The grinch who stole my hopes for the A’s in 2011

I’ve been working on A’s 2010 season wrapup/hot stove league preview for a few weeks and I have to admit that a major part of the preview was built around the A’s playing with the $20 million that’s about to come off the payroll.
Today’s A’s story in the Chronicle (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/27/SP621FKFK2.DTL) has thrown cold water all over my grand ideas for the A’s landing a couple of outstanding free agent hitters for the lineup.

In case you missed it, A’s owner Lew Wolff spewed the following gems:
“The fans feel we have all this money, but it’s for one year. We’ve tried that before.

“We do need some hitting. But we have some hitters maturing just like the pitchers have matured the past year. I don’t see a lot of moves. I don’t see the necessity of going out and getting someone for one year.”

On signing a free agent for several years: “We want to be careful with that. I like the fact we’ve tied up Suzuki and Brett Anderson, but you have to be careful you don’t risk the team on one person.”
 
“I’m sure Billy will come up with something.”
 
Not exactly inspiring words for any A’s fan to read and it’s a major reason why I’ll be heading back to the drawing board for my 2010 A’s wrapup which was built on a foundation of hope strengthened by free agent acquisitions heading into 2011.
 
The best thing I can do right now is crack open my Wolff To English Dictionary and do my best to decipher what the old man was really saying.
 
Here’s how I’ve decoded the message:
 
“Yes, we have a lot of money to spend but there’s no way in hell we’re going to spend it because I’d rather have a new ballpark in San Jose in several years than a winning team in Oakland now.  The main way to get to the South Bay is by crying poverty and whining about a lack of fan support in Oakland.
 
“If I shell out lots of money on free agent hitters this winter it’ll be obvious that we actually have the money to compete in Oakland.  On top of that, if we spent money to support our amazing young pitching staff we might end up being one of the best teams in baseball in 2011 which could attract a lot of excited fans to the Coliseum.
 
“How in the world can I convince my old frat boy pal Bud Selig that we have to move to San Jose to be competitive if I used the money we really have to build a winner in Oakland where we’ve actually drawn millions of fans in the past?
 
“We’re going to play it cheap, lose lots of ballgames and alienate fans in Oakland for as long as it takes to get the heck out of town and into a shiny new home in San Jose.”
 
That’s just my take on it, feel free to share yours in the comments.
 
Of course, Wolff’s comments don’t mean that the A’s won’t spend money this winter, they just won’t spend a lot.  Just business as usual. 
 
It looks like they’ll probably do just enough to keep the union off their backs like they did last season when they threw $10 million at Ben Sheets at around the same time the union started riding the Florida Marlins about their puny payroll.
 
The Marlins responded by signing Josh Johnson to a long-term contract and I suspect the A’s will take the same approach and open their wallets a little bit for players such as Trevor Cahill or Gio Gonzalez.
 
My guess is that they’ll contradict Wolff’s statement about avoiding one-year rentals and add one second- or third-tier hitter very late in the offseason once they have a better feel for how much money they need to spend to keep the union at bay.
 
They’ll spend just enough to stay out of hot water but nowhere enough to make the team a serious contender in 2011.
 
Thanks for the words of encouragement Mr. Wolff.



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It’s official: I now hate Sesame Street with a passion

No one gets between me and Katy Perry’s cleavage and gets away with it!

This morning I initially felt that the producers of Sesame Street kind of suck for pulling a Katy Perry segment from an upcoming episode because they caved in to a little uproar about her cleavage.

But now that I’ve had a couple of cups of coffee and all day to stew on the issue, forget “kind of.” 
They flat out suck for killing the Katy Perry segment.

A little bit of cleavage is a big deal?  

Dude, Burt and Ernie are a same-sex couple and you give’em a ton of air time.  And as a lot of people are pointing out today most of your characters don’t wear pants. 

Thanks a lot for firmly planting a knee in the crotches of dad across America.

I’m showing this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHROHJlU_Ng&feature=player_embedded to my son as often as possible on YouTube and I’m crossing my fingers that he gets addicted to it so I have an excuse to watch it over and over and over the way I watch Sesame Street every day.

Do the producers of Sesame Street have any idea who Katy Perry is or are their heads planted so firmly planted between their own butt cheeks that they’re totally clueless?  

Cheerfully and innocently showing a lot of skin while butchering mindless pop songs is her thing.  Did you expect her to show up in an oversized turtleneck and baggy sweats?

Morons.

Like every dad humoring his child while watching hour after hour after hour of mind-numbing episodes of Sesame Street, I deserve a few minutes of harmless, appealing cleavage on the show.

Katy Perry’s cleavage was going to be my Holy Grail of Sesame Street episodes and now it’s gone. 

To the makers of Sesame Street: You’re a bunch of clueless cowards living in an annoying, overly-cheerful fantasy land.

To the parents who complained to keep the segment off the air: Go rot you worthless, hyperconservative twits.

And now, for your viewing pleasure and to annoy the twisted, wretched, self-loathing, tightly-wound mothers who are probably to blame for killing the Katy Perry cleavage segment on Sesame Street, here are many delightful photos of Ms. Perry.

Choke on it.


Hitting mute and enjoying the scenery on Sesame Street

 
Sesame Street turns up the heat with this video which is unusually tasty for that show as long as you keep it on mute http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=72865&tsp=1

For some strange reason I enjoy looking at Katy Perry a lot more than I enjoy listening to her.

Imagine that.

* Damn you Evernote, damn you all to hell!

For some reason a handful of potential blog items I drafted in Evernote vanished this week.

That’s a lot of now-forgotten stupid thoughts I’ll never be able to share in this neglected little corner of cyberspace.

Admit it, your world feels a little emptier now that you know what you’re missing doesn’t it?

* A quick observation from the Stanford-Wake Forest football game last weekend:  Stanford’s black uniforms are horrible, just horrible.  Send them back to Nike and just stick to tradition guys.  

* I can already tell that this blog is going to start collecting dust again pretty soon.

My wife’s due date is just 12 weeks away and now that she’s entered her third trimester she’s really slowing down which means I need to pick up the pace around the house.

Carrying around a rapidly-growing human being in your belly can do that to a woman.

That adds up to more housework and less blogging for yours truly which is OK since I knew I was living on borrowed time.

Considering what happened when my son was born “less blogging” will probably stagnate into “no blogging” for quite a while once my daughter arrives.
 
I seriously doubt if that’s actually going to matter to anyone but if it does, don’t worry because I’ll probably pop back up in a month or two.

I tip my hat to all the mommy bloggers out there who find the time and effort to regularly publish posts while chasing kids around. 

 
How does a terrorist attack even enter your mind when the subject of bringing a military relic to town as a museum piece comes up at a meeting? 

* So strange, but so oddly amusing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X21mJh6j9i4&feature=player_embedded Follow Jimmy Kimmel on Twitter for fun stuff like this.

* I’m convinced that the next cast member for Sesame Street will be discovered working the morning shift at Starbucks.

I dropped by my local branch on the way to work one morning because as usual I was tired, cranky and dragging and needed a strong jolt of caffeine to shake off the cobwebs.

It’s unbelievable how cheerful the staff is at that place at the crack of dawn.

They’re so blissed out over absolutely nothing that they’d fit right in on Sesame Street where it’s apparently against the law to seen in public without a stupid grin on your face.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the show, but just once I’d love to see Chris snap at Elmo or Alan throw Abby out of his store in a fit of annoyed rage.

How could those characters not get on your nerves if you had to see them every single day on Sesame Street?

* One more example of how pathetic I am when it comes to weight loss: I’m too lazy to track my diet and fitness habits.

A few weeks ago I signed up for a free account at FitDay.com to track the foods I eat vs. the calories I burn.

At that point my effort to lose weight had already gone off the tracks but I thought I could at least do something easy like FitDay to learn something.

I barely kept at it for a week.

How absurd is that?

I’m sure that part of the reason I quit so quickly is because the site didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know.  I eat too much junk and I don’t exercise enough.
 
Duh.

There’s no need to spend 10 or 15 minutes a day updating a FitDay account to figure that out.

* To the dork I saw in Walnut Creek last weekend wearing a Michael Vick Eagles jersey: Stay classy you clown.

* In case you’re wondering, I am still making a tepid effort at learning to eat better by reading “Food Rules: An Eater’s Guide” by Michael Pollan.

If I was smart I’d read the book while jogging in place to at least burn a few calories but instead I’ve been flipping through it every night while lounging on the couch watching TV and drinking a gin and tonic.

Not exactly the recipe for successful weight loss is it?

So what’s my early impression of the book?  It looks like I can’t eat anything from the grocery store because everything is full of poison.
 
Great.

I don’t know if I’m a smarter eater after casually reading “Food Rules” for a couple of days but I am a lot more paranoid and a little depressed about everything I eat.

Thanks Mr. Pollan.

* BONSAI!!!

The video on this Web page is ridiculous … and totally hilarious: http://www.usa.philips.com/c/mens-grooming/18665/cat/

And for the record, the only reason I ended up finding it was because I was lured to the page by a vague ad with a hot chick in a bikini at Deadspin.com.

Don’t laugh, I’m being serious.  I swear haven’t pulled a Mr. Miyagi on my short hairs.

Worst. Day. Off. Ever.

 
I finally did it.

I played hookie from work for the first time in my life.

And you know what? It kinda sucked.

My wife insists that I’ve ditched work before but I don’t count the time I called in sick a couple of years ago when we discovered major water and mold damage at our house because I spent that day moving furniture out of the home office and into the garage.

Let’s face it, I’m the guy who refused to call in sick from a job I didn’t like several years ago so I could go in for a job interview with a great company.  

How do I know I missed out on working for a great company?  My wife got the job, that’s how I know.

With a boneheaded work ethic like that I’m positive that she’s wrong about me playing hookie before.

No, until this week I’d never taken a “mental health day” from school or work … which probably explains a lot.

So what did I do with my big day?

I got up around 6:30 in the morning, same as usual, so I could get my son to child care.  

Bad call.

Who starts off a fun day by getting up that early when they really don’t have to?  

After that I went to the doctor to get my flu shot and whooping cough vaccination.  

Another bad call.  

What a boring way to start a day off.  

To bastardize a line from “Better Off Dead,” going to a doctor when you’re not really sick is really sick.

I spent the rest of the day shopping, working in the yard, organizing the garage, doing laundry, cleaning the house and scooping our cat’s litter box.

Do I know how to party or what?

The historic day ended with an annoying late-evening trip to the hardware store to find screws for the dresser in the nursery.  

When your pregnant wife has red-hot nesting fever you do what you have to do.

As luck would have it, the screws I bought didn’t even fit.

A perfectly unsatisfying ending to a perfectly unsatisfying day.

Not exactly a re-enactement of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is it?

Maybe if they made a sequel this is what Ferris’ day off would look like if he matured into a boring middle-aged family man.

Now that I’m several days removed from my not-so-magical day off my back is killing me from all the work I did and my arm is aching like mad from the whooping cough vaccine.

Weeks before I took the day off I had grand visions for what a spur-of-the-moment day off from work would be like.

There would be lots a baseball, beer, junk food, cigars and movies.  And none of the action would start until I slept in a couple of hours.

But instead of living the dream I busted my butt all day.  

I would have had it easier if I had just gone to work.

Mental health days are overrated.  See you at the office.

The Toddler Death March, pregnant feet and Man Spas

Taking a break from baseball and wandering back to the usual scattershot approach …

* Since one day my son may read some of this stuff and I’ll eventually need him to take care of me when I’m a feeble old man I want to apologize right now because what I recently intended to be a nice trip to the park ended up becoming the Toddler Death March.
Usually a trip to the local park involves throwing my 16-month-old into his stroller or push car, cruising over to the playground and then running around for a while.
But on a Sunday afternoon I decided to give him a chance to make the several-block round trip by walking while holding onto my hand.
That worked just fine on our way to the swing and slide set.
But on the way back? Totally different story.
I’m pretty sure a loud bonk could be heard echoing through the neighborhood as he crumbled onto the grass just a few steps into our journey home and desperately clutched at my legs asking to be picked up.
It was like a stereotypical war movie where a gravely wounded soldier desperately doesn’t want to be left behind as everyone else runs for safety.
We made it home and he was nursed back to health by dinner, story time with a bottle of milk and a good night of sleep.
Sorry kid, dad had no idea walking a few blocks could be such an ordeal.
You must have felt like Clint Eastwood when he was forced to walk across the desert by Eli Wallace in “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPH0DGvU9Ng
* You are following TWGB, ETC. on Tumblr, right?
If you’re not, drop by http://twgbetc.tumblr.com/ for your weekday fix of totally random stuff.
And by “random” I mean “mostly stuff about baseball.”

* Damn my wife’s pregnant feet all to hell!

After she had our son her feet underwent some strange transformation and almost none of the shoes she owned fit her anymore.
I had to donate two or three large garbage bags full of shoes more than a year ago.  It was like I was married to a centipede.
Seriously, why does anyone need that many shoes?
Somewhere out there there’s a lucky Goodwill shopper with my wife’s former shoe size strutting around in cute looking shoes for next to nothing.
Well, now the pregnancy bug has bitten my wife’s feet again and they’re swelling up at a rapid pace.
They got a little wider after my son’s birth and they’re getting even wider now.
When I suggested she check out this Web site http://www.spearshoes.com/ for new shoes she was not exactly amused.
C’mon, suggesting your wife buy clown shoes is funny, right?
Right?
OK, maybe not.
I don’t remember a chapter about any of this in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”
When she broke the bad, expensive news to me part of my exasperated response was, “You’re Chinese, can’t you bind your feet and save us some money?”
That went over about as well as my earlier suggestion to buy clown shoes.
I may stick my foot in my mouth a lot but at least my shoe size hasn’t changed for more than a decade.
We have to save money somewhere.
* Story time every evening with my 16-month-old son has taught me something very important: I need to write a children’s book.
Almost every book we read to my son seems to have about 50 words spread out across a bunch of cute pictures.
People are making a living off these little pieces of literary fluff so why the heck am I plugging away at a regular job for 40 hours a week?
Stephen King is a damn fool cranking out books that are several hundred pages long at about the same rate that my son fills his diaper can.
There’s a gold mine in children’s books, I can just feel it.
* My wife, as always, amuses me to no end.
While recently lobbying for a prenatal massage at a local spa she pleaded her case by emphatically telling me that I have no idea what it’s like to carry around a big belly.
My response?
“What are you talking about?  Look at my gut! I’ve been carrying around a big belly since we met.  At least at the end of 9 months your big gut goes away and you have something amazing to show for it.”
Let’s face it, it’s not like I’ll ever go into labor and deliver the beer baby I’ve been carrying for more than a decade.
She won the debate and got her massage which left me wondering: Where’s a nice spa treatment tailored for lazy middle-aged guys like me with out-of-control beer guts?
We need pampering too you know.
I really think there’s big money to be made if someone takes a cheesy approach to this and opens up a chain of Man Spas.
How about massage therapists dressed like cheerleaders?  A massage chair with a flat screen TV underneath it and on the ceiling tuned in to ESPN?  A microbrew beer, gourmet steak sandwich and a fine cigar waiting for you after your massage?
I bet that if I opened a Man Spa it’d be like hitting the lottery.
I’d be hated by married women everywhere but I’d be set for life.

Yes, this is depressing to look at unless you’re a Rockies fan

A rare early-week post here at TWGB …

As you know my most recent post here was a look at hitters who were a part of the A’s organization before finding stardom elsewhere.

I followed that up with a post at Tumblr (http://twgbetc.tumblr.com/) to account for the fact that I let Nick Swisher slip through the cracks.

Since I’m a baseball nut I wandered over to ESPN today to look at some stats and when you call up the Colorado Rockies this (pictured above) is what you get.

Yeah that’s Carlos Gonzalez, former Athletic, leading the Rockies in … well …. EVERYTHING.

He’s also making a strong run at the Triple Crown.

In my most recent post I concluded in my usual In Beane We Trust fashion that trading CarGo to the Rockies can’t be subjected to a conclusive final analysis until we we see how Michael Taylor pans out for the A’s.

But a quick look at ESPN’s Rockies team page drives home the deflating fact that Taylor has to put up at least a couple of MVP-caliber seasons for the trade to at least look like a push for Oakland and I just don’t think that’s ever going to happen.

Please excuse me as I gently weep all over my keyboard during the rest of my lunch break.

I wish the A’s could develop some hitters — for Oakland

And now, for your reading pleasure, the most depressing thing I’ve ever worked up for this blog …
The season keeps rolling along for the Oakland A’s and even though they’re actually playing some pretty respectable baseball the offense is simply atrocious most of the time. 
The fact that there are a decent number of former A’s raking for other teams definitely seems to have a lot of fans/columnists/bloggers taking dead aim at general manager Billy Beane for somehow missing the boat on the long list of ones that got away.
Here’s a quick look and an off-the-cuff take on some guys who are thriving outside the dingy confines of the Oakland Coliseum.  
The common thread running through this post is that I am thoroughly drunk on green and gold Kool-Aid after sizing up this whole mess.
Andre Ethier — Traded to Dodgers in 2005 for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez.  
The game plan at the time seemed to be to sell high on Ethier in an win-now move for the A’s since Travis Buck was also in the picture as an outfield prospect. 
In return the A’s got an established outfield bat (Bradley) and a young offense-first backup infielder (Perez).
Bradley hit .276/.370/.447 in 96 games with 14 homers and 52 RBI in 2006 and Ethier hit .308/.365/.477 in 126 games with 11 homers and 55 RBI that season. 
Perez isn’t really worth going into but if you have to know he hit a Keith Ginter-like .102/.185/.204 in 57 games with a whopping 1 homer and 8 RBI.
Did the win-now move work for Oakland? Sure, you can’t argue with the overall results at the time.  
The A’s won the AL West and made it out of the first round of the playoffs for the only time in the Beane era before losing to the Tigers in the ALCS where Bradley provided the only offense for the A’s (.500/.500/.944 with 2 homers and 5 RBI).
Of course, now they’re losing and Ethier has been a young, cheap offensive force for the Dodgers.
You would think that after all that the A’s would make more of an effort to groom Buck into a successful big leaguer just to prove that they weren’t total idiots but instead the organization has locked him in the dog house for the most part.
And when he has gotten a chance to play he’s either been injured or unproductive.
The Travis Buck Stockton Ports bobblehead on my bookshelf looks a little more worthless every day.
Final call: Time to take a big swig of green and gold Kool-Aid here …
The A’s made it to the ALCS which means the win-now move technically worked so I can painfully live with this trade as long as I ignore Dodgers box scores for the next few years.
Carlos Gonzalez — Traded to Oakland from Arizona in 2007 with Brett Anderson, Chris Carter, Aaron Cunningham, Greg Smith and Dana Eveland for Dan Haren and Connor Robertson.  Gonzalez was then was traded in 2008 to Colorado with Huston Street and Greg Smith for Matt Holliday who was eventually traded to the Cardinals for Brett Wallace, Shane Peterson and Clayton Mortenson. Brett Wallace was traded in 2009 to the Blue Jays for Michael Taylor who is now one of Oakland’s top prospects and best hopes for a middle-of-the-order power hitter (let’s ignore the fact that he’s had a mediocre season for Sacramento).
In my book the A’s rushed Gonzalez to the bigs and soured on him way too soon but it’s not like they’re the only organization that missed the boat on CarGo considering that the D’backs whiffed too.

Then again, it doesn’t say much when the only way to give the A’s a break on this deal is to use the D’backs’ enormous stupidity as a defense.

Shipping Gonzalez to the Rockies can’t be fully judged until we see how Taylor and the other prospects acquired for Holliday pan out. 
If Taylor can mature into a player similar to Jermaine Dye and Mortenson and/or Peterson contribute in any notable way to a playoff-caliber A’s team in the near future then the deal won’t look so bad.
Don’t get me wrong, the deal will still look bad … just not quite as horrible as it looks right now.
The only thing I can point to that could indicate that Gonzalez would never have become an offensive juggernaut in Oakland are his home/splits with the Rockies.  This season he has out-of-this-world numbers at home vs. pedestrian stats at sea level and last season he hit .305/.361/.582 at Coors vs. .263/.344/.467 away from Denver. 
Even with all that in mind the trade looks embarrassingly bad for Oakland as Gonzalez tears up the National League as a five-tool stud.
Final call: Can’t make one until we see how the prospects acquired for CarGo pan out but I have all the faith in the world that Taylor and Co. are gonna be great.  
Mmmmm, that Kool-Aid is so cool and refreshing!
Nelson Cruz — Traded to Oakland from the Mets in 2000 for Jorge Velandia. Traded to Milwaukee in 2004 with Justin Lehr for Keith Ginter.
Hard to believe a guy who is killing the ball for Texas was traded for lightweight middle infielders like Velandia and Ginter.
When I started drafting this post I didn’t have a problem with Cruz being traded because I assumed he struggled in Oakland’s minor league system but a quick look at the Baseball Cube (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/C/nelson-cruz-1.shtml) shows he had a monster year before he was traded. 
Cruz hit 26 homers in 2005 with an OPS of .989, .919 and .824 at three minor league stops.
My guess is that Cruz’s 149 strikeouts against 51 walks in 2004 coming on the heels of a 116 strikeout/25 walk effort in 2003 had Oakland’s front office thinking that he had too many holes in his swing to cut it in the big leagues.
Combine that with the fact the Oakland was finally ready to make a strong run at the playoffs and they decided to cash in a minor league trade chip to add a backup player like Ginter who could conceivably contribute immediately to a contender.
Ginter was coming off a 19 home run season when he was traded to the A’s and at the time I thought that he looked like a nice addition to the bench.  Unfortunately he hit just .161 for Oakland in 2005 and ended up being a nice addition to the bench in Sacramento.
Once again the only way to cut Oakland a little slack in letting Cruz go on to hammer the ball for someone else is to say that the Mets and Brewers also screwed the pooch on this one.
It’s hard not to look at the numbers Cruz is putting up for the first-place Rangers and keep thinking, “Keith Ginter? Seriously, Keith F’ing Ginter?”
The more research I do for this blog the more my head hurts.
Final call: Keith. Ginter. Need I say more?
Carlos Pena — Traded to Tigers in 2002 with Franklyn German and Jeremy Bonderman for Ted Lilly, Jason Arnold and John-Ford Griffin.  Lilly was traded in 2003 to the Blue Jays for Bobby Kielty.  Griffin was traded to the Jays in 2003 for Jason Perry who was traded to the Tigers in 2007 for Jack Hanahan who was traded to the Mariners in 2009 for Justin Souza.
Whew, I need to catch my breath now.
Oakland got some good seasons out of Lilly while they were a contender and they got some useful at bats out of Kielty. 
The trade of Pena also yielded one warm body still toiling in the A’s minor league system (Souza).
Pena ended up drifting from the Tigers to the Yankees and Red Sox before finally finding a home in Tampa Bay where he’s been crushing the ball and striking out ever since.
Final call: Lilly and Kielty were valuable players on A’s playoff teams so I have no problem with Pena finding success elsewhere.
Bobby Crosby — Just kidding. 
He sucked in Oakland, he sucked in Pittsburgh and he recently got waived in Arizona.  
Just wanted to see if you’re still paying attention as I ramble along.
Marco Scutaro — Traded to the Blue Jays in 2007 for Graham Godfrey and Kristian Bell (aka a pile of magic beans).  
And who the hell is Graham Freakin’ Godfrey?
Scutaro is a sentimental favorite but I can understand Beane trading him when he was up for arbitration in the 2007 offseason.  What use did a rebuilding/payroll slashing team like the A’s have for a relatively expensive 30-something backup infielder?
Scutaro ran with the starting shortstop job in Toronto last season, hitting .282/.379/.409 with 100 runs scored, 12 homers, 60 RBI and 14 steals.  
Beane tried to lure Super Marco back to Oakland with a pile of cash when he was a free agent in the offseason which seems to shout to the baseball world, “We screwed up, please forgive us and come back!”  
Scutaro wisely chose to sign with Red Sox for big money and a legit shot at a World Series ring.  
Anyone who followed the A’s while Scutaro was on the roster has to be happy for the man.  Take some time to watch “A Player to be Named Later” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0450366/) and you’ll realize that he’s more than earned a shot at the big time.
Final call: Super Marco wins, the A’s lose and I couldn’t be any happier for him.  Scutaro got the last laugh and the A’s didn’t even get an interesting prospect out of the deal.
Brett Wallace — His path to Oakland and on to Toronto is documented in the item on Carlos Gonzalez.  Wallace was shipped to the Astros recently for Anthony Gose.
Wallace is settling in as Houston’s first baseman and hasn’t done much at the plate so far. 
Even if the big lug puts up monster numbers for the Astros over the next several years it’ll be hard to totally rip Beane considering that the Cardinals and Blue Jays have also felt comfortable trading the kid after getting a chance to get a good look at him.
Final call: I’m OK with Oakland trading Wallace but this is the second trade in this post that hinges on what kind of player Michael Taylor becomes.  No pressure kid. 
Ryan Ludwick — Traded to the Rangers in 2002 with Jason Hart, Gerald Laird and Mario Ramos for Carlos Pena and Mike Venafro.
Isn’t it amusing how muddled and intertwined all these moves become?
Gonzalez, Wallace and Taylor are all tied together and now we get to the Ludwick/Pena connection.
Ludwick bounced from Texas to Cleveland to St. Louis before finally establishing himself as a big league slugger.
He put up some nice numbers for the Cardinals and now he’s helping the Padres make a run at the NL West title.
Final call: Another deal I’m OK with.  Ludwick is a late bloomer who wouldn’t have contributed to the A’s contending teams back when he was traded.  He helped the A’s acquire Pena which led to the acquisitions of Lilly and Kielty and some exciting playoff runs in Oakland.
One more quick item to note when it comes to young sluggers with an Oakland connection thriving elsewhere, power hitting youngster Mike Stanton in Florida (No. 76 overall selection in the 2007 draft)  was drafted after Oakland selected Grant Desme (No. 74 in 2007).  
Desme ditched baseball to become a priest leaving the A’s with nothing while Stanton stayed on the pro athlete career path and will be crushing balls for the Marlins for the next several years.
Just another one that got away.
Would an outfield of Ethier, Gonzalez and Cruz with Ludwick off the bench look good right around now? How about Pena instead of punchless Daric Barton at first base? Would Wallace look good as a dirt-cheap, potentially high-upside DH in the place of Jack “Called Strike Three Looking” Cust?  Would it be nice to have Stanton in the outfield picture?
Yes on all counts.
Cranking out something for this blog is usually fun but this was actually pretty depressing the further I got along.
I don’t think I’ll ever do another blog like this one again.  
It just hurts too damn much.
Where’s that damn pitcher of Kool-Aid when I need it?