We already have our first Oakland Athletics rumor of the offseason. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the A's have no interest in trading third baseman Josh Donaldson, which is good. In fact, they are "adamant" about keeping him this winter, which is even better. They also aren't actively trying to trade starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija or Scott Kazmir, but they would at least be willing to listen if a great offer came around.
Rosenthal goes on to say that Billy Beane believes the A's can make a fourth straight postseason run in 2015, which suggests we will not witness a full rebuild this winter. He also notes that the free agent market is "flooded" with starting pitchers, as is the trade market, meaning that even if Billy did want to deal one of his starters he would be better off waiting until another time when the demand is higher, the supply is lower, and the potential return is better (say, the July trade deadline). His big finish:
In any case, the A's figure to add rather than subtract in the coming months, then reassess. They're not trading Donaldson. They're not shopping Samardzija and Kazmir.
At least for the moment, they're trying to rebound.
This sounds like good news to me. Last year's collapse was bad enough, but if it immediately led into a full rebuild that would just be an even bigger bummer. It's always more fun to see your team go for it. I will note that Billy Beane usually says exactly what he wants to say, not always exactly what he means; he could simply claim that someone like Donaldson is off-limits just to raise his price tag. However, I don't think that's the case here. Donaldson is a legitimate two-way superstar under (relatively) cheap team control for four more years. There is just no reason to trade him -- he's not getting old or prohibitively expensive, and no one thinks he's a fluke whom we have to sell high on as soon as possible. It's hard to imagine a realistic trade that I think would be worth it.
As for Shark and Kaz, I agree with Rosenthal that this is not the time to trade them. Teams will be fighting over aces (Lester, Scherzer, Shields), midlevel guys (Santana, Liriano, McCarthy, Hammel, Volquez), and buy-low flyers (Masterson, Peavy, Vogelsong, Young), with Japanese import Kenta Maeda adding one more intriguing name to the pile. And that's before you factor in any starters who might be available via trade. There is so much pitching available that teams have no reason to give up serious assets right now; the only reason to pull the trigger this early is if they were able to steal one of our guys for an underwhelming package. Furthermore, keeping them both around for all of 2015 gives the A's a chance to hand out qualifying offers after the season, which means the team could get the on-field production and a couple first-round picks in return down the road (or, at worst, an expensive one-year deal for 2016).
If I had to choose between them, I'd rather keep Shark and deal Kazmir. I believe in Shark as a No. 2 starter, but Kazmir scared me with his second-half struggles last year. But for the same reason, I wouldn't want to trade Kaz until he's had some time to rebuild his value with a strong start in 2015. And, to be clear, I'd rather keep both of them to start the year.
What do you think about this news? How reliever are you that Billy isn't planning to rebuild? What kind of trade package would it take for you to want to give up any of Donaldson, Shark, or Kaz? Does such a package even exist, in your mind? Let's hash it out in the comments!