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Three Changes, One Surprise
2006-11-16 20:42
by Ken Arneson

A's moving to Fremont? No surprise.

A's hire Bob Geren as manager? Ho hum.

Frank Thomas leaves for the Blue Jays? OK, that one caught me off guard.

Darn shame, really. The A's and Thomas were such a perfect match. The fans loved him. His teammates loved him. He filled a huge need on the team. His style of play is exactly what the team philosophy aims for. I would have loved to have seen him finish his career in Oakland.

But if Toronto is willing to risk $10-$12 million more than the A's are willing to risk on this aging player, what can you do? I can see paying $10 million/year for Thomas, but a three-year deal strikes me as too big a gamble for the A's to take. And I can't really blame Thomas for taking the extra year. Nobody in their right mind turns down $10 million guaranteed, even if you're already wealthy.

And after Boston bid $51 million for Matsuzaka, I think baseball fans are going to have to readjust their brains for a new salary scale. With so many teams flush with cash, every free-agent contract that is signed this offseason is going to seem outrageously expensive in comparison to the past.

It strikes me as somewhat ironic that, although the A's have been able to stay competitive for many years while crying poor, the very week that they get a new stadium lined up, all those years of limited revenues might finally catch up to them. Thomas' production will be hard to replace, and with so many other teams with so much cash to spend, it's hard to imagine the A's could find a replacement on the free market very easily.

Daric Barton is the only viable candidate from the minors, but he suffered an injury-plagued lost season in 2006, so he probably won't make any impact in 2007. Beane could make some creative trades, I suppose, but as a participant in a previous A's trade once said, youneverknow.

So that leaves us with...gasp...Barry Bonds. The A's need a DH. Bonds needs to DH. He lives in the Bay Area. Maybe he'd take a little less money to stay near home, who knows?

I'd prefer that this did not happen. Quite honestly, I'd rather see the A's suffer through a lousy season with a bunch of young players than to deal with the circus surrounding Barry Bonds. If he does sign with the A's, I'll tell you right now, I'll initiate an immediate Barry Bonds fast. I won't watch Bonds until...well, I don't know, but I guess until something happens that makes me like the guy. I lack the imagination to figure out what that could possibly be.

2006-11-16 22:12:19
1.   Adam B
You've got it all wrong. You should embrace Bonds. Because then that means you won't see Selig in Oakland all season. And that's a good thing.
2006-11-16 22:36:56
2.   Ravenscar
Ummm..... until he.... um.....

Has lunch with Bob Timmermann?

I'm really not sure why that popped into my head.

It just seemed appropriate somehow. Like Bob has the necessary sanity to counteract Bonds.

2006-11-16 22:46:20
3.   Johan
It's odd that I have grown accustomed to the homegrown players leaving once they get too expensive, to the point that I just accept it without any resentment or disappointment.

But the departure of this one guy who played for the team for one season gets me.

Maybe it's because I don't see any way for the team to replace him next season, so I don't see the team humming right along, contending for the postseason.

Maybe it's because he was "our" big name free agent that made me feel like we were players in that arena, even if he did come dirt cheap.

Maybe it's because we did give him his chance, and it seems like he should show some graitude.

I don't know what it is exactly, maybe it's all those things, but I don't like it.

2006-11-16 22:47:42
4.   Johan
I'd gladly take Bonds at this point, as well. But I have never had the same amount of disdain for him as many others, anyway.
2006-11-17 13:45:12
5.   dianagramr
I know what you should the blog name to in honor of the new manager

"Gerentology" !!!

2006-11-18 05:34:20
6.   scarface
Bonds fast until...? Not much imagination needed there, from my perspective anyway. I watch the Giants too, and this dude is completely spellbinding when he's ON, basically until last season - in fact I think I used to reverse-fast him, just like Frank. So if he hits some early HRs and shows a good eye, I'd break any fast pronto.

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