I love Billy, but I can't shake the nagging suspicion that he's on a dealmaking losing streak, and that perhaps he drafts better than he trades - certainly recently. And the free agent signings mostly stink, too. I won't discount the outright thievery of deals of earlier years, but the record the past couple of years has been pretty dismal.
Let's start with the exception: certainly the Mulder for Haren trade appears to be a total victory, the rare stud trade. The A's killed the Cards on that one. If Barton develops, it's just sick what the A's got in talent and salary dump. Calero has had a tough season, but my arm hurts when I throw every day, too.
But let's face it: the A's got absolutely nothing for Huddy. We're talking about Tim Hudson, people. The heart and soul of the team. Look at a healthy Meyer's stats, folks, and get over it: it ain't going to happen. Hudson-for-nothing. The question is, would you trade Mulder and Hudson for Haren and Calero? Of course not. (Some will want to bring up salary dump, but they'll then choke by having to admit that the A's probably could have kept both if they just hadn't signed Kendall, so let's leave salary sort of aside for a bit.)
And though we can discount the first injury plagued months of the season, who would you rather have the rest of this year, and perhaps the next several years as well, the oft-injured and always-volatile Milton Bradley, or Andre Ethier? (Or, to dredge up an old one, Chavvy or Miggy?)
As for recent free agent signings, Ginter is a zero, Loaiza has been a zero (and keeps suggesting he doesn't really feel he's hurt) and Kendall is the weakest hitter I've ever seen. (Statistically, Kendall is the single weakest hitter in the game since joining the A's.) Forgetting Kendall's $11 million price tag, which is hard to do, who would you rather have, Kendall or Damian Miller? OK, now throw the price tag in!
The A's threw in Bonderman to get Lilly, who was an all star (for another team) the year after the A's traded him. Bonderman is a total stud. The A's dump Lilly and his salary for Kielty, who has delightful red hair, an ingratiating spirit and, sadly, an inability to hit. Would you rather have Kielty out there or Eric Byrnes? Or, for that matter, Jermaine Dye?
Yeah, it's really easy to pick and choose and be critical with the benefit of hindsight. But when I look at what the A's had and what they got, it doesn't look pretty.
Let's hear it: shall we adopt a defensive it's-too-soon-to tell? Or am I just plain wrong? Or am I right?
And, by the way, I still love Billy!