Oakland A's fans everywhere should be forgiven for the fit they threw on December 18, 2004. Just two days after trading Tim Hudson to Atlanta for three guys we'd never heard of, the A's traded Mark Mulder to St. Louis for two other guys we'd never heard of, plus Kiko Calero. It was a dark day. Night. Whatever.

Most of us have calmed down, but on Hegenberger Rd. it's a brave new world for 2005. Pitchers (minus Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder) and catchers reported last week,and conventional wisdom picks the A's, who finished one (winnable) game behind Anaheim in 2004, to finish last in the AL West. Conventional wisdom sucks, though, so let's take a look at Billy Beane's One Crazy Green and Gold Winter and see what to expect in 2005.

We won't miss Mark Redman, Arthur Rhodes, Jim Mecir, Chris Hammond, and Damian Miller. SFist does have a soft spot for Vacaville's own Jermaine Dye, who had 59 RBI in 61 games with the A's in 2001, but in 2004 he played like it was company-picnic softball and he was drunk. So far, so good.

We will miss Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson, who are great. Mulder makes good hitters look bad; Hudson makes them look worse. Eric Chavez called Hudson the heart and soul of the A's; Billy Beane compared him to Dave Stewart. Neither pitcher is exactly coming off a career year, but this space will not claim that trading them was savvy, or that it removed an albatross from around anyone's neck.

But here's what the A's added (rage... subsiding...):