Thanks to their sweep of the Blue Jays and their victory tonight over the Devil Rays, the A's are back in a familiar position: as MLB Heavyweight Champions. (It's like boxing: beat the champ and you're the champ. See the Catfish Stew sidebar for details.) The A's will have to stay hot to keep their two-year run as Heavyweight of the Year going. They're currently seven victories behind the White Sox for first place.
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Is Jack Cust as good at catching the ball as Mark Ellis? If you think so, I suggest you follow in Billy Beane's footsteps and go watch a sport where people aren't allowed to use their hands at all. Baseball isn't for you. If you can tell the difference, however, it's time for you to go fill out TangoTiger's annual Fan Scouting Report.
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Interesting that Susan Slusser thinks the A's might go into major rebuilding mode this offseason, and trade off a bunch of players, like Dan Haren, Joe Blanton, and Eric Chavez. Hard to imagine trading Haren, but on the other hand, starting pitching is starting to get way, way overvalued and expensive. And it will probably only get more overvalued this offseason: as Jayson Stark reports, now that Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano have signed new contracts, it will be a truly awful free agent market for starting pitchers this year. With every other GM seemingly hanging on to every last pitcher like they're the last piece of gold on earth, Beane might be holding baseball's two most desired and available commodities. Heck, he might even be able to get something good for Esteban Loaiza, if he keeps pitching like he did on Wednesday.
As for trading Chavez, he's kinda in the same boat as Rich Harden: he's an attractive talent, but unless he comes back and has a monster September to prove he's healthy, he's not going to bring much back in a trade. Check this out these 2007 stats from the A's third basemen:
Eric Chavez: .240/.306/.446, $11 million. Jack Hannahan: .241/.333/.448, Minimum wage! Hee-yah!