Was It Good For You, Too? Recapping Yesterday’s Transactions

I need a cigarette - USA TODAY Sports

The A’s made a flurry of moves yesterday. If you blinked, you may have missed a few. Here’s a short recap.

First, the A's did end up tendering all their arbitration-eligible players.  They also agreed on a one-year deal with Fernando Rodriguez, acquired in the Lowrie trade from the Astros last year.   Again, it does not mean that all those players will play in Oakland next year, but they will be under team control and are available to trade should Beane choose to dump anyone.

Next, the A's did something they almost never do in signing a free agent pitcher by inking Scott Kazmir to a 2 year/$22M contract.  In Kazmir, they acquire a high-risk, high-reward starter who will slot into the vacated rotation spot left by Bartolo Colon, whose time in Oakland is done.  He is said to be seeking a multi-year deal likely well north of what Kazmir received.  Colon is probably seeking Tim Lincecum money, which the A's don't have.  What's more, while Colon may be better in 2014, Kazmir is more likely to be better in both 2014 and 2015 combined.

The Kazmir signing also exposes a hard truth about the A's prospect pipeline right now: there are no projected top of the rotation starters down on the farm after Sonny Gray.  The rotation they have right now is a rotation that, barring a major trade, will have to last them for the next couple seasons.  Kazmir potentially fills that top of the rotation void, while guys like Dan Straily and Jarrod Parker will be expected to fill the average to above-average starter mold.

Finally, while the night was winding down, the A's posted the last transaction of the day.  They traded Jemile Weeks and a Player To Be Named Later for Jim Johnson.  While Johnson's $10.8M projected salary itself is large, the players the A's gave up are of no value right now.  Weeks had a breakout rookie season in 2011, but his star has significantly faded since.   He will get a fresh start in Baltimore, and likely compete for a 2B spot, which is still the position that makes the most sense for him.

Since this is an A's blog, we have to look at the payroll implications, and so far it appears the A's will carry a franchise high payroll.  It breaks down as follows:

Expense Type

Amount

Guaranteed Contracts (4)

$18,375,000

Options/Buyouts (2 + 2)

$17,600,000

Arbitration Awards by MLBTR (9)

$31,700,000

Free Agents (2)

$13,750,000

9 @ League Min. ($500K)

$4,500,000

Total

$85,925,000

This would be about $6.5M more than the previous high of $79.4M in 2007.  The ownership can clearly support $6M more in salary right now, but the question is can the A's use the reported increase in revenue each team is getting (around $25-27M) to add even more payroll than they have right now?  Or will they look to shed payroll by trading away Callaspo and/or Smith?

One thing is for sure: the A's are probably the most interesting team to follow this offseason.

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