With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, there will be roster speculation swirling around every team. There is one question that is still confounding to many: why do GMs still trade with Billy Beane?
The answer is simple. Beane and company have a knack for assembling talent. They put players in situations in which they will succeed, which leads to impressive stat lines. These players then catch the eyes of rival GMs, and Beane trades them away for prospects.
That was Beane’s Modus operandi until recently, when he largely traded away the farm to have a contender today. The players he traded away have built the team with the best record in baseball. This team does not have a glaring weakness. Oakland is on pace for 100 wins nearly half way through the season. Obviously Billy Beane knows how to execute a trade.
Again, why do teams trade with Billy Beane? He is obviously a swindler that leaves a path of destruction. Not necessarily. Beane has made some trades that look pretty lopsided today, but were leaving experts to wonder at the time. Let’s look at a few trades, and you’ll see why the A’s still have trading partners as the trade deadline approaches, and also how the Athletics remain competitive year after year.
De Los Santos pitched to the tune of a 4.32 ERA in 2011, but in 2012 impressed enough with his 3.00 ERA to become trade bait for the A’s to land George Kottaras for the stretch run. Ryan Sweeney always showed the potential to be a pretty decent outfielder, but spent too much time on the DL for the Athletics’ liking and was included in a trade with the Red Sox. He was sent to Boston with Andrew Bailey (neither is still with the team) for Josh Reddick and 2 minor leaguers currently playing to Double-A for the A’s. Reddick may not currently have the offensive production we’d all like, but his defense is an undeniable asset to the team.
Lastly, there is Gio Gonzalez, who was traded for Tommy Milone, Derek Norris and Brad Peacock (who was used to acquire Jed Lowrie). Norris is playing like an All-Star, and Tommy Milone has been a solid bottom-of-the-rotation starter this season.
Recap: Trading Nick Swisher yielded current Athletics Josh Reddick, Derek Norris, Tommy Milone and to some degree, Jed Lowrie.
As you may have heard, Cahill is no longer with the Diamondbacks after being DFA’d a couple of weeks back. Cowgill has since been traded as well, but Ryan Cook has played an integral role in the A’s bullpen at times since his acquisition. Jarrod Parker was primed to be the ace of the staff before suffering an injury this spring. If he can return to form, this trade is about as lopsided as a Beane deal can get.
Lastly, there is the trade that A’s fans don’t talk about. In the interest of journalism, I will speak of the unspeakable.
Matt Holiday didn’t even stick around for a whole season. He played in 93 games for the A’s, got traded to the Cardinals and put up nearly identical stats for the birds in only 63 games in St. Louis. We are done talking about this one. Point being, not every trade has been flawless.
If you want to follow the rabbit hole of this trade, it doesn’t get any better either. At the end of the day, the A’s received Michael Taylor, who was recently traded to the White Sox for Jake Sanchez. If Sanchez develops well, then the A’s may finally be able to put the Holiday trade in the past.
These trades encapsulate why it is beneficial to trade with the A’s. Well, not the Cahill deal. The A’s are always willing to trade a highly talented player in exchange for youth and cost-effectiveness. In the Gio Gonzalez trade, both teams got better, and I’m positive both teams would execute the trade again.
Billy Beane has trade partners because he isn’t afraid to trade away a player with value. Value to the A’s means something different entirely. In Oakland, it’s not only about production, but the player’s contract also plays a large part in who they are willing to trade.
What Beane and company are best at (generally) is evaluating talent. If the A’s are willing to give up a prospect, either their value is extremely high, or they don’t believe in the kid as highly as other teams.
The trade deadline should be very interesting for the Oakland Athletics’ GM. He has already plowed the farm, and is currently waiting for the crops to develop in the form of future A’s talent.