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Garciaparra's Decision: Oakland or Retirement

It might seem like an odd set of choices, but those are essentially the two options facing former All-Star Nomar Garciaparra. After an offseason in which his name has been connected with the Phillies, A's and others -- but always in a bench role -- Garciaparra is trying to decide between hanging up his cleats and coming back on a one-year deal with Oakland.

But here's the bigger question: Why not give the A's a try? We've watched all offseason as Oakland GM Billy Beane has added talent throughout the offense, and there's no reason to believe that Garciaparra couldn't break through and steal a starting spot as the season rolls along, should his performance dictate it. Garciaparra has the versatility that Beane craves, giving Oakland injury insurance throughout the infield.

Yet, in a larger way, Garciaparra's decision may touch on one of the hardest decisions a player can make: Whether to continue past his prime, or call it a day coming off a season with good performance in cameos because of continued injury problems. Garciaparra has made plenty of money -- adding up all his contracts gets you a total north of $77 million -- and his wife, former soccer star and Nike starlet Mia Hamm, has made even more. He has twin daughters who are less than a year old, and the couple is comfortably settled in Southern California.

So, is Garciaparra willing to accept a lesser role for a team that would have to overachieve to content for an AL title? The guess here is that he won't, but we've all seen how hard it is for formerly great players to walk away from the game when they still feel they can contribute. What do people think? Will we see Garciaparra in green, or just on ESPN Classic this year?

By Cameron Smith  |  February 27, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Athletics  
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Cameron -

I disagree the A's have to overachieve to win the division. I think they've added enough and the Angels have lost enough that they're pretty close to even.

Posted by: adampschroeder | February 27, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

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