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Oakland A's

Players to Watch    Scouting Report | By the Numbers | Projected Roster

The X-Factor

Over the past two seasons, Kenny Rogers, a brittle sort, broke down under the pressure of constant Bronx jeers. The A's—whose motto is: We can't win, so don't sweat it—offer the perfect environment for him to regain his mound sanity after last year's 6-7, 5.65 ERA disaster. But if Rogers is seen moping after getting the hook five times by early June, that'll be a sure sign that he's still thinking too much, still getting rocked and only about six degrees from madness. If, however, the 33-year-old Rogers can regain the 17-win form of '95 ... look for him to be traded to any contender willing to part with a younger, and much cheaper, arm.

Off-Season Moves

What They Needed: Proven starting pitching. Power. A third starting outfielder. A backup catcher. Anybody with major league skills. Warm bodies until the kids are ready.

What They Got:Old guys. Questionable vets Kenny Rogers and Tom Candiotti step into the rotation. Rickey Henderson, back for the fourth time, will lead off and play left. Shane Mack has some power, and Mike Blowers and Kurt Abbott provide infield depth.

What it All Means:With the Athletics opting for a "scorched-earth" youth movement, the only vets allowed in town are inexpensive ones, which means this team is going nowhere—and is in no hurry to get there.

Scouting Report | By the Numbers | Players To Watch | Projected Roster

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