For decades now Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane has been lauded as a baseball genius. He’s fleeced other teams out of their best players, and revolutionized the game in ways that have been analyzed and emulated ever since. In 2013, simply getting any other MLB GM to accept a trade that would send Tyson Ross their way seemed like another stroke of genius. The deal, which netted the A’s infielder Andy Parrino and pitcher Andrew Werner from the San Diego Padres. Neither of those two figured to amount to much, and Parrino is already onto his next organization (the Texas Rangers of course), and Werner is relegated to an organizational depth role with the Sacramento River Cats. The prospect of a fleecing of the Padres, acquiring two impact players for another failed project, while appealing, wasn’t realistic.
Turns out though, Tyson Ross has turned himself into something of a rising star in the National League. He posted a very impressive 3.17 ERA in 125 innings in 2013 for the Padres, and opened a lot of eyes with his 119 strikeouts as well. Ross seemed destined to be relegated to the same organizational depth role that Andrew Werner finds himself in now, but he has risen above that. A pitcher like Ross is the kind of pitcher the A’s could really use right about now, but perhaps they gave up on him just a moment too soon.
Not many anticipated the devastating elbow injury that has shelved staff ace Jarrod Parker for the duration of 2014. While Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, and the rest of the staff have stepped up to fill the void thus far, it’s still very early and chances are there will be multiple times when the A’s dearly miss Parker’s presence in the rotation. This season is already proving the long stated opinion that you can never have too much pitching. The signing of Joe Blanton reiterated that very theory (despite his apparent retirement yesterday). At this point, the starting depth at the MLB level consists of Josh Lindblom, the aforementioned Werner, and perhaps Drew Pomeranz if the A’s choose to stretch him out. Having Tyson Ross still in the fold would certainly ease some nerves within the Athletics organization.
Ross accomplished something the Athletics have been unable to, he dominated the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, besting reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer with a stellar seven inning performance to give the Padres a series victory. Pitching against the Tigers in April, versus facing them in October is undoubtedly quite different, but the success is still significant. Either way, this edition of Tyson Ross would look awfully good in a starting rotation alongside Gray, Kazmir, Chavez, and Straily (apologies to Tommy Milone) in what would amount to a very talented and potentially dangerous staff. Ross was drafted by the A’s in the first place for a reason, and he is showing now that the talent was legitimate, it just needed to be nurtured a bit. The coaching staff in San Diego has harvested that talent, and are reaping the benefits. If only Billy Beane had seen the solution to his problems like Josh Byrnes and the Padres have, but as rival GMs can attest, there are no do-overs in MLB trading.