The Trading A's: Are the A's pursuing an "age" Sweet Spot?

No wonder no one can hit in Petco, if they hold the bat like that. - Denis Poroy

Part 2. In The Trading A's Part 1, I looked at the Jed Lowrie, John Jaso, Billy Burns, Brett Anderson, Jim Johnson and Michael Choice trades. Today, I examine if there is an "age" sweet spot the A's are pursuing. I also look at the trades of Seth Smith, Chris Young, Grant Green, Kurt Suzuki, Tyson Ross, Cash Trades, minor trades, DFA's and an overall analysis on how the A's have done with trades the last few years.

The Trading A's Part 1,  Who do you want back? Poll at the end of Part 2.

First let me complete the rest of the trades the last few years:

  • Seth Smith (SDP). Smith has started off well for San Deigo with a 130wRC+ and .798 OPSLuke Gregerson was traded for to be a set up man. Gregerson (1.69 era/2.01 fip) 3.09/2.09 was Johnson insurance that has been used quickly in 2014. He has since become the A's #1 closer, but that may soon pass. Eric O'Flaherty is even more insurance coming soon to an A's team near you.
  • Chris Young (NYM). (1/7m). Has not played most of 2014 with a quad injury. I don't miss him already.
  • Cliff Pennington (ARZ). A back-up hitting 92wRC+ and a .659 OPS in 28 PA.
  • Yordi Cabrera (FLM) Has not played in the minors this year. Struggled in A+ last year.
  • Kurt Suzuki (MIN) (1/2.75m). Brought back to Oakland from Washington to cover Jaso/Norris injuries in August 2013, batted a nice .888 OPS for Oakland. Has started well for Minnesota. 119 wRC+/.764 OPS and good defense.
  • Dakota Bacus (NAT) A+ ( 1.5 era/3.5 fip in 20 inn since the Suzuki trade). I don't like that the Nationals seem to pick MLB caliber A ball pitchers from the A's. In the future, whomever they want, keep that one.
  • Grant Green (LAA)- 2014. .392/.432/.568 in 81 p.a. AAA. (162 wRC+/.900 OPS).
  • After his unimpressive Oakland debut, Green played much better in 40 LAA games in 2013. Only 2 more errors the rest of the way ( 2 errors in 5 Oakland games) and a (.720 OPS) after a (.000 OPS) in Oakland.  2B Howie Kendrick stands in his way through 2015/or trade, but it looks like Green will force the Angels hand soon.
  • Alberto Callaspo. (115 wRC+ and a .766 OPS in 2014). Was six years of Green way too much?
  • Steven Drew ( F.A.) Drew wasn't overly productive for the A's after the trade, but he was better than what came before.
  • Sean Jamieson SS (ARZ)- 2013 in A+ ball. 120 wRC+ .832 OPS. 2014 in AA. 138wRC+.790 OPS. Jamieson (25) is old for a prospect and even though productive, is not in the Diamondbacks top 20.

Pile_of_cash_4_medium


  • CASH- That's what Oakland traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in Aug 2012 for Jesse Chavez. (1.38 era/3 fip). So far for that cash, probably $500,000 or so, the reward has been one of the top 35 starting pitchers in 2014 by WAR.



    • Pat Neshek- RP ( STL) ($1m) ( 1.86 era/2.82 fip). In 69 total Oakland games pitched, Neshek lost two. Not so bad for another CASH trade.


    • Bartolo Colon (NYM)-(2/$20m) 5.40 era/5.12 fip. And he bats.
    • Scott Kazmir- (2/$22m) 1.65era/2.35 fip. #9 in Starter WAR, MLB.
    • It wasn't a trade but it kind of feels like it. The A's turned in a 41 y.o. starting pitcher for a 31 y.o. starting pitcher and early results are quite good.

    • Pedro Figuroa -RP 4 era/5.47 fip (TEX)
    • Adam Rosalas -IF (91wRC+ in AAA) (TEX)
    • Andy Parrino -IF ( 39 wRC+ in AAA) (TEX) (OAKLAND RANGERS).
    • Kevin Kouzmanoff -3B ( 181 wRC+, 1.029 OPS in 13 games) (TEX) Adrian Beltre has been on the 15 day D.L. The Texas strategy of picking up any and all ex-A's may have finally worked out. Tutu, do you have anything to add? Anything at all? How about if I restrict you to one word or less?
    • Scott Sizemore -3B (111wRC+ in 5 games) (NYY). Recently optioned to AAA since 3B rookie of the year candidate Yangervise Solart has started off with a 137 wRC+/.842 OPS.
    • John Wooton -OF (Abad trade): A ball. 79 wRC+ (NAT). Fernando Abad. 0.00era/1.47 fip
    • Corey Brown -OF (AAA) -21 wRC+ in 43 P.A. (BOS)
    • Travis Blackley- Playing for Japan in 2014.

    Two years ago:

    • Tyson Ross - Had a solid 2013 for the Padres (3.17era /3.20 fip) as his velocity and SwStk% jumped last year. He's an extreme ground ball pitcher in a pitcher’s park. He has followed that up with a solid not spectacular April in 2014. ( 3.16 era/3.83 fip) in 31 starter innings. The A's called him up at least one year to early ( his second pro season ), costing the A's Ross when his option years ran down. No one noticed or cared at the time. Andrew Werner and Andy Parrino have not panned out.
    • A.J. Kirby-Jones- 96 wRC+ in 2013 AA. No 2014 stats.
    • Jonny Gomes - (2/$10m). Had a spectacular 2012 for the A's. ( 142 wRC+ for $1m). Less so, for a lot more money, for the Red Sox in 2013. ( 109 wRC+). So far in 2014? A pedestrian ( 96 wRC+). For the record, I really wanted Gomes back after 2012. Even for 2/$10 million. He may be overpaid, but he also may have won a playoff game or two for the Red Sox.
    • Brandon McCarthy- (2/$16m). 4.53era/3.75fip in 2013. 6.23 era/5.37 fip in 2014. Meh and double meh.

    Is there an age sweet spot the Athletics are pursuing? Thats the trades over the last two years. The A's seemed to be building for the future with the Gio/Cahill/Baily trades, a future that came unexpectedly early. It now seems that the A's front office mostly has traded/obtained youthful veterans the last few years. Lowrie (30), Jaso (30), Kazmir (31), Callaspo (31), Gentry (30), Chavez (30), Moss (30) Johnson (31), Gregerson (30) are all 30/31 now. Is this a coincidence?

    O'Flahtery (29), Otero (29), Cespedes (28), Abad (28), and Lindblom (27) are not far behind. The players the A's traded or let go? Most are mid 20's, later 30's, or injury risks. Colon (41), Balfour (36), Gomes (33), Neshek (33). Anderson (26) Weeks (26), Green (25), Choice (24). The A's do not want any questions of youth or age. The A's don't normally do coincidence.

    *Aging curve primer: Fangraphs: Are Aging Curves Changing?

    Final Analysis:

    I think the A's have done a great job with trades the last few years. Of course they sacrificed a large amount of prospects and youth. But the goal was is to win the division. This year. And to win the World Series. THIS YEAR. This front office has proven time and again they know what they are doing. They have a good plan, and they know which players fit that plan.

    A.J. Cole may work out, but he still could flame out. Jaso is not the greatest catcher in the world overall, but with Norris, he works out quite well in a platoon. (Best C platoon in MLB). *Primer: The Hardball Times: Best Platoon Players by position.

    Other than A.J.Cole, I would be hard pressed to really complain about any trades by the A's the last few years were the A's have lost someone of importance above and beyond what they gained in return. Ross would be nice to take back, but for a winning team with his option situation they did what they had to.

    All things being equal, home field advantage is better than not having it. It may be a small advantage. It may not work out. But it’s something. If you haven't gotten through the first round for two years, get better. Being utterly dominate got the A’s to three world series in a row in 88-90. Back then the A's had money to throw around.

    I like seeing the A's try and employ that strategy again. This time around there is little money to throw around. But there are still prospects and for this franchise at this moment in time, prospects are cash. I am firmly in the camp for the A's to upgrade the roster through trade's even more. There are still plenty of A's prospects that I will probably not ever miss.

    If the A's traded three or four more prospects this year (#5-#30 range), they can still improve the team on the back end. Trade early ( better 1B platoon to name one), trade often, (whatever is needed mid-season),  trade late (could the A's land another Steven Drew type trade in August?). I say Carpe Diem. Seize the day.

    *I had to have missed a few players, please feel free to point them out.

    -OmahaHi

    Bonus: Two 1/2 years ago. What an off-season that was. It turns out all of those pitcher trades were also win now but no one knew it at the time.

    Resizedimage__54__medium

    A blast from the past; the OmahaHi way back machine archive: Why the A's should trade Cahill AND another Starting Pitcher.

    • Trevor Cahill. 2012- (2.9 WAR) 2013- ( .9 WAR )
    • 2014. 6.85era/ 4.34 fip. After four bad starts, Has been moved to the bullpen. He may be the new closer.
    • Jarrod Parker (out for 2014) Ryan Cook ( injured to start 2014) Collin Cowgill- (LAA). ( 179 wRC+ !!!) (75 UZR/150 !!!) in 15 games in 2014. Does Cowgill or Kouz win the SSS marathon for the month?


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Why Billy?-------------------------------------

    • Gio Gonzalez 2012 (5 WAR) 2013 (3.1 WAR)
    • Traded for Derek Norris (1/2 C), A.J. Cole (1/2 of Jaso), Brad Peacock (1/3rd of Lowrie) and Tommy Milone ( #58 in starting pitcher WAR 2012-2014).
    • 2014- 3.00 era/3.16 fip. Strong start, but is Gio slowing down?
    • Andrew Bailey- 2012- (15 ip) 2013- (29 ip). They were not good innings as well.
    • 2014- Minor League deal with (NYY). No stats.
    • Josh Reddick, (on pace for 9 walk-offs all by himself this year ;-), Raul Alcantara SP (2.29era/2.97fip in AA (A's #3 prospect), Miles Head 1B/3B (48wRC+ in AA).
    • Brad Ziegler- (ARZ) Ziegler has pitched in 190 games for Arizona since the Brandon Allen trade in 2011. He's lost two of those games. He gets saves whenever asked and he has an era of around 2 since then as well. Fans may remember Ziegler's 39 consecutive scoreless innings to start a career, breaking several Oakland, rookie, and modern MLB records.
    • Brandon Allen- 114wRC+ in AAA in 2013. Injured to start 2014.
    • Jordon Noberto- Signed a minor league deal with S.F. in 2014. PED Suspension.

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