If too much time elapses between any tasty morsels of A's news, I start to suffer from withdrawal pains. In the absence of real A's news, I find myself making up fake A's news, instead.
I'm not sure that's a healthy thing to do.
So it was a relief to find my A's season ticket invoice in my mailbox yesterday. For a few hours, I had something concrete to think about.
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As expected, the third deck and the upper levels of Mount Davis have indeed disappeared from the Coliseum map. Here are the ticket prices being offered:
Single game price
Season ticket price
Plaza Club (w/meal)
Plaza Level Infield
Plaza Level Outfield
The Plaza Level is now split into four sections, each with different prices: Outfield, Infield, Club, and...um...Spade? The Outfield sections are the four sections furthest from home plate. The "Spade" sections are next five sections over.
Field Level remains unchanged. Well, except for the fact the price has gone up $2. Groan.
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The cover of the invoice package has photos of four 2005 rookies: Huston Street, Nick Swisher, Dan Johnson, and Joe Blanton. I kinda get the feeling that in the offseason, the A's marketing department is very careful not to heavily promote any players Billy Beane might trade.
Hence, Barry Zito, the team's biggest star, has only a partially obscured photo in the brochure. And when he is mentioned in the text, it is in the middle of a paragraph, the ninth player listed out of thirteen.
* * *
It's pretty clear that Beane is shopping Zito. Peter Gammons has mentioned it, and Ken Rosenthal just wrote that with A.J. Burnett getting offered $50 million by Toronto already, the odds are pretty good that someone will meet Beane's asking price.
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Trade rumors drive some people nuts. It's just the opposite for me. I need them. In times of drought, they quench my thirst for baseball stories to contemplate. They exercise my mind, keep it active. They give me a kind of jigsaw puzzle to solve: do the rumored pieces actually fit together?
For example, I heard a wild fourth-hand rumor that the Mike Cameron-for-Xavier Nady trade involved Barry Zito, possibly headed for San Diego. I didn't believe it because (a) the rumor mentioned Brian Giles, who is a free agent, and (b) it mentioned Adam Eaton, whom I can't imagine the A's wanting, and (c) the Padres' farm system is pretty much devoid of players who would be worth giving up Barry Zito for. The Padres don't really have what the A's want.
So these particular puzzle pieces didn't really fit together. Even though Bobby over at A's Future recently had a Padres deal as one of his daily Zito trades, I can't see Zito ending up in San Diego unless there's a third team involved.
But suppose, just for fun, that there's an element of truth in this rumor. Not that Zito is going to San Diego, but that the Cameron-Nady trade is the first domino to fall in a series of events that results in Zito getting traded. If that were the case, I'd guess Nady ends up in Florida in the rumored Carlos Delgado deal with the Mets, after which the Gammons rumor of Zito-for-Lastings Milledge could happen.
But why would the A's-Mets trade hinge on the Mets-Marlins trade? I can only think of two reasons: (1) money (they Mets can't afford Zito's salary unless the Marlins pay some of Delgado's), or (2) some player from Florida would be coming over to Oakland. Who could that be? The Marlins have several good prospects. Or perhaps it is John Danks, who is reportedly about to be sent from Texas to Florida in the Josh Beckett-Hank Blalock trade.
Danks and Milledge for Zito? That's a price I think Billy Beane might be willing to pay. But that scenario doesn't really make sense. Why would Florida send a prospect to the Mets along with Carlos Delgado? The Marlins should be receiving prospects, not giving them up.
It's gotta be the money, then. Perhaps the Marlins are willing to pay some of Delgado's salary only if they can unload Mike Lowell's salary, first. Once the Lowell trade goes down, the Delgado trade can go down, clearing enough space in the Mets' budget for a Zito-for-Milledge trade.
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See? This is what I'm talking about. There I go again, making up fake news, because I'm just not getting enough of the real thing. It's wrong, I know, but I simply cannot help myself.