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3/18/11: Hardly Surprising News for Rich Harden - The Aís brought Rich Harden back to Oakland in December, two-and-a-half years after dealing him to the Cubs, with the idea of giving him a shot at the fifth starterís role, but the oft-injured pitcher was eliminated from the competition without having thrown a single pitch. Harden suffered a lat strain in his back in mid-February and has yet to pitch in a spring game.
--RVZ

6/17/10: Geren Not So Good Outside of His Wheelhouse - Bob "Pitch it in his wheelhouse and he'll hit it far" Geren spent most of his five-year playing career in the American League and managed an American League club for all 553 of his games as a manager. Still, it is hard to believe that he had never heard of the double-switch before today. Geren used his closer Andrew Bailey to get out of an 8th-inning bases-loaded jam against the Cubs Bailey, who had only pitched two innings in the past 12 days, retired the two batters he faced, but because Geren failed to double-switch Bailey upon inserting him into the game, the closer was lifted for a pinch-hitter to begin the 9th.

The A's failed to score in the top off the inning, so the score was tied 2-2 when Jerry Blevins walked the first batter of the bottom of the ninth. After a sacrifice, Geren made his second mistake, which was to intentionally walk Koyie Hill - a career .218 hitter - to get to Ryan Theriot and the top of the Cubs lineup. Blevins continued to struggle with his command and walked Theriot before Kosuke Fukudome eeked a single past a drawn in infield to win the game.

Apparently, Geren not only has difficulty with the concept of the double-switch, but also the concept of not issuing free-passes to light-hitting backup catchers to bring the top of the lineup to the plate. Perhaps having been a light-hitting backup catcher himself, Geren was afraid that Blevins would pitch it into Hill's wheelhouse.

05/09/2010: Dallas Perfect in Oakland - Dallas Braden tossed the 19th perfect game in major league history Sunday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays. Braden needed just 109 pitches - including 77 strikes - to set down all 27 Rays hitters he faced in order. The final out of the game - Gabe Kapler - was the one who authored the long drive that DeWayne Wise caught in the ninth inning of last year's perfect game by Mark Buehrle. Kapler worked the count to 3-1 in the ninth before grounding out to shortstop and cobbled together a 12-pitch at-bat in the sixth that ended with a pop foul.

While the Rays may be reeling a bit from having perfect games thrown against them in consecutive seasons, the fact that they ended the game with the best record in baseball serves as some consolation.

03/20/2010: Hot Prospect Watch - Michael Taylor - Billy Beane sent Brett Wallace to Toronto in exchange for Michael Taylor less than five months after Wallace was the Athletics' key acquisition in the Matt Holliday trade. Standing at six-foot-six and 20 pounds, the strong-armed outfielder has speed, power, can hit for average, and is likely to play in Oakland by mid-summer. Sooner, perhaps, if the offense once again sputters out of the gate.   --RVZ

01/26/2010: A Harden Act to Follow? - Rich Harden made his major league debut with the Oakland A's in 2003. The A's went 493-407 (.548) from the beginning of 2003 through Harden's departure on July 8, 2008 including 58-31 (.652) in Harden's starts. Since then, Oakland has gone 101-132 (.433). Harden would seem to have almost as much impact on Oakland winning as the also oft-injured Kerry Wood has on the Cubs.

But Harden signed with the Rangers earlier in the offseason and Kerry Wood is under contract with Cleveland. If only there were another talented-yet-constantly-injured right-hander on the market that Oakland could add to return to their 90-win ways... oh that's right! Ben Sheets signed with the A's for a one-year, $10 million contract today even though he missed all of last year following elbow surgery and averaged 24 starts per season in the four years prior to that. He might be just what the A's need! .  --KG

03/03/2009: Not Much Left after the Left - Shortstop Orlando Cabrera has signed with Oakland to a one-year, $4 million contract. His backup, Bobby Crosby, will make $5.25 million this year. Cabrera is, at best, an average shortstop at this point in his career, yet could represent a large upgrade over Crosby, who hasnít played competently since his Rookie of the Year season in 2004. Third baseman Eric Chavez Ė who also hasnít been good since 2004 - makes $11 million this season, meaning that the low-budget Aís will spend over $20 million dollars on a left-side of the infield that still ranks as one of the worst in baseball.  --KG

12/16/08: Moneyball Is Dead - The A's have reportedly offered Rafael Furcal a 4-year, $40 M contract.  If that's true, then Billy Beane has officially lost it.  Furcal hasn't been an elite defensive player since 2005.  His bat is inconsistent and his plus-speed would be wasted in Beane's station-to-station offense.  The A's do need a shortstop, but Rafael furcal is not the answer for a small market club.  --KG



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