When everyone's healthy - a thought experiment

By Jason Wojciechowski on May 11, 2007 at 1:54 PM

At some point, the A's are going to have some decisions to make regarding who to keep on the roster, who to play, etc., as people start to get healthy. The A's have Chris Snelling, Mark Kotsay, Bobby Kielty, Milton Bradley, Jack Cust, Nick Swisher, Danny Putnam, Travis Buck, and Shannon Stewart all able to play the outfield. Nick Swisher and Dan Johnson are both first basemen. Jack Cust and Mike Piazza are both DH's (in the sense that neither of them should be wearing gloves).

With every single one of these guys healthy, here's my ideal:

  • Mike Piazza catching
  • Jason Kendall cut
  • Jack Cust at DH
  • Dan Johnson at first
  • Nick Swisher in left
  • Milton Bradley in center
  • Chris Snelling in right
  • Shannon Stewart as PH
  • Mark Kotsay as defensive replacement
  • Bobby Kielty traded (I think he's out of options)
  • Danny Putnam in AA or AAA
  • Travis Buck in AAA

See how neatly that all works out? One problem: Mark Kotsay just got Pipped, and I don't think Bob Geren's about to do that to him, especially since the A's probably have to keep him around for another year (what's his trade value at his point?). The other problem: Mike Piazza catching, and Jason Kendall cut. That's a pipe dream, isn't it?

So more realistically:

  • Mike Piazza DHing
  • Dan Johnson at first
  • Nick Swisher in left
  • Mark Kotsay in center
  • Milton Bradley in right
  • Shannon Stewart as PH
  • Chris Snelling as PH
  • Jack Cust on bench, backing up in corner outfield spots, first, and DH
  • Todd Walker cut
  • Bobby Kielty cut
  • Danny Putnam in AA or AAA
  • Travis Buck in AAA

If the A's can dump Todd Walker, they'll open up a roster spot that can be used on a hitter, someone who can play when someone is hurt but not on the DL. I'm not sure how likely this is, though. Walker seems to be liked by the A's, for whatever reason, even though he apparently only plays first base and doesn't hit enough to carry it at this point. With Dan Johnson really raking and Nick Swisher probably the best backup first baseman in the league (unless Jason Giambi counts - and Swish plays better D), it's not clear why Todd Walker is necessary.

Of course, the other thing this exercise assumes is that everyone will be healthy all at once. That's unlikely to happen. With Travis Buck apparently ready to nurse sore wrists the entire year, Snelling and Bradley injury-prone, and Mark Kotsay potentially with a balky back (surgery or not), there's likely to be one or two guys at any given moment unavailable, which will lessen the crunch (and perhaps decrease the need to cut people).

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