Earlier this afternoon the announcement was made by the Washington Nationals that they had acquired Oakland Athletics left hander Ian Krol as the player to be named to complete the three-way deal that sent John Jaso to the Athletics, Michael Morse back to the Seattle Mariners, and prospect A.J. Cole back to the Nationals. This makes the price tag for Jaso just a bit higher as Cole and Blake Treinen had already been sent away, so hopefully Jaso can produce.
The Milwaukee Brewers also announced that they had acquired minor league third baseman Stephen Parker from the Athletics in exchange for a minor league pitcher Darren Byrd. Parker is 25 years old, and Byrd is 26 so this qualifies as the ultimate minor league organizational player swap.
Once upon a time though the trade of these two players would have been a much bigger deal. Krol and Parker were once thought to be a significant part of the Athletics future. Parker was supposed to be the third baseman of the future after hitting .296/.392/.508 with 21 home runs and 98 RBI in 139 games for the Stockton Ports in 2010. The consistency and power that Parker showed in the hitter friendly California League was never duplicated as he ascended to the higher minor league levels. Now time has simply run out for him.
Krol has had an interesting run through the A’s minor league system as well, but not just for reasons on the field. In July of 2011 Krol was suspended indefinitely by the Athletics for an offensive tweet that included a gay slur. From that moment on, I was not a fan of Ian Krol, and I no longer would root for his success. It’s one thing for a player to maybe have a bad attitude, be extremely arrogant, or maybe not even be cordial with the fans, but stuff like that is inexcusable. I like to support the players on the team I support, but he crossed the line and would never be seen in the same light again.
It’s a shame because it did appear at one point that Krol had some talent that could translate to the major leagues, but his questionable character and injuries may have permanently derailed this train. Krol does have time on his side, considering the fact that he’s still just 21 years old (Turns 22 in May). If he does make a productive career for himself at some point, hopefully he will use his notoriety to help some equal rights causes, or else his career will always have the dark cloud of intolerance hovering above.
For Stephen Parker, it’s a questions of what could have been. For Ian Krol, it doesn’t matter, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.