A’s update: Dallas Braden, Andrew Bailey, and of course, the rainy weather

It’s déjà vu at the Coliseum, where the rain has been falling, the tarp is on the infield and the A’s and Angels are hoping to start tonight’s game on time. Weather.com calls for a 25 percent chance of rain at 6 p.m., but then it appears we could get a break until about 10 p.m.

–Big A’s news of the day so far: Dallas Braden’s shoulder surgery in New York was successful, but the A’s announced that he will definitely be sidelined for the rest of the season. Will he recover in time to be ready for the start of the 2012 campaign? There’s no indication one way or another. Johan Santana had the same surgery (to repair a torn capsule in his shoulder) in September and it’s estimated he may be out until mid-season. The recovery appears to be anywhere from the 7-10 month range.

Braden will be missed on the mound. He’s an innings-eater and an intense competitor. But Tyson Ross has filled in more than capably. From talking to players around the clubhouse, the feeling is that Braden’s leadership and clubhouse presence will be missed the most. However, I’d expect that Braden will be around the team a lot, much like Ben Sheets was last season after he got hurt. We know that tonight’s starter, Gio Gonzalez, would welcome Braden’s presence. Can Gonzalez bounce back after Wednesday’s disastrous outing in Texas? He’s 3-2 with a 3.90 ERA against the Angels in six career starts.

–Andrew Bailey said he feels good after yesterday’s one-inning outing at extended spring training. He’ll play catch tomorrow and be re-evaluated, and he’s hopeful of starting a rehab assignment Thursday, Friday or Saturday. How many outings will he require before coming off the DL? Bailey estimates he’ll need at least four, but emphasized that it’s just a guess.

–Infielder Adam Rosales (fractured right foot) has a doctor’s appointment in Los Angeles tomorrow, and if he gets cleared, he hopes to start playing in extended spring games by the end of the week.

The lineups:
A’s – Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Willingham LF, Matsui DH, Suzuki C, DeJesus RF, Ellis 2B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Pennington SS; Gonzalez LHP.

Angels: Aybar SS, Abreu DH, Izturis 2B, Hunter RF, Kendrick LF, Callaspo 3B, Trumbo 1B, Mathis C, Bourjos CF; Chatwood RHP.

That’s all for now …


The Santana winners

Wanted to wait to blog on the Johan Santana trade into I talked to an  acquaintance of mine in the baseball industry. Three guesses as to what his initial assessment of the deal was?

1) Santana will dominate even more than he normally does, because National League hitters are unfamiliar with him, and Santana already owns hitters in the American League who have faced him. 2) Santana’s upside will be 25 wins. His downside will be 22 wins. 3) The Mets made this deal to win a World Series this year.

Well, duh. Isn’t that we’re all saying?

Then, this person told me something I wasn’t prepared to hear. He said the Twins may not have been fleeced as bad as you think. Seems that one of the pitchers Minnesota received in the deal is considered a can’t-miss stud. I am always skeptical when I hear such a thing, and the fact that Deolis Guerra is only 18 and hasn’t been above Single-A only adds to it. But I trust this person’s evaluation of talent, and he says that the Twins won’t be crying in a few years.

As for now, plenty of Minnesota fans will be angry, and perhaps they should be. But not because bringing back Santana would’ve enabled the Twins to contend. Minnesota was in a situation similar to the A’s in that they probably would’ve entered the campaign as the third- or fourth-best team in the division.

Instead, the reason for unhappiness among the Twins faithful should have to do with what the Twins could’ve had and what they wound up getting. As Buster Olney wrote on ESPN.com, this was probably the fourth-best deal they could’ve swung. In the end, they were enticed with offers for Yankees pitchers Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes and outfielder Melky Cabrera; Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and wound up with none of them. They’ll spend years wondering if they should’ve pulled the trigger on this deal back in the winter meetings.

Have some sympathy for new Twins general manager Mike Smith, however. It wouldn’t be easy for a veteran GM to navigate trade waters that include the Yankees and Red Sox potentially bidding against each other. For a rookie to be asked such a thing is not fair.

Then again, baseball is a lot like life, and nobody said life is fair.

Incidentally, the Mets will find a way to sign Santana to an extension. If they don’t, their GM Omar Minaya would have to go into hiding.


Talkin’ NFL while waiting for a Kotsay trade

Anybody mind if I take a detour from the usual fare this morning? After all, talking football after the NFL’s divisional round is a heckuva lot more appealing than anything baseball has to offer right now. I mean, the A’s are bracing to trade Mark Kotsay (big whoop!) to the Atlanta Braves (it should happen today); Roger Clemens’ lawyers are lawyering (a tired story already), and Johan Santana is still a Twin (can’t they get a move-on with that deal).

Anyway, the point is, baseball is a feeling a bit tired. I’ll get back to blogging about the grand ol’ game as the week goes on, but right now, what’s standing out the most to me from the weekend was the press conference held by Terrell Owens after the Cowboys bit the bullet against the New York Giants on Sunday.

If you saw the clips of T.O. or read some of the accounts, then you’re aware that the former 49ers wide receiver let loose a flood of tears in front of reporters.

The question: Was it an act?

I didn’t see it as such. Now I know I’m not nearly as up-to-speed on the personalities in that league as I am in baseball, but it seems to me that Owens did a lot of growing up this season. He rarely griped about himself. There were no off-the-field theatrics. And he didn’t throw any teammates under the bus.

In short, he seemed to grow up. At no point, did the Cowboys’ season revolve around what T.O. was doing, and at no point, did T.O. take steps to make sure it would. Should give faith to the cynical — and I’m in that camp more than most — that athletes can change their stripes. Took T.O. longer than most to realize that the less he draws attention to himself, the better it works out for everybody, including himself. But at least he seemed finally to figure it out.

Listen to the various talk shows this morning driving to the office, and I was surprised to hear how many people thought it was a premeditated stunt on Owens’ part, and that all he was showing were crocodile tears? Wonder how many of those were 49ers fans?

Anyway, figured it’d be an interesting place to start the discussion this morning while we waited for the Kotsay deal to come down. Tell me what you think.


So much for the trades

Day Three of the Winter Meetings is headed into the evening, and that’s generally when you start hearing about potential action. But as of now, this has become the most-hyped, least-substance event since the Super Bowl. No trades Wednesday (though the Miguel Cabrera-Dontrelle Willis trade to Detroit was officially announced). Here are some notes from the lobby:

— One A’s official said he’d be “shocked” if the team moves Dan Haren or Joe Blanton before the meetings are over or anytime soon thereafter. When presented with that information, an A’s executive said that’s a “safe” assumption. The Arizona Diamondbacks supposedly had assumed the lead in the sweepstakes for the two pitchers, but apparently there’s nothing imminent.

— One A’s source said the team had no meetings scheduled with any teams planned on Wednesday night. This, of course, could always change. The A’s were scheduled to meet with an agent, believed to be Alan Hendricks, who represents Huston Street.

— Don’t anticipate a Johan Santana trade getting done, even in principle. The Red Sox, according to several sources, has backed down on their interest. One intriguing team linked to Santana is the Seattle Mariners, and they’re reportedly willing to give up center fielder Adam Jones for him. Jones, according to the buzz, is supposed to be another Torii Hunter.

— Toronto Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi headed out of Nashville on Wednesday, lessening the chance that a Alex Rios-for-Tim Lincecum deal will be made. The Giants brass haven’t met with the media today, so clearly, they’re busy.


The Big Trade

Thoughts from the Winter Meetings on a bleary-eyed morning here at the Opryland Amusement Park, er Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.

— The acquisition of Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis by the Detroit Tigers in the biggest move of the meetings does two things. 1) It puts the Tigers in a class with the Yankees, Red Sox and Angels as the big dogs of the American League, and 2) It increases the necessity for the Minnesota Twins, their fellow rival in the AL Central, to deal Johan Santana. Even with Santana, it’s impossible to picture the Twins hanging with both Detroit and Cleveland; thus, better to get what you can for your best asset. It could portend a trade of Minnesota closer Joe Nathan, too.

— Speaking of Santana, the guess here is that he’ll go to the Red Sox, and that wouldn’t be a terrible thing. Can’t you picture the Tigers potential lineup against a potential Red Sox rotation of Santana, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Curt Schilling in an October showdown.

— Would love to be a fly on the wall to hear the internal discussions the Giants are holding regarding the possibility of trading Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain to Toronto for outfielder Alex Rios. Personally, I wouldn’t move Cain unless I could have the entire Tigers lineup.  Lincecum might be less painful to move, but not much. Keep in mind that Rios would be entering his second year of arbitration this winter, so he’s not nearly the financial bargain that Lincecum is.

— Continue to get the feeling that the A’s are more likely to deal Joe Blanton than they are Dan Haren, and that such a move likely won’t come until the meetings are over. One report says the Diamondbacks are offering a “Herschel Walker-type” deal for Haren, but I’ve heard just the opposite, namely that they don’t have nearly enough. That’s the nature of these meetings: Deciphering what’s true and what isn’t is like reading Beowulf.

— Speaking of the A’s, general manager Billy Beane summed up the nature of the meetings perfectly: “You don’t get any sleep, you don’t eat well, you don’t get any exercise. Everything grinds to a halt and not much actually happens.”


The Winter Meetings

Arrived here at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville on Monday morning, and the joke was already making the rounds. Baseball’s Winter Meetings should be re-named the Santana Meetings, at least this year.

Make sense. A paltable buzz exists as baseball’s collective nation waits to see where Minnesota Twins two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana lands. According to multiple reports, the sweepstakes will come down to the Red Sox and Yankees, with each team upping its ante in recent days. The Yanks reportedly have given the Twins 24 hours to accept an offer that reportedly includes top-notch pitching prospects Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy and center fielder Melky Cabrera.

The Twins’ decision regarding Santana figures to have a direct impact on the A’s, because the loser of the Santana Sweepstakes likely will shift its focus to Dan Haren. If Haren becomes the No. 1 attraction, which he will be once Santana is traded, the A’s can hold out for an even better offer.

It’s early, but it shouldn’t be long before the news starts to trickle in. Stay tuned.