A's going young in 2010

It looks like a fairly boring winter for the A's, at least if you believe Billy Beane ...

    In other words, he's staying the course that he set a couple of winters ago before appearing to veer a bit off last offseason with the acquisitions of veteran stars Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra.

    Beane, now more than ever, is committed to going young. If he doesn't think a current need -- third base, first base, shortstop and left field are unsettled -- can be filled by a prospect from within the organization, he'll be looking to acquire such players via trade.

    Those players, he suggested, would have to be up-and-comers. He seems to have little to no interest in down-siders such as Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Tejada and Carlos Delgado.


    "We're going to look at young players to fill spots, first and foremost," Beane said. "If those players we'd like to acquire aren't obtainable, we'll consider bringing in guys who can hold the positions down. We're going to stay disciplined and try to do everything we can to fill those spots with young players."

    Ideally, top prospects such as third baseman Brett Wallace and first baseman/outfielder Chris Carter will quickly blossom into the positional equivalent of Bailey.

Beane's problem isn't that he's got holes to fill. Wallace and Carter are both legitimate prospects, even if both might eventually wind up at the wrong end of the defensive spectrum. But the A's might be able to field decent players at every position by the middle of next summer, particularly if Daric Barton's September was more than a mirage.

That's the problem, though. Everybody's just decent. Is there going to be a single star in the lineup next season? Sure, Wallace and Carter both have potential, but both also have limitations and they're likely to be exposed as rookies. And without any stars, the A's will be like the Angels without Chone Figgins and Kendry Morales and Torii Hunter and Erick Aybar.

Every year I pick the A's, and every year they finish well behind the Angels.

Well, not in 2010. Not this time.

Now, about 2011 ...