Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

A's All Set to Defend Their Title

The A’s won the West last season in convincing fashion only to suffer another heartbreaking loss in the playoffs.

Fans have to remember that the 2003 A’s played great baseball from August through September winning games with outstanding starting pitching, great infield defense, a sturdy three man bullpen, and some timely hitting.

So, after the moves this weekend has anything changed appreciably that would make one doubt that the A’s can win the West again?

Not really.

Click below for more!I don’t care how many players the Yankees or the Red Sox add, they still will have trouble beating the A’s big three of Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, and Barry Zito during the season. Frankly speaking, Mark Redman will be less of a mystery when he pitches than Ted Lilly was and Rich Harden will blossom as a 97 mph pitcher in the fifth spot.

You give me one reason why the A’s won’t roll through the American League with a rotation like that? They have done it for four years running and no one has caught up with the big three yet.

Sure, Seattle won 116 games in an historic season, but other than that year the A’s simply crush the opposition once the peaches are on the trees and the sun is high in the sky.

Ted Lilly for Bobby Kielty and Mark Redman. I’ll take it.

Terrence Long and Ramon Hernandez for Mark Kotsay and Damian Miller?

It will work out if Kotsay is healthy and Miller just catches the way he can.

Miller is a mediocre hitter whose desire is sometimes questioned, but all he has to do is show up and catch the best starting staff in the majors.

Keith Foulke for Arthur Rhodes, Chris Hammond and possibly one more righty who will emerge before the team breaks camp.

This one will be more problematic since Rhodes wasn’t successful in his one chance closing for Seattle.

Chad Bradford will emerge to be a key player in the bullpen and the closer by committee will be the soup du jour by midseason.

Ricardo Rincon will need to get off to a good start and come into camp in top shape ready to go.

What I like most about the moves is the age of the palyers brought in. The clubhouse has lacked good players above the age of 28 for some time, these new players are the right age to give veteran leadership.

Infield defense is still strong with Mark Ellis and Eric Chavez. Rookie shortstops on pennant winning teams are hard to find (Walt Weiss was one). Bobby Crosby will hit ninth and hopefully not kill the team in the field.

The Mariners look the same. Strong pitching with a better bullpen, same old hitting that will fall apart in August.

The Angels are still in transition, with Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar they have two throwers, not crafty pitchers, again they will have to rely on a dynamite bullpen and some over the hill hitting to get it done.

The A’s didn’t hit last year and won the West. This year’s offense may not be much better, but who cares, if the pitchers hold up it won’t matter.

By the way, are the Giants still in the Bay Area?

They haven’t been in the paper since signing Michael Tucker. Big Deal!

The 162 game marathon is what you have to focus on right now, the playoffs are over and it’s time to begin anew.

The A’s did a good job ensuring their fans will have a very enjoyable summer.

Now. Lets enjoy the A Rod circus for a few more days.

Only one team can win the East and I’m willing to bet right now that the loser won’t be in the playoffs.

See you in a few days.


1 Anonymous { 12.22.03 at 1:05 pm }

This team is “growing on me” as I see it become 99% complete.

Their are 2 main reasons:
1) The big three in the rotation.
2) In looking at the make-up of offense & defense the term “grinders” comes to mind.

How about Schott authorizing a slight salary increase! -most teams are heading in the opposite direction!

I am going to miss Ramon… but Miller is certainly capable in receiving behind the plate. More than that I’m looking for the development of Melhuse. If he can be consistent during the season with what he showed in the post-season we may quickly forget Ramon!

I like Kielty and Kotsay in the outfield.

I see Beane calling Chavez and Dye to “put up!” in 2004.
Its time they both deliver on their potential.

I’m going to miss Tejada… but am looking forward to seeing Bobby Crosby develop. Crosby brings pedigree and accolades with him up from the minors… if he can fulfill on the potential we should be quite happy (although I’m prepared for 2004 to be a development year).

I agree with Marty… this should be a fun team to watch.

-C. Pyle

2 Anonymous { 12.23.03 at 3:26 am }

Hi Marty,
Love the new site. It looks great Great color choice and design.
I’m sure Rhodes will provide plenty of excitement to A’s fans this season until he settles down in the closer role. I don’t see anyone else being as effective as him. Bradford could probably do a pretty good job as a closer. He is needed for the situational role, though. Course, maybe Mike Wood can provide some help. His sinker can be filthy and he can play the role of groundball pitcher. Maybe that could allow Bradford some opportunities to close. I don’t think the A’s are planning on using Wood in that fashion, though.
The A’s hitting can’t get any worse. Kielty and Kotsay will noticeably provide more production. I expect good at-bats from them on a regular basis. The production from the infield will be down, of course, with the departure of Tejada. Now if only Beane would come to his senses and get a bona fide firstbaseman, then the A’s really could be looking good. Travis Lee at first would be a great addition. Looks like we will have to wait at least a year till Beane makes a move at first, however. I expect a lot of errors by Crosby. The high number of balls he throws in the dirt will reveal to A’s fans and the brass how mediocore Hatterberg is at first defensively. He doesn’t scoop balls that well. Can’t wait for the season to get started.

3 marty { 12.23.03 at 11:51 am }

I appreciate the comments. Texas is now in a corner on the A Rod trade. There is no way they can bring him back, heck, he is even hanging out around New England (and Miami) waiting for the deal to go down. Boston can wait Texas out no matter what. Nomar is signed for next year and will be playing for a new contract. Manny is oblivious to the hoopala surrounding his status. Scott Williamson is alive and well and Boston should hold on to him anyway, so no rush for the Sox. Texas on the other hand wants to sign Sidney Ponson, wants Dan Wright from the White Sox, and needs other second line pitching which they claim they won’t sign until A Rod is gone. One pitcher who hasn’t gotten a lot of play is Julian Tavarez who I thought was outstanding in relief for the Pirates the second half of the season. He is erratic as a person, but his slider broke more than any other reliever. Yankees should seriously consider Travis Lee to back up Giambi, what a glove Lee is. Anyone notice Olmedo Saenz signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers? The Dodger sale is moving along, Frank McCourt has loans from everyone including the concessionaire for Dodger Stadium, he is a highly leveraged businessman and this usually makes MLB nervous. On the other hand Art Moreno who bought the Angels owns about a million acres of Arizona real estate in Goodyear Arizona and guess where he is moving the Angels spring training home: that’s right Goodyear and he is building a community there too. Sounds like Del Webb who built the Yankees and most of what we know as the Phoenix area today. The Angels aren’t hurting for money and must be watched. I’m surprised they are jerking Rafael Palmiero around and thinking of Eric Karros as a platoon first baseman with Robert Fick. Rich Aurilia also is caught in the A Rod watch too, maybe Boston or Seattle, but I think Colorado will win out in the end. Aurilia need all the help he can get for his offensive numbers. What is Vlad G. waiting for? Can the Marlins really get into this? One scout told me the Giants may be in the Guerrero picture even though they deny any interest in him. Watch minor league righty Justin Lehr for the A’s, Curt Young new pitching coach gives him high marks. Angels will move either Jarrod Washburn or Ramon Ortiz, they don’t care for the makeup of either one. Ben Grieve in Milwaukee, the end is near. Kenny Rogers and Rick Reed are still out there.
See you tomorrow,

4 Anonymous { 12.24.03 at 2:21 pm }


On KNBR Ted Robinson pointed out that player movements of this year are transferring a large talent base from the National League to the American League. This will be increased if Guerrero and Rodriguez both end up on AL clubs. This kind of analysis is characteristic of Ted, just a great baseball personality.

He also pointed out that recent architectural changes in National League home stadiums are creating a dramatic change in the pitching strengths which the NL has traditionally maintained over the AL. Colorado, Houston, Cincinnatti, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and possibly San Diego and Philadelphia, are all becoming more hitting friendly venues. At the same time Detroit, Kansas City, Seattle, Chicago and others are much more “pitching friendly” ballparks.

As far as the moves made by the Oakland A’s, no one should shrug off losing absolute blue chip players like Tejada and Foulke, and very good young MLB talent like Guillen, Hernandez, Lilly –even T Long —just saying that the staff Big Five is strong, that Miller/Melhuse is the answer at catcher, that Redman is an upgrade over Lilly, that Curt Young will level out the loss of Peterson, and most of all, that Kotsay can play 135 plus games without injury, and that Kielty can step up and become a solid AL starting outfielder–wow –this is a huge hope as well as a baseball unknown at present. And it is crazy for anyone to assume that Rhodes can give what Foulke gave last year, or that a rookie SS can provide the level of play and inspirational leadership of an unquestioned MVP like Miguel Tejada. It will be much more painful seeing Miguel in a road uniform than it was that April night when Jason came in to the Coliseum wearing grays. For the A’s the Jermaine Dye thing just has to work out, there is no longer a margin for this percentage of the salary base to be under productive.

Its hard to know what is happening with Seatlle, they needed Matsui or Tejada and came away short –no pun intended–Moyer will be very old next year, and teams have caught up to Freddy Garcia and Meche. Their bullpen is nowhere what it was, and except for maybe Bloomquist, they show no new young talent. Going for Vizquel seemed like a desperate act.

Texas is in a terrible mess over the Alex situation, it is paralyzing Hart’s ability to put together a team, which has a solid young 8 man lineup but Triple A (at best) pitching and no bull pen.

And the Angels? maybe, they have giant young talents in the pitching staff, will probably move Washburn, Ortiz, and Percival for position players —and they have very wealthy and motivated new ownership who is integrating his baseball team with real estate and other business goals — seems like a smart guy if he allows baseball people to run the team.

lots to talk about over the next few months –only seven weeeks until pitcher / catcher camps start stirring

Thanks for this great board — have a fine and well deserved holiday season –hope to see and hear much of you on next season’s local coverage of the A’s and the Giants.

5 marty { 12.27.03 at 10:11 am }

Here’s a suggsetion from Bruce that is worth remembering:


No, I haven’t been dipping into the holiday eggnog, but I was just wondering:

If the AROD to Boston deal is truly dead, I wonder if Mr. Hicks might pick up the phone and call Mr. Steinbrenner? Even if the deal isn’t consumated this winter, what’s to say it might not happen either during the season or next winter? You know George will really be on the warpath if his Yankees are trailing the Red Sox by a wide margin come All-Star time.

Getting either AROD or the significant Yankee parties to agree to shift positions, at least for the remainder of 2004, won’t be that difficult. The real trick will be making a match. It will be tough for the prospect bare Yankees to find a blue-chip, reasonably priced everyday player and, most importantly, a quality, inexpensive pitcher to ship to Texas. I imagine the Rangerswill be trying to find someone on their staff who has an ERA under 4.50 in 2004.

Anyway, just a thought.

Happy holidaze,

6 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

7 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

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