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Blog Entry

The A's are relevant, but can they contend?

Posted on: January 17, 2011 4:38 pm
 
The A's have made us take notice. The A's have improved.

Are the A's now good enough to think they could win the American League West?

"Great question," one rival club official said Monday. "That's exactly what I've been asking myself."

His answer: Almost, but not yet.

In fact, that's the same answer I got from a half-dozen scouts and other officials Monday. And that's the same answer I would have given myself.

By signing relievers Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes in the last three days -- after boosting their offense by adding David DeJesus, Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham earlier in the winter -- there's no doubt that the A's have made significant progress.

It's easy to like what they've done. I'm still not sure they've done enough, and I'm not alone.

"You still want to have a little more conviction that they'll score runs," the same official said. "As of now, I'd say they're good spoilers. I definitely think they should be taken seriously."

That's big progress, because despite their strong rotation, the A's lineup was so weak that no one really did take them seriously as contenders last year (even though they finished in second place, a game ahead of the Angels). It was hard to take them seriously, when they kept running out a lineup in which Kurt Suzuki (13 home runs, .669 OPS) was batting third.

The A's still don't have a single hitter who scares you. They'd be a lot easier to like if Chris Carter (31 home runs in Triple-A) had looked more big-league ready during his late-season audition (instead of striking out 21 times in 70 at-bats, with a .585 OPS). They'd be easier to like if you could be certain that Matsui isn't getting too old to be a force.

But the Giants won last year with a lineup that plenty of us laughed at, and the A's still have all that pitching that helped them lead the AL with a 3.56 ERA in 2010 -- with Balfour and Fuentes added to the bullpen.

They have so much pitching that one theory raised by an rival scout -- and close A's watcher -- is that general manager Billy Beane is readying to make a big move to trade for a hitter.

As of now, it doesn't appear that any such move is imminent. Maybe it's something that happens later, especially if Andrew Bailey proves that he's all the way back from offseason clean-up surgery on his right elbow, and if Joey Devine shows he's healthy, too.

Can the A's win?

I'm not convinced, but I am now willing to ask the question -- especially after a winter in which the AL West rival Angels have been so strangely inactive. In fact, half the people I asked about the A's on Monday responded in part by talking about the Angels -- and not in a good way.

There are still too many questions about the A's offense. There are still questions about how manager Bob Geren will do with an improved team that includes more veterans.

"They're going to be in a lot of games, because of their pitching," one scout said. "If they stay healthy, they'll play a lot of good games. But I don't see where they have enough offense to win."

Agreed.

The A's are improved. The A's are worth watching.

But true division contenders?

I'm still not convinced.
Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 6:36 am
 

The A's are relevant, but can they contend?




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 5:39 pm
 

The A's are relevant, but can they contend?

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 30, 2011 9:04 pm
 

The A's are relevant, but can they contend?

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 6:14 pm
 

The A's are relevant, but can they contend?

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:43 pm
 

The A's are relevant, but can they contend?




Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 6:19 pm
 

The A's are relevant, but can they contend?




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 1:55 pm
 

The A's are relevant, but can they contend?

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Tomly
Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 6:09 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Aug 2, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2011 2:54 pm
 

The A's are relevant, but can they contend?

They have the Best Bulpen by Far!!! If they could get a bat they could be Great!! But without a guy that can hit 35-40 HRS and 120 RBI
It will be Very hard to contend in the AL. They should grab Troy Glaus for some Pop. Just my opinion.



Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2011 12:18 pm
 

The A's are relevant, but can they contend?

Come on, Knobler, quote some real people. You are just making up these quotes without real names attached to them.

Still another example of invented journalism:


"They're going to be in a lot of games, because of their pitching," one scout said. "If they stay healthy, they'll play a lot of good games. But I don't see where they have enough offense to win."



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com