The book on Michael Taylor says intelligence is one of his biggest strengths as a baseball player.
There was plenty of thought behind his response Wednesday when the newest member of the A's organization was asked whether he felt he was ready for the major leagues.
"You know, that's a tough question, because I think every player thinks they're ready," Taylor said on a media conference call. "I think you don't know until you're put in that situation and get enough at-bats at that level. I'd like the opportunity sooner rather than later."
His chance figures to come quickly.
The A's finalized the trade Wednesday that sent highly regarded third baseman Brett Wallace to Toronto for Taylor, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound outfielder whom the A's consider the total package as a prospect.
"We just think that not only is he a very good prospect and player now, he continues to get better each year," A's general manager Billy Beane said. "We think he's a potential monster talent."
Beane didn't rule out Taylor claiming a spot in the Opening-Day lineup, although he noted Taylor has just 30 Triple-A games under his belt.
Rajai Davis is the incumbent starter in center field, and Beane said Ryan Sweeney has a firm grasp in right. That means Taylor would have to win the starting job in left, where Scott Hairston sits atop the depth chart.
"We'll be open-minded going into the spring," Beane said. "It will be somewhat dependent on some of the other things we do."
Steve Compte, who represents free-agent outfielder Coco Crisp, said Wednesday that he's talked with the A's regarding Crisp, who is coming off surgery on both shoulders that sabotaged his 2009 season. San Diego reportedly is interested in Crisp as well.
Taylor, who played collegiately at Stanford, spent two-plus years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. The Phillies sent Taylor to Toronto as part of the package that netted pitcher Roy Halladay on Wednesday.
Taylor was ranked No. 23 on Baseball America's 2009 midseason list of top prospects (Wallace was 21st). ESPN's Tim Kurkjian reported that a scout told him Taylor was the best minor league player he saw last season.
But some wonder if Taylor, who turns 24 on Saturday, will hit for the power that his physique suggests he's capable of. He had 20 homers in 2009, split between Double-A and Triple-A, and hit 19 at Single-A in 2008.
He's batted .312 in 314 minor league games.
"I know one of the knocks on me is I'm not a 40- to 50-homer guy," said Taylor, who hits and throws right-handed. "But I do a little bit of everything. I can put the ball in play and get a run home, take the extra base or score on a ball when another guy might not. I do things that help the team win."
He's also overcome a fairly large obstacle — playing professional baseball while suffering from Type 1 diabetes.
"It's a daily thing. I check my blood sugar, give myself insulin for any kind of carbohydrate I take, and stay on top of it," Taylor said. "I try to stay away from complicated foods, and make sure when (the) game starts, I'm in my best condition to play."
With Wallace no longer an option at third, the A's are considering moving second-base prospect Adrian Cardenas to third on a full-time basis.
The A's also made a strong pitch for free-agent infielder Jamey Carroll, who agreed to a two-year $3.85 million deal with the Dodgers on Wednesday. Foxsports.com reported that the A's offered more money but that Carroll liked the idea of playing on a coaching staff with Joe Torre and Don Mattingly.