In the Internet age, you get websites trying to establish credibility for themselves by throwing things against the wall to see if they might stick. We had one this week when a site called Ballpark Digest, which I must confess I don’t patronize, put out a report hinting that the MLB panel that will recommend the A’s future home might be prepared to anoint Oakland soon as the preferable choice over San Jose.
My dilemma: Do I even report such hazy conjecture? Having followed this story pretty closely and understanding how commissioner Bud Selig operates, there are not likely any leaks of what this panel might recommend — at least to this kind of outfit. Ultimately, I chose not to report it at all because, quite frankly, I didn’t want to even legitimize Ballpark Digest’s “scoop” by publishing info from their non-bylined story. A passage in the story was also a tipoff:
“If Oakland has a site, the money and the will to put together a ballpark package, we’re guessing MLB will take the safe route and recommend the team stay there, as opposed to creating a messy territorial battle by allowing a move to San Jose. ”
See the keywords there? “we’re guessing.” We who? Who are you? And what are your qualifications to offer such a guess? I found a contributing writer list buried on the website … never heard of any of ’em. But “we’re guessing” was all I needed to read.
Sadly, MLB and the A’s were put in a position to have to respond to this nonsense. The A’s passed along this statement from MLB Thursday night: “Despite reports or speculation to the contrary, Major League Baseball
has not completed its study of the Oakland A’s stadium matter nor has
the Commissioner’s Special Committee recommended any sites or
territories for the development of a new ballpark for the A’s. No date
has been determined for the committee to issue its findings.”