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The Lasting Impact of Trades

The title of this piece is beyond obvious. Everyone knows trades can have far sweeping ramifications for a club - I know that, I'd hope everyone else on Athletics Nation knows that as well. But while perusing one of the cooler baseball websites today, it sort of rehashed that thought process of just how much one trade is tied to subsequent moves. From MLB Trade Trees comes this chart outlining the Mark Mulder trade

Pretty simple trade: Mulder - product of Legends Division champion Michigan State - went to St. Louis, Daric Barton, Kiko Calero and Dan Haren came back. Now hopefully you clicked the above link so you can see why this site is cool, it looks at what happens after the fact. Sometimes it is pretty obvious because one guy is flipped relatively quickly and you can sort out the perceived ultimate return in your head. But here we had a pretty good time with Dan Haren before he himself was traded in a significant deal that netted Brett Anderson, Chris Carter, Aaron Cunningham, Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez and Greg Smith from Arizona. Of course not all these guys stayed with Oakland, most notably Carlos Gonzalez along with Greg Smith and thrown in there was Huston Street too, were sent to Colorado to get Matt Holliday. Furthermore Aaron Cunningham was sent packing with Scott Hairston to get Kevin Kouzmanoff and Eric Sogard, Finally, Dana Eveland was sent to Toronto for cash. But it doesn't end there because of those guys sent to get Holliday when we traded Holliday to the Cardinals we got back Clayton Mortensen, Shane Peterson and Brett Wallace. We flipped Wallace in a deal with Toronto to get Michael Taylor, and Mortensen was sent to Colorado for Ethan Hollingsworth. Just a month or two ago Hollingsworth himself was sent to Kansas City to get Kila Ka'aihue While Kouzmanoff was sent to Colorado for cash.

The final tally is this, had the A's not traded Mark Mulder on December 18th, 2004 today's A's would be without, Brett Anderson, Daric Barton, Chris Carter, Kila Ka'aihue, Shane Peterson, Eric Sogard and Michael Taylor. Now the snarky A's fan can be so what, surely the names that passed through some of these deals are far more significant, Carlos Gonzalez, Dan Haren, Matt Holliday, Mark Mulder and Huston Street are some pretty significant ballplayers. But that is how long trades can hold significant sway over how a team is constructed. A good portion of the 2012 A's will be determined in part by a deal made eight years earlier involving four players, two of whom have since left baseball even.

What is ironic about this whole exercise in looking at the series of events that lead to how our roster is constructed today is that I was thinking about writing about how Shane Peterson left unprotected in the Rule V Draft could mean that ultimately it could end up that we dealt Matt Holliday for whatever Kila Ka'aihue ends up being worth, but then that peeling of the onion reveals so much more. While the Holliday "trade tree" would still end up with potentially Ka'aihue as the lone result (even if Peterson is selected the odds of him staying with the selecting club all season are still very limited, he split time between Midland and Sacramento going a combined .274/.366/.421 with 9 home runs in 105 games with a .344 wOBA in Midland and a .377 wOBA in Sacremento) it is amazing to see how much led to the trade with Holliday. 

You can of course do this with other A's too and it is fascinating how quickly the trade trees grow and all the unexpected pieces involved.