By Jason Wojciechowski on March 3, 2007 at 9:19 PM
This is sort of a classic Spring Training story. Mark Kotsay's back hurts and Milton Bradley says nice things about him. Marco Scutaro rips a homer. Joe Kennedy struggled in his first go as a starter. Jay Witasick may or may not have a mystery pitch called "The Sizzler."
The first bit, about Kotsay, is obviously the thing that should concern A's fans the most. Milton Bradley would move over to center if Kotsay can't go, and the defensive drop off would be little to nothing. Even offensively, I'm not sure that replacing Kotsay's spot in the lineup with Shannon Stewart or Bobby Kielty would be such a bad thing. But the defensive drop off in right field, where the A's would go from Bradley down to Stewart or Kielty or Nick Swisher, could be more precipitous. Stewart's basically been an average left fielder in his career, and the bar is lower on that side of the field.
Of course, that Kotsay is making, what, $8 million this year to probably play 80 games with a 90 OPS+ and average-at-best defense is a testament to how short-sighted the long-term deal the A's offered him (and he accepted) a few years back was. He does come off the books after this year, though, and I can't see him returning if he's commanding similar money as that he's been making the last few years.