Monday, November 3, 2008

Joey Brownlee - A's off-season

The MLB off-season is set to commence next Thursday and many are wondering if the A’s will shell out some coin for a primer hitter to anchor the heart-of-the-order.

As a die-hard, life long A’s fan, of course I’d love to see Mark Teixeira man first base for the next five or six years; but he alone cannot provide what we sordidly need: A Hyperbolic Time Chamber.

I first saw this in Dragon Ball Z, when Vegeta and Trunks (Saiyin warriors) were set to fight the evil villain, Cell, in the “Cell Games.”

What the heck does it do? First, it’s a room that is in a different dimension than Earth. Used by warriors for training, the difference in dimensions allows the warriors a year of training in a single day.

Unfortunately, the Hyperbolic Time Chamber is a figment of my imagination and doesn’t really exist. Even worse, the 10-year, 200 million+ Teixeira is seeking couldn’t buy one.

What we really need is time. That’s what Tampa Bay and the Dodgers did; they bided their time and struck at the most opportune moment to make big splashes.

Let’s decipher the numbers real quick.

The young Dodger hitters –Martin, Ethier, Loney and Kemp- have accumulated 4,969 Major League at-bats; add Upton of the Rays, the total swells to 6,308. Shifting gears to pitching. The combination of Garza, Shields, Kazmir and Billingsley has pitched 2,033 innings in the bigs, gaining 29 years of experience for all of the aforementioned players.

The A’s equivalent to that group of talent –C. Gonzalez, Suzuki, Barton, Buck and Sweeney; G. Gonzalez and Gallagher- has a sum of 2,467 at-bats and 164 innings pitched. Our best prospects –Anderson, Cahill and Mazzaro- have yet to throw a big league pitch.

But stats don’t account for one important thing: the mental and physical grind a 162 game schedule has on these young players. All (except Dave Winfield, Jon Olerud and Evan Longoria) struggle with it. I was a every A’s home game last season and it clearly wore on Buck and Carlos Gonzalez as both made Sacramento and Oakland home.

When our playoff run began at the beginning of this decade, Giambi, Chavez, Tejada, Hernandez and Long all had time to get acclimated in 1998 and 1999. That’s all this young group needs, a little time to develop.

I want to win more NOW than anyone in the universe because it hurts to lose. However, I’m not willing to compromise a foundation of a potential 5-7 year playoff run for 2-3 years of playoff mediocrity.

The players are already here. We just have to beat the waiting game, first.

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