Blog Entry

Up and Adam

Posted on: May 26, 2009 6:21 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2009 7:26 pm

A's Kennedy Provides Offense With Spark

Having scored the fewest runs and having the lowest OPS of any American League team in 2008, Billy Beane's offseason goal for 2009 was simple ---The offense had to get better. So Beane started on his quest by trading for outfielder Matt Holliday, signing Jason Giambi to come back and play first base, and getting himself a top of the order middle infielder in Orlando Cabrera.

That alone should have been enough to get the A's offense out of the American League cellar for scoring runs, right? I mean, after all, Holliday was coming off of three All-Star seasons in Colorado, Giambi was coming off of a season in which he hit 32 homers and over 90 runs batted in for the Yankees, and Cabrera hit .281 last year, a batting average higher than all but one A's regular in 2008.

Overall, the team isn't doing a whole lot better with the moves, only moving up three spots in run production and still sitting dead last in OPS, but it is getting better. In the month of May alone, the A's have already hit 23 home runs and considering they hit 9 all of April, it's a definite sign that the offense is going the right way.

And despite the news that Eric Chavez's career may be a sneeze away from retiring and that Mark Ellis is expected to miss a lot of time this season, the team continues to have confidence in its offensive abilities. The acquisition of Adam Kennedy from Tampa Bay on May 8th has paid huge dividends for the team. Through 15 games, Kennedy is off to a torrid start hitting .441 with 2 home runs, 13 RBI's, 6 doubles, and 3 steals to start off his career as an Athletic.

Meanwhile, teams such as the Cardinals and Rays have to wonder whether or not they made the right decision letting him walk.

In November of 2006, the Cardinals signed Kennedy to a 3 year/10 million dollar contract to play for them. However, after Kennedy became frustrated with his lack of playing time a season ago, the Cardinals released him in February of this year, eating the $4 million dollars that Kennedy had remaining on his contract. A week later, Kennedy signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and was invited to camp, but did not make the roster. At AAA Durham, Kennedy was .280/.366/.439 in 23 games and was dealt to the A's for a player to be named later (infielder Joe Dillon) and immediately became the A's starting second basemen.

For Kennedy, he knew his opportunity would come this year with some team.

"I'm just trying to fit in, you know?" said Kennedy. "I knew I'd be back [in the majors]. I was just down there grinding away. It's not fun, but you can't not stay ready."

Truer words couldn't have been spoken. That is the kind of leadership the A's were expecting to come from Holliday and Giambi.

"What a spark plug he's been," said A's 3rd basemen Jack Hannahan. "He's kind of a lead-by-example-type guy, but at the same time, he'll talk to you about where to play guys. He's a good addition to the team."

Kennedy is expected to remain the A's starting second basemen until Mark Ellis comes back from the disabled list on June 28th. At that point, manager Bob Geren has hinted at the possibility of moving Kennedy to third base, in place of the injured Eric Chavez.

The A's are currently 17-25 and set to play divisional series this week against the Seattle Mariners and the division leading Texas Rangers.

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Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 26, 2009 11:02 pm

Up and Adam

By the way; speaking of Tampa; anyone wondering how the heck ex-Athletic Carlos Pena is leading the AL in homeruns? What is that all about? Pena was always a power hitter, so this doesn't come as too much of a surprise to me. If you remember, he hit 27 bombs in a season as a 26 year old when he was on Detroit, but they just gave up on him, as did the Red Sox. He also had 46 homers just two years ago. Now, at age 31, Pena is in his prime so this should be expected. At least Oakland was able to get Ted Lilly back in return when they traded him.

Since: Aug 12, 2008
Posted on: May 26, 2009 8:57 pm

Up and Adam

I am glad to see someone on the Athletics' dismal offense do something optimistic. Mark Ellis is a fine second baseman and deserves to play the position based on his glove alone. When Ellis gets back and IF Adam Kennedy continues what he's doing, you got a log-jam at second base. Problem? Not at all! Move Crosby, Hannahan or whomever off of 3B and get Kennedy reps on the corner. The A's should have one of the best defensive squads in the league, especially around the horn.

Considering they lack the offensive firepower like last year, the Athletics Nation needs something to be happy about. Good for Kennedy. He kept his head up in Tampa and now can start every day.

By the way; speaking of Tampa; anyone wondering how the heck ex-Athletic Carlos Pena is leading the AL in homeruns? What is that all about?

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 26, 2009 6:44 pm

Up and Adam

If I remember correctly, you weren't a fan of the AK acquisition when it happened, right BP? I wasn't a fan of it. In fact, if I remember correctly, I said I "hated" this deal....Now, Billy Beane is just making me look like an idiot. lol. There is no way that Adam Kennedy can keep this production up. What he has been doing is absolutely ridiculous. However, he has been exactly what this team needed and hopefully his performance will inspire others to perform better as well or keep the A's offense going until Holliday and Giambi get hot.

I guess at first when I didn't like it, I was thinking more long term. How could a player in his thirties that is basically playing for a contract for next season help us out at all. Why wouldn't the A's just stick with Eric Patterson, Gregorio Petit, or Cliff Pennington and see if they can develop rather than looking outside of the organization for an answer.

Since: May 10, 2007
Posted on: May 26, 2009 6:37 pm

Up and Adam

If I remember correctly, you weren't a fan of the AK acquisition when it happened, right BP? Kennedy does nothing spectacular, but he's still a solid Major Leaguer, who can handle the bat to a .270-.280 average and though he's probably lost a step or three, still plays an adequate second base. He's also a solid guy in the clubhouse and he and OC should be pretty familiar with each other given their time in Anaheim. Nice pickup by Billy Beane.

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