Things are not looking to good in Oakland right now. The A’s are trying to gain approval to build a new stadium in San Jose, but MLB and Bud Selig are apparently far too busy right now to deliver a decision that’s been nearly three years in the making. While the team waits around for a decision, rumors have been circulating around Oakland that seem to suggest that GM Billy Beane would be willing to listen to offers for all of his players not named Jemile Weeks.
That means the A’s would be willing to deal young players like Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Kurt Suzuki, among others. Beane, who hasn’t been afraid to test the trade market in the past, could move some of his young players this offseason with the hopes of making the A’s even younger. The A’s are in a very tough spot right now, and Beane’s offseason approach will be crucial for the franchise’s future success.
Oakland started a massive rebuild in 2007 that led to the departures of Dan Haren and Nick Swisher, and the team could be on the verge of undergoing yet another massive overhaul. The A’s haven’t been relevant in years, though, so another rebuild shouldn’t surprise what little fans the team has left.
The A’s failed to produce this year despite adding veteran players Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus to the mix. Willingham proved to be Beane’s biggest offseason pickup, but like all productive players that make stops in Oakland, Willingham will likely prove to be too expensive for the A’s this offseason. It’s rumored that these three players will likely play in different cities next year.
Furthermore, it’s expected that the A’s will lose their entire starting outfield corps, as Coco Crisp figures to leave Oakland this winter as well. Crisp, who stayed relatively healthy this year compared to his first year in Oakland, is thought to be a perfect fit with the San Francisco Giants.
The most interesting rumor, however, remains Beane’s willingness to listen to offers for some of his youngest, brightest, and most talented players.
Is Beane really all that eager to dismantle his current core of young pitching? Probably not. But times are tough, and the A’s can’t afford to tread water forever.
Beane’s done it before with Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder, so I wouldn’t be completely shocked if he pulls the trigger on a deal that sends half of his starting rotation elsewhere in the league. Sending a guy like Gonzalez, who is a young pitcher with rising stock value, could haul in a few prospects for Oakland’s ice-thin farm system. Editor of FanSided’s Tiger Blog, Motor City Bengals, John Verburg suggests that Gonzalez would be a prime trade target this winter for many clubs seeking strong starting pitching.
Beane has attempted this “youth movement” before in the past, but his current rebuild, which started in 2007, hasn’t exactly panned out. Beane has put together a strong group of young pitchers, but his ability to evaluate young hitters has been questionable. Despite going after hitters in the draft in recent years, the A’s could still benefit from acquiring a few young hitting prospects. The offense, in my mind, remains Oakland’s biggest area of focus.
Fans, however, are growing a bit tired of Beane’s tired formula of building a team up just to tear it down a few years later when it becomes too expensive to manage. Beane may have no other choice, as his team continues to rot away in o.Co Coliseum waiting for answer from MLB and Bud Selig regarding the team’s stadium situation.
Beane might have to unload the talent he’s got right now in order to build a winner that coincides with the opening of a new stadium. Assuming the A’s get approval for a new stadium, that is. If the A’s don’t get approval for the San Jose move, things could get much, much worse for Billy Beane and the A’s.
Suddenly, that once vacant position in Chicago seems all the more enticing.