I'd like to preface this by saying I'm not an "In Billy We Trust" kind of guy. I believe he's a good GM. Not a great GM.
There's been a lot of doubt regarding his ability to evaluate talent and get the kind of quality players needed for a winning season. But as the Athletics sit 1.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot — yes, really — I wanted to analyze the value of the many trades he made this offseason.
- To Arizona: Trevor Cahill, Craig Breslow
- To Oakland: Ryan Cook, Collin Cowgill and Jarrod Parker
So far this year, Cahill has done well, but not outstanding for Arizona, going 7-7 with a 3.64 ERA and 4.11 FIP. Breslow has also been solid, but not spectacular (2-0, 2.92 ERA, 3.96 FIP). Cahill has a 1.5 fWAR this year, Breslow 0.2.
This trade is working out very well for Oakland so far. Cook has gone from barely making the squad out of spring training to the All-Star roster. Jarrod Parker has shown flashes of brilliance, including taking a no-hitter deep into a game with Texas. Collin Cowgill, in 32 games, has outproduced Kurt Suzuki in 67, but that's saying more about Suzuki. Cowgill: 0.3 fWAR, Cook: 1.0, Parker 1.5.
fWAR differential: +1.1. So far, good trade.
- To Washington: Robert Gilliam, Gio Gonzalez
- To Oakland: AJ Cole, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris, Brad Peacock
This one stings a bit, because not only is Gonzalez a hell of a guy, he has blossomed in the NL. The All-Star pitcher has been just as good as fireballing phenom Stephen Strasburg (both have a 3.1 fWAR). Gilliam is scuffling in AA.
The returns from this trade won't really be evident for a couple more years, as touted prospect AJ Cole is in Low-A Burlington (and doing well, after struggling in High-A Stockton) and Brad Peacock is in AAA Sacramento (and getting no help from his teammates... 7.12 ERA, but 3.91 FIP). The two players to make it to Oakland have done brilliantly, though. Milone has been a shutdown pitcher at home (not so much on the road) and Norris is already a folk hero for his walkoff home run against the Giants. Milone: 1.0 fWAR, Norris: 0.1.
fWAR differential: -2.0. Ouch, but we can't pass judgement on this trade just yet.
- To Boston: Ryan Sweeney, Andrew Bailey
- To Oakland: Josh Reddick, Miles Head, Raul Alcantara
This one looks like robbery so far. Andrew Bailey injured his thumb in spring training and has yet to throw a pitch for the Red Sox. Ryan Sweeney has been good, but not spectacular, in 55 games with Boston (.279/.318/.393, 0.9 fWAR).
Josh Reddick has been nothing short of a revelation for Oakland, posting a team-best 3.3 fWAR. Miles Head, a corner infielder, killed the California League and is now doing well for AA-Midland. Alcantara has not done well in A-Burlington.
fWAR differential: +2.4. Reddickulous.
- To Colorado: Guillermo Moscoso, Josh Outman, Josh Outman's stirrups
- To Oakland: Seth Smith
This is another early win for Oakland. Moscoso saw success in an extreme pitcher's park... and hasn't exactly been able to replicate it in the hitter's haven that is Coors Field. Outman has also struggled as a reliever and starter for the Rockies. Outman: 0.2 fWAR, Moscoso: -0.1. The loss of quality hosiery cannot be quantified.
Seth Smith has quietly been a key contributor, ranking third on the team (batting-wise) with 1.1 fWAR.
fWAR differential: +1.0. Thanks, Colorado!