The stage has been set, A’s fans. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the A’s are building for the future, with the team paving the way for yet another massive overhaul as seen with Friday’s trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Oakland sent their 2010 All-Star Trevor Cahill along with reliever Craig Breslow to the Diamondbacks in exchange for prized pitching prospect Jarrod Parker, righty Ryan Cook, and outfield Colin Cowgill on Friday. Oakland GM Billy Beane, who started a massive overhaul back in 2007, is seemingly interested in making his team younger than it already is.
Cahill, mind you, is only 23 years old. He was supposed to be one the future faces of this Oakland rotation, but that is no longer the case. With Cahill, who went 12-14 with a 4.16 ERA this year, now gone, it’s probably safe to assume that Beane will only continue to tear apart his pitching foundation as he seeks to replenish his farm-system via trade.
Oakland, with what I will call the Cahill-deal, gets a few solid players from Arizona. The biggest piece to the puzzle, though, remains pitching prospect Jarrod Parker.
Parker, the same age as Cahill, was regarded as being one of Arizona’s top prospects. He’s also considered to be on the cusp of major-league ready status. Parker, in addition to Cook and Cowgill, figures to help the A’s reach playoff contention status in the next few years.
The team, mired in a tough stadium situation, faces an uphill battle with Albert Pujols joining the AL West with the Angels, but Beane’s recent rebuild efforts figure to help the team in the long-term. The team awaits a stadium decision, something they expect to hear about during next month’s winter meetings, and having a playoff contender showcase a brand-new stadium would be the most ideal situation for the Athletics.
Now, for a quick rundown on what happened with Friday’s trade with the Diamondbacks:
Who They Got:
- Jarrod Parker: Parker, 23, is considered to be a potential top-of-the-rotation starter in the big leagues. While undergoing Tommy John Surgery that required him to miss the entire 2010 season, Parker’s abilities remain unquestioned. He was considered one of, if not the best, prospect in Arizona’s system. With Arizona’s Double-A affiliate this year, Parker went 11-8 with a 3.79 ERA. Without question, Parker, who was ranked as the No.33 top prospect by Baseball America in its pre-2011 rankings, was the gem of this deal for the A’s.
- Ryan Cook: Cook, 23, split time between Arizona’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates this season, posting a collective 2.21 ERA in 48 appearances combined between the two teams.
- Colin Cowgill: Cowgill, 25, appeared in 36 games with the D-backs this season, hitting .239/.300/.304 with one home run and 9 RBIs over 100 plate-appearances. In 98 games with Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate, Cowgill batted .354/.430/.554 with 13 HR and 70 RBIs. Depending on who you talk to, Cowgill likely qualifies as a solid outfielder. He’ll definitely get a chance to play with the A’s this season, especially since the team is set to lose Josh Willingham and Coco Crisp this winter.
- Trevor Cahill: Cahill, 23, was supposed to be a part of Oakland’s starting rotation for the years ahead. Unfortunately, mired in a tough economy and dire stadium situation, the A’s had to part ways with their young lefty Cahill. Cahill had a rough rookie season, but rebounded in his sophomore year, leading the A’s in wins (18) and ERA (2.97) in 2010. He didn’t fare too well this season, as his BABIP came back to more realistic numbers after posting an extremely lucky .236 mark in ’10. The number shot up to .306 this year. Still, Cahill managed to increase his strikeout rate this season, and remained effective, for the most part, in Oakland’s starting rotation. He’s signed through 2015, with team options for 2016 and 2017, so the Diamondbacks scored themselves a pretty decent starter in Cahill.
- Craig Breslow: Regarded as the “smartest” guy in baseball, Breslow didn’t have a tremendously good season for the A’s this year. Still, Breslow, 31, proved to be a very valuable presence in Oakland’s bullpen. He made 67 appearances this season, going 0-2 with a 3.79 ERA over 59.1 innings. The year before that, in 2010, Breslow went 4-4 with a 3.01 ERA in 75 appearances.