A's Mike Piazza, from catcher to designated hitter
Piazza would like to continue catching, but he's 38, so the move to DH is in his best interests. Frank Thomas parlayed the Oakland DH job into a two-year, $18 million deal with Toronto, so there's a financial incentive. Piazza also has 419 career homers and is still in terrific shape, so it's conceivable he could stick around long enough to make a run at 500.
Contrary to popular opinion, the shift to designated hitter entails more than just sitting around doing crossword puzzles and monitoring The Weather Channel.
"There's a learning curve as to how to keep your body alert during games," said Oakland assistant general manager David Forst.
Piazza has a .304 batting average in 191 career at-bats at DH, so he already has a clue how to go about it. Will he approach Thomas' 39 homers and 114 RBIs of a season ago? Probably not.
But as one scout observed, "If he hits 30, I wouldn't be surprised."
I would be surprised. I might even be shocked. A 38-year old changing positions and leagues still able to hit 30 HRs?