Blog Entry

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics

Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:56 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 2:18 pm
 


By Matt Snyder

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

"Moneyball" hit movie theaters everywhere late this past summer and Brad Pitt-as-Billy Beane told us the A's have to be creative to compete in an unfair baseball landscape. There are haves and have-nots, the protagonist would tell us. And we all know the Oakland Athletics are have-nots in the salary-capless land of Major League Baseball. So what if the A's could afford to keep all their own guys? Surely they'd be much better, right? Uh ...

Lineup

1. Jemile Weeks, 2B
2. Nick Swisher, CF
3. Andre Ethier, RF
4. Jason Giambi, 1B
5. Ryan Ludwick, LF
6. Kurt Suzuki, C
7. Ramon Hernandez, DH
8. Mark Teahen, 3B
9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Tim Hudson
2. Trevor Cahill
3. Dallas Braden
4. Tyson Ross
5. Joe Blanton

Yes, Braden was out for the season in real life, but we've got Rich Harden waiting in the wings. Oh, and yes, Harden is hurt all the time. So then we'd turn to Barry Zito.

Bullpen

Closer - Andrew Bailey
Set up - Huston Street, Santiago Casilla, Henry Rodriguez, Joel Peralta, Sam Demel
Long - Harden, Zito

Notable Bench Players

Miguel Olivo, John Baker, Gerald Laird -- yes, those three are all catchers, just like our DH -- Eric Chavez and Travis Buck.

What's Good?

Hey, at least we'd never run out of catchers with this group. There are four major-league caliber starters, even if some are lower-tier, and one quality backup in Laird. So the Athletics churn out catchers. Really, though, the strength of this team is unsurprisingly the pitching. The starting rotation is good, but not great. Hudson is steady and Cahill was very good in 2010. Blanton was good in 2009 but has battled injuries and ineffectiveness since then. Ross did show great promise before his injury last season, though. The bullpen is pretty good, too. Bailey is a solid closer and Street would be a fine eighth-inning man with Casilla and fireballer Rodriguez also setting the table.

What's Not?

Giambi and Ludwick in the middle of the order isn't near as potent nowadays as it would have been a handful of years ago. Plus, could Giambi even play everyday anymore? If not, our next option is playing a catcher, Chavez or Buck at first base. That's weak. In fact, at this point in time, there aren't many spots where the hitter is well above average for his slot. Swisher and Ethier are good, but they aren't elite second or third hitters. Weeks could prove an elite leadoff hitter as soon as 2012, but we don't have a large enough sample yet to declare that. Ramon Hernandez had a good past two offensive seasons, but take him out of the NL Central and Great American Ball Park and put him in the AL West in Oakland. That's a big difference. So while the offense isn't atrocious, it's not very good either -- and there is no bench depth anywhere but catcher. Also, Swisher's out of position in center, but, again, we don't have any other options.

Comparison to real 2011

While the rotation and bullpen are good, they are far from great, and the position players here just aren't enough. This team would be below average, an 85-90 loss ballclub. The real-life A's went 74-88, so I'd say it's just about the same result.

And we can now see the biggest problem. Of course it's tough to compete as a small-market team in a football stadium, but the A's haven't been drafting very well. They've made some good trades, sure, but also some pretty bad ones. For example, they spun Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith for Matt Holliday back in 2008, but then dealt Holliday at the next trade deadline for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson. So, yes, one reason the A's can't compete anymore in the AL West is because they don't have the money to retain or sign new expensive veterans. But another reason is they just aren't churning out draft picks like the Rays, for example, are. 

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Comments

Since: Jun 12, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:37 am
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics

This was a lot of fun to read.  Great idea.



Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics

These writers are comical. If theyre going to do the homegrown series realistically then they should consider each players original position before they got booted out by a superstar to another position.



Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2011 3:05 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics

I don't know what you writers are thinking. I would take any of the 3 catchers you have at backup over Kurt Suzuki. Kurt is decent, but for the most part he does not call a good game and is not solid defensively. He is not so great at offense which is what the 3 backups can produce much more of and more consistently.



Since: Jul 6, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics

this whole "homegrown team" thing is stupid and useless. you should find something else to waste your time on. this is absolutely meaningless.



Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: December 21, 2011 7:36 am
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics

Mark Buehrle is a four-time All-Star.

Anibal Sanchez is right handed.



Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:44 am
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics

What? Mark Teahen is not good at all. Barry Zito is much better than Dallas "I'm one of the mediocre pitchers who threw a no hitter and I still stink as a MLB pitcher" Braden.

Jonathan Sanchez, Mark Buehrle, Annibal Sanchez.....see a trend.....? There is something about mediocre left handed pitchers who rise to the occasion one time in their career (twice in Buehrle's case) only to go back down to the abyss. 



Since: Mar 9, 2009
Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:37 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics

uh, hello A's fans, this is homegrown as of today.  What would your 2012 lineup and staff look like.  It's not the all time home grown team

Mulder is out of baseball.  chavez is relegated to DH.  Zito is a 5 starter at best.  know what you are reading before you start crying 



Since: May 28, 2007
Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:17 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics

mulder?his arm fell off 4 years ago.and tejada is old and isn't juicing anymore.



Since: Dec 20, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 9:12 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics

Chavez Not starting?  Where is Tejada?   Mulder?  Zito ?


I was waiting and counting the days for CBS to come out with my Homwgrown A´s team, but you guys absolutely Blew it heavily!


I cant believe this team, awful the selection process.

This is not my Athletics at all.

Amazing.       urghhhhhhhh





Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: December 20, 2011 9:11 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Oakland Athletics

Yeah, I'd be fine with any of these changes. It's all subjective.

Thanks for reading.

- Matt


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com