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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One thought on “The grinch who stole my hopes for the A’s in 2011

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Wolff wants to keep the team uninteresting and marginally successful so he can convince Bud Selig that he can’t make a go of it in Oakland. He has done everything in his power to give the A’s fans the perverbial finger. I sent him a two-page carefully-thought-out letter last winter about inexpensive ways to make the Coliseum more fan friendly, and he didn’t bother to respond. That was it for me.
    And don’t get me started on Bob Geren.
    So I agree with your comments, and look forward to reading your blog in the future.,

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