The Oakland A's seem to be everyone's favorite whipping boys these days. What have you done for me lately, Billy Beane?
After averaging 95 wins from 2000 through 2006 and making five playoff appearances, the A's have settled into a numbing consistency: 76, 75, 75, 81 and 74 wins. Not good enough to win, not bad enough to get premium selections in the draft.
Beane made three big splashes this offseason, trading Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill for prospects and then signing Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. That's left the A's with a rotation of Brandon McCarthy and ... well, you can probably slot rookies Jarrod Parker and Brad Peacock, maybe Bartolo Colon, maybe Tom Milone, maybe Tyson Ross, maybe Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson if they get healthy. You get the idea.
The offense has already lost third baseman Scott Sizemore to a season-ending torn ACL. Otherwise ... well, it can't get much worse considering second baseman Jemile Weeks was the only player to hit above .265 -- and that includes the five at-bat guys.
Enough picking on the A's. I don't think they'll be as bad as everyone thinks -- I heard one national radio host suggest 110 losses. But they won't lose 100. Their over/under is 73 wins.