Tag Archives: Oakland Athletics

Season Preview: AL West


Time to move to my own team’s division, as I take a look at the AL West. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East and AL Central.

Last Year’s Records
Texas – 90-72
Oakland – 81-81
Los Angeles – 80-82
Seattle – 61-101

Notable Additions

Los Angeles – Vernon Wells, Hisanori Takahashi

Oakland – Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus, Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour, Josh Willingham, Rich Harden, Brandon McCarthy

Seattle – Miguel Olivo, Jack Cust

Texas – Adrian Beltre, Arthur Rhodes, Mike Napoli, Brandon Webb

Notable Losses

Los Angeles – Mike Napoli, Juan Rivera, Hideki Matsui, Scot Shields

Oakland – Rajai Davis, Vin Mazzaro

Seattle – Russell Branyan, Jose Lopez

Texas – Cliff Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, Frank Francisco

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Who are the Faces of the Franchise? AL West Edition


Continuing on with my look at each organization and their Face of the Franchise, the AL West…

  • Angels – I think that at this point, Torii Hunter has taken the mantle of the face of the franchise. He has even shown leadership (whether or not it was his choice remains to be seen) by switching positions last year for a younger player in Peter Bourjos, and likely to remain the same for Vernon Wells this year. Continue reading

Prospect Review – Michael Choice


The next prospect up to be reviewed is Michael Choice of the Oakland Athletics.

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted by the Oakland Athletics out of the University of Texas at Arlington in the 1st round (10th overall) of the 2010 amateur draft.
Age as of 4/1/11: 21

Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube

Tm Lg G R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
Athletics ARIZ 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 .000 .222 .000
Vancouver NORW 27 20 29 10 2 7 26 6 15 43 .284 .388 .627
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/3/2011.

Prospect Ranks

Hardball Times: #1 (OAK – 2011)
Deep Leagues: #7 (Outfielders– 2011), #52 (Overall – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: #5 (Center Fielders – 12/2010)
Baseball America: #2 (Northwest League – 10/2010), #3 (OAK – 2011)
John Sickels: #3 (OAK – 2011) B
Baseball Prospectus: 2011 Team Rankings Not Released Yet
Scouting Book: #28 (Outfielders – 2011)
Top Prospect Alert: #3 (OAK – 2011)

Analysis

The top draft pick in the 2010 class for the Athletics, Choice had previously been placed at the same pick by Keith Law in his final mock prior to the draft. Coming out of college, Choice had posted solid numbers across all categories on offense. His junior season was his best as a hitter, hitting .383/.572/.704 with 16 homers, 59 runs batted in, 67 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases. He then had an impressive performance in the Northwest League last year after signing, hitting 7 homers in just 27 games and posting a .627 slugging percentage.

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Season Previews in Review: American League West


Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I reviewed the AL East and AL Central previously, and now it’s on to the AL West.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Predicted Record: 86-76            Actual Record: 80-82

I’m not entirely sure what happened with this team. The only event that I can pinpoint that stands out as a major turning point in the season was the loss of Kendry Morales for the season back in late May. Their pitching seemed suspect at the beginning of the season, and might have been worse had it not been for the midseason acquisition of Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks. The Angels continue to develop solid players though, with Peter Bourjos coming up after the All-Star break and should continue to develop next season. This team needs a bit of help in the offseason, but should do well and spend what is needed to do that.

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Trade Retrospective – Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks


On December 14th, 2007, the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired SP Dan Haren and RP Connor Robertson from the Oakland Athletics for pitchers Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland, and Greg Smith, 1B Chris Carter, and outfielders Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez.

The Background

Dan Haren had been in Oakland since the start of the 2005 season, and had established himself as one of the top pitchers in the American League. Following the 2005 season, he had signed a contract extension which would keep him under team control at very reasonable prices through the 2010 season (it would have covered the 5 seasons at a total cost of $19.15 million overall). Haren was also being asked to fill the role of the staff ace, with Barry Zito having departed via free agency after the 2006 season. Haren had his best season with the Athletics in 2007, going 15-9 with a 3.07 ERA in 222.2 innings pitched, and a 138 ERA+. However, the team did not perform well, going 76-86 and finishing 3rd in the division despite going to the ALCS in the 2006 season.

The Diamondbacks had finished in first place in 2007, with a 90-72 record. However, they had been swept in the NLCS by the Rockies, and it appeared that they could use another starting pitcher behind 2006 Cy Young winner Brandon Webb. They did have, however, an extremely deep farm system available to them to go out and acquire what they would need to help in the 2008 season.

The Moving Pieces

In Phoenix, Haren slotted into the starting rotation between 2 former Cy Young award winners in Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson. Connor Robertson was sent to AAA Tucson, to be used mainly out of the bullpen.

In Oakland, Greg Smith and Dana Eveland both slotted into the back end of the starting rotation for the Athletics. OF Carlos Gonzalez was sent to AAA Sacramento to play every day. OF Aaron Cunningham was sent to AA Midland, and 1B Chris Carter and P Brett Anderson were both sent to High-A Stockton.

What Happened Next

The Diamondbacks were fairly happy with the performance of Haren, who went 16-8 with a 3.33 ERA and topped the 200 strikeout threshold for the first time in his career. Robertson made some spot appearances with the big club, but was essentially a non-factor on the team’s performance in 2008. Unfortunately, the team regressed a fair amount, and went 82-80 to finish 2nd in the NL West that season.

The Athletics were in full rebuilding mode, but did get some useful performances out of Dana Eveland and Greg Smith in 2008, who provided a lot of innings. Carter finished the season as one of the California League’s top hitters, clubbing 39 homers and driving in 104 runs in only 137 games. Carlos Gonzalez (BA’s #22 overall in 2008) hit fairly well in AAA, posting a .283 batting average and getting a midseason callup to the big club. Unfortunately, his performance in the Majors left a lot to be desired, hitting .242 with 4 homers and 4 steals in 89 games. Brett Anderson (BA’s #36 overall in 2008) posted an 11-5 record between High-A and AA, striking out 118 in just 105 innings. Aaron Cunningham hit .329 between AA and AAA, and also added 17 homers, 66 runs batted in, and 15 steals to those totals. He got into 22 games with the Athletics in 2008, hitting .250 with 1 homerun.

The Net Moves

Diamondbacks – First Level

  • Dan Haren made 2 All-Star appearances with the Diamondbacks, and posted a 37-26 record with a 3.56 ERA. He threw 586 1/3 innings over 3 seasons, and struck out 570 to just 107 walks. He was traded on July 25th of this season to the Angels for Joe Saunders, Rafael Rodriguez, Patrick Corbin, and Tyler Skaggs.
  • Connor Robertson went 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in just 7 Major League innings for the D’backs. On December 12th, 2008, he was traded to the Mets for Scott Schoeneweis.

Athletics – First Level

  • Carlos Gonzalez appeared in 85 games at the Major league level for the Athletics in 2008, posting an underwhelming .242/.273/.361 line with 4 HR, 26 RBI, and 4 SB. He, along with Greg Smith and closer Huston Street, were traded to the Colorado Rockies on November 10th, 2008 for OF Matt Holliday.
  • Greg Smith went 7-16 with a 4.16 ERA in 190 1/3 innings pitched in 2008, but had a rather pedestrian 111 strikeouts compared to 87 walks. He was a part of the trade mentioned above.
  • Aaron Cunningham appeared in 45 games with the Athletics, posting a .211/.271/.338 line with 2 HR, 20 RBI, and 2 SB. He was traded on January 16, 2010 to the Padres along with Scott Hairston in exchange for 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff and minor league 2B Eric Sogard.
  • Dana Eveland went 11-13 with a 4.92 ERA in parts of 2 seasons. He threw a total of 212 innings, and had 140 strikeouts compared to 103 walks. He was traded to the Blue Jays on February 7, 2010, but no player was received in return.
  • Brett Anderson made his debut with the Athletics in 2009, and has posted a 14-14 record with a 3.79 ERA so far. He’s thrown 225 innings and has a very solid 184 strikeouts to 52 walks. He also recently signed a contract extension as well.
  • Chris Carter recently made his Major league debut, and was up for a cup of coffee so far. He was recently sent back to AAA, but is likely to be up for good by the end of the season.

Diamondbacks – Second Level

  • Scott Schoeneweis went 1-2 with a 7.13 ERA in just 24 innings pitched in 2009. Sadly, he was dealing with the death of his wife Gabrielle, who died in May of that season. He was a free agent after the season.

Athletics – Second Level

  • Matt Holliday played in 93 games for the Athletics, posting a .286/.378/.454 line with 11 HR, 54 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. The team fell out of contention, and he was traded on July 24, 2009 to the Cardinals for prospects Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortenson and Shane Peterson.
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff has played in 111 games, and hit .259/.2984/.390 with 10 homeruns and 55 runs batted in.
  • Eric Sogard has been the starting 2B for the Rivercats, and is more of a glove than a hitter. He’s hit an empty .296 with 2 homers and 13 stolen bases so far.

Athletics – Third Level

  • Shane Peterson has spent time at AA, hitting .263/351/.361 with 5 homers, 50 rbi and 9 steals.
  • Clayton Mortenson has had some success at AAA, but not a lot at the Majors yet. His line with Oakland is 2-4 with a 7.22 ERA in 33 2/3 innings pitched.
  • Brett Wallace finished the 2009 season with the Rivercats, and was traded to the Blue Jays as a part of the group of trades involving Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. The Athletics acquired OF Michael Taylor in the trade.

Athletics – Fourth Level

  • Michael Taylor has spent the 2010 season at AAA Sacramento, hitting a disappointing .264/.342/.387 with 5 homeruns, 64 RBI and 12 steals. It was thought he would be called up before the end of the season, but I’m not sure that will happen this year.

Overall Reactions

I was extremely annoyed at the time of the trade, because I thought that the A’s were giving up an up and coming ace starting pitcher, and while they got a lot of good prospects back for him, they were still just prospects. As the 2008 season progressed and we saw the pieces that played at the Major League level (Smith, Eveland, and Carlos Gonzalez) all play to average levels, it just sounded that much worse for the Athletics. Over time, I think this one has become a bit more evenly matched to both teams. The Diamondbacks got 3 very solid seasons from their acquisition, and while they ended up trading him this season, there is some hope for the players that they received in return.

To me, the Athletics are going to end up winning this one, as the players they got back are going to help to lead them to their next good run. Brett Anderson has become a bona fide top of the rotation starter, and would be for a lot of teams in the Majors. Chris Carter needs to show more at the Majors before he can be really viewed as a great part of the trade, at least in my opinion. The one downfall of this trade was the move that they made to try to compete in 2009, which sent Carlos Gonzalez to the Rockies for what ended up being 93 games of Matt Holliday. Gonzalez has really exploded onto the scene this year in Colorado, while Holliday went nuts after being traded to St. Louis and drove in nearly a run per game. Michael Taylor has some upside to be sure, but the luster has kind of fallen off of his top prospect status.

Overall, I think that this trade is going to end up beneficial to both teams, and it really gives the A’s an definitive advantage as the winner of last week’s trade retrospective, with Mark Mulder going to the Cardinals.

Trade Retrospective – Mark Mulder to the Cardinals


On December 18th, 2004, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired SP Mark Mulder from the Oakland Athletics for P Dan Haren, P Kiko Calero, and C/1B Daric Barton.

The Background

From my writeup on the Hudson trade, which occurred only 2 days before this trade: The Athletics were coming off another good season, which unfortunately ended without a berth in the postseason despite being tied for the AL West division lead with 3 games to go and the other team in the lead, the Angels, coming in for the last 3 games. The Angels took the first 2 games, and clinched the division. With a 91-71 record, the team was now forced to start looking at the hard fact that one of their aces, Tim Hudson, would be eligible for free agency after the 2005 season, and the team was highly unlikely to be able to afford the ace.

Moving Hudson had not been an entirely huge surprise, but the idea that they would move Mulder, who was 2 years from free agency still, seemed unlikely at best.

The Cardinals had just been to the World Series in 2004, but were swept by the Red Sox despite winning 105 games and having 4 starting pitchers with 15 or more victories during the season. The team really appeared to be in need of someone to take the ball in Game 1, and again in Game 7 if necessary.

The Moving Pieces

In St. Louis, Mulder was put into the top of the rotation along with an already excellent group which included Chris Carpenter, Matt Morris, and Jeff Suppan.

In Oakland, Haren was called upon to replace Mulder in the starting rotation, with Calero slotting into the back end of the bullpen. Barton, only 19 years old, was sent to High A Stockton to start the 2005 season.

What Happened Next

The Cardinals were extremely happy with the results that they got from Mulder in 2005, as he posted a 16-8 record with a 3.64 ERA. The team itself returned to the playoffs after winning 100 games and the NL Central crown, but were eliminated from the playoffs in the NLCS by the Houston Astros.

The Athletics were in a semi-rebuilding mode, going 88-74 in 2005 and finishing 2nd to the Angels again. Dan Haren was a key cog in this machine, as he went 14-12 with a 3.73 ERA. Kiko Calero provided a lot of value in the bullpen as well, making 58 appearances and posting a 3.23 ERA over 55 2/3 innings pitched. Barton continued to hit extremely well, posting a .317 batting average with 13 homeruns and 89 runs batted in between High-A and AA.

The Net Moves

Cardinals – First Level

  • Mark Mulder spent parts of 5 seasons with the Cardinals before retiring due to injuries. Unfortunately, the 2005 season was his last good season, and finished his time in St. Louis with a 22-18 record, a 5.04 ERA, and 166 strikeouts to 114 walks in 319 innings pitched. He last pitched in a major league game in 2008.

Athletics – First Level

  • Daric Barton is currently with the Athletics, having made his debut in 2007. In 318 games, he has hit .259/.360/.395 with 21 homeruns and 117 runs batted in. He is currently the starting 1B for the Athletics.
  • Kiko Calero spent from 2005-2008 with the A’s, and posted some solid relief innings for the team. He went 8-8 with 4 saves, a 3.96 ERA, and 147 strikeouts in 159 innings pitched. He was released on June 27, 2008.
  • Dan Haren was clearly the top prize of this trade, and spent 2005-2007 with the team. He made 1 All-Star team, starting the game in 2007 in San Francisco. During his 3 seasons, he went 43-34 with a 3.64 ERA, 531 strikeouts and 153 walks in 662 2/3 innings pitched. After the 2007 season, Haren was traded to the Diamondbacks along with P Connor Robertson for P Brett Anderson, Greg Smith and Dana Eveland, OF Carlos Gonzalez and Aaron Cunningham, and 1B Chris Carter. This particular trade will be discussed in a future trade retrospective.

Overall Reactions

This one pretty much instantaneously became a winner for the Athletics, as Haren and Calero both turned into valuable members of the teams they were on. Even if Mulder had stayed healthy, the fact that Haren was able to be traded later on for so many key players so soon after acquiring him makes this one a clear victory for the Athletics. The fact that Mulder almost immediately became injury prone just further elevated the victory by the Athletics on this one. Looking at this trade, all 6 of the players that the Athletics received for Dan Haren have either played with the team, or were used to acquire other pieces who are currently with the team. For Cardinals fans, this clearly becomes a case of what might have been. Mulder had been very good prior to the onset of his injuries, and was well on his way to become one of the game’s great starting pitchers. It is unfortunate that he was not able to continue to play, but that is also a part of the game as well.

Trade Retrospective – Tim Hudson to the Braves


On December 16th, 2004, the Atlanta Braves acquired starting pitcher Tim Hudson from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for outfielder Charles Thomas and pitchers Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer.

The Background

The Athletics were coming off another good season, which unfortunately ended without a berth in the postseason despite being tied for the AL West division lead with 3 games to go and the other team in the lead, the Angels, coming in for the last 3 games. The Angels took the first 2 games, and clinched the division. With a 91-71 record, the team was now forced to start looking at the hard fact that one of their aces, Tim Hudson, would be eligible for free agency after the 2005 season, and the team was highly unlikely to be able to afford the ace. From AthleticsNation.Com’s Tyler Blezinski, from before the trade:

So, I’m on record saying that Tim Hudson will not be wearing an A’s uniform in 2005.  It’ll be tragic to lose Huddy, but if Billy gets young, cheap talent in return which vastly improves our offense and a starting pitcher, it improves the long-term outlook for the green and gold (since it sounds like the A’s cannot afford to keep Hudson after the next season).  Beane may back out at the last second because trading a talent like Hudson can come back to haunt you, but I don’t think so.  Billy is going to do what’s right for the long-term health of the franchise.  And with the budget restrictions Oakland has, spending the majority of your payroll on three players (Chavez, Kendall and possibly Hudson) doesn’t make much sense.

The Braves finished the 2004 season with a 96-66 record and a division title (I know, huge surprise at that point, right?) The team lacked a true top flight starting pitcher, and would lose 2 different free agents out of their starting rotation after the season. Clearly, they were in need for a high-caliber starting pitcher.

The Moving Pieces

In Atlanta, Tim Hudson was slotted into the #2 spot in the rotation behind the return to the rotation of John Smoltz. Hudson signed a contract extension not long after being traded, at least in part due to his growing up nearby.

In Oakland, Juan Cruz was slotted into the bullpen in Oakland. Charles Thomas was kept in Oakland as well, but was a bit of a role player/4th outfielder at the start. In Sacramento (the A’s AAA affiliate), Dan Meyer, BA’s #43 prospect coming into the 2005 season, was slotted into the starting rotation.

What Happened Next

The Braves got everything that they could have hoped for out of Hudson in his first season in Atlanta: 14-9, 3.52 ERA and 192 innings pitched. He helped to stabilize the rotation for the Braves, who won another division title in the NL East. In his one postseason start that season, Hudson gave up 5 earned runs over 6 2/3 innings, taking the loss against the Astros and Andy Pettitte.

The Athletics were in a semi-rebuilding mode, going 88-74 in 2005 and finishing 2nd to the Angels again. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that close, and the players they received in the trade really had no impact at all on the performance on the field. Juan Cruz was completely ineffective, posting an 0-3 record with a 7.44 ERA in 32 2/3 innings pitched in 2005. Thomas played in only 30 games in the Majors that season, posting a brutal .109/.255/.109 line with 1 RBI. Meyer spent the entire season in AAA, posting a 2-8 record with a 5.36 ERA in only 89 innings. Injuries derailed his season as well.

The Net Moves

Braves – First Level

  • Tim Hudson has posted a 68-44 record with a 3.55 ERA in his time in Atlanta. Currently with the organization, he has thrown 967 2/3 innings pitched, struck out 580 and posted a 1.285 WHIP.

Athletics – First Level

  • Juan Cruz only spent the 2005 season with the Athletics, posting the awful line listed above. He was traded to the Diamondbacks on 3/26/2006 for P Brad Halsey.
  • Dan Meyer made another appearance in the Majors with the Athletics in 2007 and 2008, but was unimpressive. He posted an 0-6 record with a 7.98 ERA in 44 innings pitched over 17 appearances (7 starts). He was selected off of waivers on 11/3/2008 by the Marlins.
  • Charles Thomas only spent 2005 in the Majors with the Athletics, but was with the organization in the minors until 2007, when he was traded to the Brewers for C J.D. Closser

Athletics – Second Level

  • Brad Halsey was with the big club for 2006, posting a 5-4 record with a 4.67 ERA in 94 1/3 innings pitched. He posted a poor strikeout-to-walk rate with 53 K and 46 BB, and spent 2007 in the minors with the Athletics. It appears that he was not tendered a contract after the 2007 season, and is out of organized baseball.
  • J.D. Closser did not play in the majors for the Athletics, and left (although I’m not sure how exactly) after the 2007 season

Overall Reactions

They can’t all be winners for Billy Bean, now can they? Cruz has become a very good reliever, evening earning Type A status before his last contract. It just didn’t happen in Oakland. It’s hard to say whether or not Thomas fizzled because he wasn’t given a fair shot or because he wasn’t good enough. His success in the minors really appears to have been entirely in the 2004 season, where he hit .358 in AAA Richmond, but with little power or speed. The key piece in this trade was Dan Meyer. From Baseball America’s Bill Ballew, in a chat shortly after the trade:

Q: Mike from Manassas VA asks:
Where would Dan Meyer rank on the Braves list?
A: Bill Ballew: top five, with serious consideration for the top 3

Clearly, he was pretty highly thought of, but just didn’t pan out the way that it was hoped would happen. Sometimes this happens with prospects unfortunately. This one is a definite win for the Braves, both now and then unfortunately. Amazingly, it didn’t really impact the Athletics as poorly as you would think given that they moved a top starting pitcher in Hudson. As I’ll look at next week, it wasn’t the only one that got moved that offseason.

Trade Deadline Thoughts


With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, I put out a call to some of the team-centric bloggers from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance with 3 questions each, dependent on whether or not they considered their team to be a contender or not. Below are the questions, along with each of the responses.

Note that most of these responses were received over the last week, so some may be a bit out of date with the information now known, but that has more with my inability to sit down and write it all down and not with the respondents themselves.

The Respondents

Bill Ivie from I-70 Baseball (Responses are for the Cardinals)
Daniel Shoptaw from C70 at the Bat (Cardinals)
Bee Hylinski from Contract Year (Athletics)

For Contending Teams:

1.  What would you say is your team’s most pressing need to help them get to (or stay in) the playoffs?

Ivie: I will take the opinion side of this.  I have said it for months now.  The Cardinals need some strong help in the middle infield.  When they get production and table setting from the 2b/SS position, they produce and win.  When those positions are quiet, the team loses.

Shoptaw: There are two glaring holes on this team–middle infield, most especially shortstop, and the back of the rotation.  With the hopeful emergence of Tyler Greene to replace Brendan Ryan‘s woeful production, getting another starter would seem to be the most pressing need.  The team can not continue to run out Jeff Suppan and Blake Hawksworth on a regular basis and expect to play in October.

Interesting to me is the fact that both writers agree that the Cardinals’ middle infield is pretty much a black hole in terms of offense. I’m also inclined to agree with Daniel about the fact that the Cardinals need something in their rotation, but I think they are going to have to either make a small acquisition or wait to find out if and when injured pitchers Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse will be able to return to the rotation.

2. What player(s) do you think would most effectively fit that need? Generally, these would only be players that actually have a decent chance of being traded, so no offers for Albert Pujols :)

Ivie: What if I want to offer for Albert…oh, wait…we got ‘em.  Dan Uggla is always and intriguing name.  I also like the discussions that are suggesting Stephen Drew at SS.  Other than that, I think the market is kind of small for help, but hopefully they can find something out there.

Shoptaw: While the Cardinals would be well-suited to a Dan Haren or a Roy Oswalt, their contract situation most likely leaves them out of the crosshairs of GM John Mozeliak.  All moves must be filtered through the prism of the potential Albert Pujols extension.  Therefore, they’d much rather have someone that was a free agent after this season rather than someone taking up space in the next year or two.  You would think, in that case, they’d look for someone like a Jake Westbrook or perhaps a Kevin Millwood.

I actually really like the idea of the Cardinals acquiring Dan Uggla for a playoff run. While he is a bit expensive at $7.8 million for this season, he is under team control for next season as well, and could conceivably be moved during the offseason if they feel he will be too expensive. I actually really like the Stephen Drew thought as well, but he has more seasons under team control and would realistically cost more to acquire than Uggla. The Cardinals also seem like they would be a good team to take a risk on a Jake Westbrook/Kevin Millwood/Jeremy Guthrie type, and pair them up with Dave Duncan and let him do his magic.

3. What player(s) in your system are most likely to net you the player(s) for those needs?

Ivie: This probably is the biggest obstacle for the Cardinals.  I would say that Bryan Anderson (AAA Catcher), Mitchell Boggs (ML Reliever), and Brendan Ryan (ML Shorstop).  Brendan may be thrown in for a change of scenery and take a team that feels that is what he needs, but it will be hard to tell.

Shoptaw: What they can give up is another story.  Since they used a lot of their chips last year acquiring Mark DeRosa and then Matt Holliday, there’s not a lot on the farm.  There are potentially useful players such as Mark Hamilton and Joe Mather, along with current big leaguers Jon Jay and Allen Craig, that could be used as parts of a deal.  Most likely, St. Louis would have to take on payroll, something that ownership has said there is flexibility to do, and give away lesser quality prospects.  Expect that Brendan Ryan could be a part of a deal as well, especially if they do make a deal for a shortstop.

After looking at the Cardinals system myself, it’s pretty empty at the higher levels. The biggest name that I have heard for them is pitcher Shelby Miller, who I would assume would have to be included in a trade if they were to get themselves someone like Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren. The other thing to remember at this point is that if they acquire a player who has a longer term contract, they may start running into a problem with their payroll limits after 2011 when they will need to resign Albert Pujols.

For Non-Contenders:

1. Which player(s) on your team do you think are most likely to get moved before the deadline?

Hylinski: Pitcher Ben Sheets, notwithstanding Billy Beane’s comments that he doesn’t plan on moving anyone.  Sheets has pitched better with every start recently.  His fastball is up to the mid nineties and all his other pitchers are working more accurately.  He’s a veteran presence and great with the young pitchers.  Speaking of the latter,  if a team would give up a great player and need more than Sheets, the A’s have a plethora of young pitchers in the minors to sweeten the pot.

I really thought that they were going to move him, and that despite his veteran presence he could bring back a fair amount in return. Unfortunately, he was placed on the disabled list on Saturday, and could potentially miss the rest of the season.

2. What would you like to see the organization get in return (ie, a 3B prospect, starting pitching prospects, salary relief, etc)? Specific players aren’t necessarily a requirement, unless you see a specific good match.

Hylinski: A slugger, a 3 or 4 hole hitter who can also play in the field (not another Jack Cust, please)  Someone like Hanley Ramirez would be terrific: a young major league hitter (or major-league ready hitter) with substantial pop in his bat.

I agree that this is definitely what the Athletics need, because the lineup just isn’t good enough in terms of power. Even when Sheets was healthy, I’m not sure I saw a player on the A’s current roster that could have brought that in return. Maybe catcher Kurt Suzuki, but with him now signed to a contract extension, I don’t think he’s going anywhere for at least a couple of seasons.

3. Do you see a good fit for these players that you think could get a deal done?

Hylinski: I am not convinced that Billy Beane and the ownership will pay top dollar for a hot bat.  But that’s what the team needs.  The only 2 bats at top of the A’s minor league system (Sacramento River Cats) are Chris Carter who can only play 1st base, so unless something happens to Daric Barton who has been a hitting and field machine, he’s not coming up; and  Michael Taylor who is at least a year off.

Another possibility might be 2nd-baseman Mark Ellis (though I’d really hate to see him go).  I understand the Phillies and maybe the Red Sox are looking for a 2nd baseman.  Probably Kevin Kouzmanoff will not be traded unless the other end of the deal is too good to pass up.

I’m inclined to agree with these points also, unfortunately. With the stadium situation continuing to drag on in Oakland, and with the team possibly moving to parts unknown, San Jose, or half a dozen other places, they just seem extremely unlikely to pay to get someone like that. The two prospects Bee mentioned have unfortunately been disappointments at AAA to this point, and signs are pointing that they may actually have to repeat the level again next season.

Overall, I thought it was interesting to get the perspective of some writers who are clearly very knowledgeable about their teams, and see if their observations about their teams were similar to mine as someone who sees it a little more at arm’s length. Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions, and you should check out their blogs at the links above as well.

Also, Allen Teruel over at Prorumors.Com had a series of writeups regarding potential trade targets for each team and certain types of players as well. You can find these stories here:
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/national-league-west-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-west-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/nationals-league-central-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-central-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/national-league-east-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-east-buyers-and-sellers/

Here are a few Top 10 lists that can help you out too:
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-10-mlb-power-hitters-that-could-be-traded-by-july-31/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-10-mlb-starting-pitchers-that-could-be-traded-by-july-31/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-ten-prospects-that-could-get-traded-by-july-31/

Week in Review – June 28th to July 4th


If the Playoffs Started Today

League Leaders

Batting Average – Justin Morneau – .344
Runs – Kevin Youkilis (BOS) – 65
Home Runs –  Jose Bautista (TOR) – 21
Runs Batted In – Vladimir Guerrero (TEX) – 70
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) – 30

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 14
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) – 23
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) – 1.82
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) – 124
WHIP – Cliff Lee (SEA) – 0.95

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Dallas Braden, Shaun Marcum, Jason Varitek, Manny Delcarmen, Luke Scott, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Jason Heyward, Victor Martinez, Joel Zumaya, Shin-Soo Choo, Will Venable, Manny Ramirez,

Return from the Disabled List: J.J. Hardy, Tim Stauffer, Jair Jurrjens, Matt Diaz, Chad Billingsley, Bud Norris

To the Minors: Max Ramirez, Dontrelle Willis,

Called Up: Edwin Encarnacion, Marc Rzepczynski, Dustin Moseley, Josh Bell, Dexter Fowler, Michael Brantley,

Trades:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • I think that the biggest surprise of the week has to be the firing of both manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Josh Byrnes in Arizona on Thursday. Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLBTradeRumors wrote up a pretty solid post with some gathered reactions around the Majors about this, and Mark Polishuk of MLBTradeRumors also had a pretty good write up of the history of both men with the Diamondbacks.
  • July 2nd was the start of the international free agent signing period, and there was a surprisingly large amount of action out of the Athletics, who signed 3 players out of Venezuela according to MLBTradeRumors.
  • The Phillies and the Red Sox both seem to be walking MASH units, as the Phillies lost All-Star 2B Chase Utley for 8 weeks with a thumb injury, and 3B Placido Polanco to the disabled list as well. Over in Boston, they can’t buy a break that doesn’t hurt them, as they lost both Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek to the disabled list this week.
  • The All Star teams were announced on Sunday morning. I wrote up my predictions late on Saturday of who I thought would make the team, and the one thing that stands out to me more than any other is the snub of both Joey Votto and Jered Weaver. I will have more of my reactions up on Thursday.
  • Stephen Strasburg made two starts, and it looks like the league may be starting to catch up a little bit, as he struggled in his start on Saturday. He’s going to be just fine long term, and I think these struggles are what the National were hoping he would have while in the minors.
  • The Diamondbacks struggled really badly on Saturday, committing 6 errors with the “B” team of Tony Abreu and Rusty Ryal both playing out in the field. Even Vin Scully didn’t have a whole lot to say that was good about how they played, but was pretty happy the Dodgers won.

From the Twitter Followers

If you aren’t yet, you can follow me over at Twitter here. These are some of the better reads from the Twitter followers from last week.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday and Wednesday: Midseason Prospect Review – I will be taking a look at the players that I reviewed back in January and February to see what they have been up to so far, and see which ones have progressed, and which ones are having some difficulties.

Thursday: My Review of the All-Star Rosters – I will look at the announced All-Star rosters, some snubs and undeserving players, and comparing them to the rosters I built as a part of my Month in Review on last Thursday.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Frank Viola to the Mets – The trade, completed midway through the 1989 season, had a pretty significant impact on the pennant races for that year, and I’ll take a look back at how each team ended up doing overall in the trade, and what return they got.

Trade Retrospective – Rickey Henderson to the Athletics


On June 21, 1989, the Oakland Athletics reacquired OF Rickey Henderson from the New York Yankees for pitchers Greg Cadaret, Eric Plunk, and OF Luis Polonia.

The Background

Henderson had been an elite outfielder for the Yankees, but was coming up for free agency after the 1989 season. The Yankees themselves were at a 33-35 record coming into June 21st, but were 6.5 games back in the AL East, with what appears to be little hope that they would be able to make up the ground and aim for a postseason run. The Athletics, on the other hand, were 44-27, but only 2 games up in the AL West division. They had some excellent pitching, led by staff ace Dave Stewart, but appeared to be lacking on the offense side and especially in the leadoff spot.

The Moving Pieces

In New York, Greg Cadaret was slotted into the starting rotation, Eric Plunk was put into the bullpen, and Luis Polonia was put into the lineup as the replacement for Henderson.

In Oakland, Henderson helped to stabilize the LF position for the team, taking over the spot that had been mostly manned by Luis Polonia previously during the season.

What Happened Next

Henderson provided a serious balance to the Athletics lineup, manning the leadoff spot and hitting .294/.425/.438 with 9 HR, 35 RBI and an insane 52 SB in only 85 games. In addition, he scored 72 runs while leading the Athletics to a 55-36 record from the time he arrived.

In New York, Cadaret made 13 starts out of a total 20 appearances with the Yankees, posting a 5-5 record with a 4.58 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 92 1/3 innings. Plunk started out in the bullpen before making 7 starts to end the season. He posted a 7-5 record in a total of 27 appearances, with a very solid 3.69 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings. Polonia was an extremely poor-man’s version of Henderson, as he hit .313/.359/.405 with 2 HR, 29 RBI, and 9 SB while playing left field for the Yankees.

The Net Moves

Yankees – First Level

  • Greg Cadaret posted a 22-23 record with a 4.12 ERA in 439 innings pitched for the Yankees. He posted 324 strikeouts and 235 walks in that time, leading to a poor 1.544 WHIP. On 11/6/1992, his contract was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Eric Plunk went 5-13 with a 3.88 ERA in 260 innings pitched. He had 231 strikeouts and 157 walks during that time, and was unceremoniously released by the Yankees on 11/20/1991
  • Luis Polonia only spent part of the 1990 season with the Yankees, hitting .289 with 10 SB and 41 runs scored. He was traded to the California Angels during the 1990 season for P Rich Monteleone and OF Claudell Washington

Athletics – First Level

  • Rickey Henderson was nearly as good in his second stint with the Athletics as he had been in his first. In 562 games, he scored 450 runs, hit .298/.421/.492 with 86 HR, 240 RBI and 254 SB. He won the 1990 AL MVP, and was a part of the Athletics’ 1989 World Championship team. He was traded as a part of the rebuilding effort of 1993, where he went to Toronto for minor leaguers Steve Karsay and Jose Herrera.

Athletics – Second Level

  • Jose Herrera played in 141 games for the Athletics from 1995-1996, posting a .264/.314/.367 line with 6 HR and 9 SB. He became a free agent on 10/17/1997, and was not subject to compensation.
  • Steve Karsay threw 209 2/3 innings pitched for the Athletics, posting a 7-16 record with 140 strikeouts and 71 walks. A reasonable 4.95 ERA and 1.49 WHIP were given by Karsay prior to his trade to the Indians for RP Mike Fetters.

Yankees – Second Level

  • Claudell Washington played in 33 games in the 1990 season for the Yankees, posting a meager .163/.181/.200 line with 3 steals and 4 runs scored. He was released on 10/4/1990, and ended up retiring.
  • Rich Monteleone went 17-9 with a 4.06 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 232 2/3 innings pitched. He left via free agency on 10/15/1993.

Athletics – Third Level

  • Rich Fetters spent a part of the 1998 season with the Athletics, posting a 1-6 record in 48 appearances. He also struck out 34 batters and walked 21 in his 47 1/3 innings pitched. He was traded to the California Angels during the season for essentially nothing.

Overall Reactions

The Athletics did well on this trade in my opinion. They were hoping to bring in a player who would help them to win a championship, and he succeeded at that goal. The fact that the Yankees got essentially a minimal contribution from any of the players that they received leads me to believe that they really only gained minimal improvement over losing Henderson to free agency. In addition to the championship, the Athletics also had Henderson when he broke Lou Brock’s career stolen base record, and also went to the 1990 World Series as well.