A's, Beane Embracing Newest Youth-Movement


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Committed: A's Billy Beane seemed committed to this newest "youth-movement" (Photo Credit: US Presswire/Jason O. Watson)

The A’s have been rebuilding since 2007, but throughout the last few years they’ve been inconsistent in their execution. General manager Billy Beane shocked pretty much everybody when he decided to trade for Matt Holliday in 2009. Oakland gave up their own young talent to get Holliday, and in a sense, disregarded their rebuilding status.

This offseason, though, Beane and the A’s seem determined to stick by this recent youth-movement. Trading young pitchers Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez is evidence of Beane’s renewed efforts to build a future contender.

The Cahill deal, which brought starting pitcher Jarrod Parker, outfielder Colin Cowgill, and reliever Ryan Cook to Oakland, was definitely a nice trade for the A’s. The Gonzalez deal, though, deserves a little more recognition.

Oakland sent the All-Star lefty Gonzalez to the Nationals and received four respectable prospects in return. The A’s got catcher Derek Norris, right-handers A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock, and lefty Tommy Milone. It might not be on the same level of the Dan Haren deal from ’07, but Oakland definitely scored big on this recent trade.

The deal helps replenish Oakland’s rotation, which is now Cahill and Gonzalez-less. Both Cole and Peacock could enter spring training as potential candidates to join Oakland’s starting rotation. The A’s also have the highly-touted Parker as an option for their young rotation.

The important thing about these deals is that it illustrates the A’s and Beane’s renewed commitment to the whole “youth-movement” that was started in 2007. It also sheds some light on the whole stadium situation. The A’s are obviously operating as if they’re expected to get the green-light for a new stadium in San Jose.

They’re preparing for the future and are trying to put together a core of young players that will be ready by the opening of a new stadium. The names they’ve assembled through the Cahill and Gonzalez deals are pretty good ones, but the coming years will be extremely important.

Developing these young players will be a very important process Oakland will have to execute over the next few years.

My three favorite young players acquired in both the Cahill and Gonzalez deals are as follows:

Jarrod Parker: Parker, a top prospect for the Arizona Diamondbacks, should find himself in the thick of things this spring training for the A’s. At 23-years old, Parker is viewed as having a pretty ceiling with the potential to be a solid number two starter. He joins an A’s team that has had the ability over the years to develop young pitchers and with the recent return of Curt Young, Parker should be in very good company. 

A.J. Cole: Cole, who was rumored to be a last-minute addition to the Gonzalez deal, is a player worth watching out for. At 19, Cole is still a few years away from making an impact on the big-league level, but the A’s definitely snatched up a pretty good arm with Cole. While still very young, Cole boasts good command of his pitches and has the potential, in my mind at least, to be a top of the rotation starter. He’s that good. Keep an eye on Cole. 

Derek Norris: Norris saw a decline in his numbers this season, but he was still a top catching prospect for the Nationals. Norris, 22, saw his stock value dip this year, but he should get a close look at with the Athletics. Oakland’s current catcher Kurt Suzuki hasn’t hit very well the past two years and has had trouble throwing out runners on base, so Oakland could go with another catcher at some point in the next few years. Norris, entered 2010 as Baseball America’s #38 prospect, but he fell to #72 before the 2011 season. He finished this past season with 20 HR and 46 RBIs with a .210/.367/.446 slash line. His batting average won’t impress anyone, but his power, plate discipline, and defensive abilities could help Norris in his quest to reach the majors. 

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Tags: A's A.J. Cole Brad Peacock Colin Cowgill Derek Norris Gio Gonzalez Gio Gonzalez Nationals Gio Gonzalez Trade MLB Nationals Oakland A's Oakland A's Rumors Oakland Athletics Ryan Cook Tommy Milone Trevor Cahill Washington Nationals Trade