By Jason Wojciechowski on May 9, 2005 at 8:16 PM
Blez at Athletics Nation is willing to trade Erubiel Durazo and Dan Johnson and Eric Byrnes for him.
Blez at Athletics Nation has lost his mind.
Sure, Sweeney is a slugging first baseman and Scott Hatteberg isn't. But if Durazo were traded for Sweeney, that wouldn't fill a hole in Oakland's lineup. Durazo's translated slugging percentage last year was .536. His PECOTA mean projection for this year is .481. The same figures for Sweeney are .509 and .479. So that's no upgrade, in other words. Durazo even had a superior OBP last year and it wasn't all batting average. Yes, his walk rate decreased, but if you're getting more balls to hit, you're going to hit them.
Blez does note that Sweeney is an injury risk. Problem is, he understates the case. Sweeney isn't an injury risk. Sweeney is an injury certainty. He has a chronic back problem. That's not going to get better with a move to the great salt air of Oakland.
As I said in my last post, the answer isn't Reggie Sanders or Mike Sweeney, particularly if it's going to cost the A's essentially equal (or better) players than they're actually getting. The answer is (and Klutts said this in his comment on my last post) to get Johnson up to the bigs and push Hatteberg to the bench. Whether that's done by exchanging Thomas or, more likely with Swisher hurt now, Jermaine Clark, doesn't really matter. What matters is getting Hatteberg on the bench, where his bat is actually a weapon as it represents an improvement over banjo-hitting middle-infield types.
Remember: Eric Byrnes, though streaky, isn't the problem. Erubiel Durazo, though infuriatingly not what we expected of a White Whale, is not the problem. Eric Chavez, nasty facial hair and all, is not the problem.
The problem is the unwillingness to get a sacred cow or two out of the lineup. Whether that falls on Ken Macha, Billy Beane, or elsewhere in the organization is impossible to say, but someone needs to figure something out around the Oakland offices before this ugly season gets any uglier.