By Jason Wojciechowski on December 16, 2009 at 7:35 PM
Nico at Athletics Nation puts together a possible lineup for 2010 after the Michael Taylor trade. He assumes that Brandon Inge could be acquired in a trade involving Scott Hairston or Travis Buck, but I don't think that's necessary or even a good idea. Instead, here's what the lineup looks like to me, built from the parts that are already on the team.
C: Kurt Suzuki's the everyday guy and Landon Powell is a perfectly adequate backup.
1B: I'd give Daric Barton one last crack at the job. If he can't handle it, then Jake Fox will start getting a lot of time there, and Chris Carter can come up midseason, and Dallas McPherson can get a look as well.
2B: Mark Ellis
SS: Aaron Pennington
3B: Eric Chavez gets a chance first. If that doesn't work out, that's what Dallas McPherson was signed for. And then beyond that, you've got Jake Fox. Worst comes to worst, there's Aaron Miles.
LF: If he's ready, Michael Taylor. If he's not, Scott Hairston.
CF: This is the part that won't happen, but Ryan Sweeney should play here. His defensive numbers, both in right and center, are off the charts per UZR. And his bat, while still not stellar, may be slightly above-average in center. Anyway, Sweeney would only play center if Taylor is in left. If Hairston is in left, then Rajai Davis enters the lineup, and he'll play center, pushing Sweeney to right. But if Taylor is in left, then Hairston would go to:
RF: Scott Hairston. Look, Rajai Davis is not a starting outfielder. He had a batting-average-driven career year with the bat, and his defensive numbers shot up as well. I think both will regress. His defense won't regress to the point where he's not a plus outfielder, but I think carrying his bat will be very difficult to justify. Thus, Rajai takes his old spot as an injury replacement and late-innings pinch-runner (for Barton, Fox, Chavez, or Powell), and on defense, he can come in and play center, pushing Sweeney to right and Hairston to left. (Unless Michael Taylor is a defensive stud, in which case Hairston gets to be the one taking a seat.) That's a stellar defensive outfield, the kind that could allow Billy Beane to have a few guys in his bullpen that give up some fly balls now and again, especially in Oakland, where those fly balls just don't leave the yard.
DH: In an ideal world, where Barton and Chavez are healthy and productive, this spot belongs to Jake Fox. In the non-ideal world the A's are sure to live in, the spot will get rotated around with Fox, Carter, Chavez, McPherson, Travis Buck, Tommy Everidge, and Hairston all getting time. As long as Aaron Miles is never the DH, the A's will be ok.