As you know, correlation is completely causation. The A's have made their 4th "buh-bye All-Star!" trade and write you from SFO awaiting my flights that will land me in Madrid. Coincidence? No. I purchased my tickets months ago precisely because I knew these trades would happen and by the way I'm sorry I forgot to mention they would happen.
I like the Derek Norris trade, because even though Norris put a Stomper-sized exclamation point on my 45th birthday celebration by whacking a 3-2 pitch from Santiago Casilla for a walk-off HR in his third-ever game ... the fact remains that Norris' pitch calling, pitch framing, and throwing left quite a bit to be desired, and his value against RHP is still a bit unclear. And bad backs don't tend to get better.
Mostly, though, I really like the return for Norris. I foresee very Jarrod Parker-y things from Jesse Hahn: First profile, according to scouting reports, as a mid-rotation SP, then actually pitch like more of a front-line SP, then eventually get hurt and have a second Tommy John Surgery. If the A's are fortunate, they will get several healthy seasons out of Hahn and if not, they still may get a couple, followed by a year off, followed by hopes of a really good reliever.
Meanwhile, R.J. Alvarez sounds like he has a good chance to become the A's best RH reliever, allowing Oakland to make a seamless transition from the Luke Gregerson era. Ryan Cook is erratic, and as a pitch-to-contact guy who can go more than 1 inning Dan Otero is best suited to middle relief than he is to set up duty.
Finally, I never got a chance to post an article I wrote explaining why it might make sense for the A's to trade Norris. I didn't publish it because before the ink could dry on my laptop Oakland traded Josh Donaldson and the whole "here's a thought about trading Derek Norris" angle seemed a bit ill-timed.
Part of my reasoning had to do with how closely I thought Oakland could approximate Norris' overall value with Stephen Vogt platooning with someone like (at the time) Geovany Soto or (now) Josh Phegley. That combination is likely to be as good defensively, better against RHP and a bit worse against LHP. Pretty close overall, so if you can get good value for Norris -- which I believe the A's have done -- I thought it was the player who might make the most sense to trade.
So then the A's dealt Donaldson. And Moss. And Samardzija. But finally came around to Norris. I think we got a great pitcher in Hahn and we didn't have to take Hahn solo! I'll pause until you get that...
I know, right? Finally, if 2012 taught me anything it's that you have to see a season play out before you can conclude whether or not the A's can compete. That doesn't mean 2012 was the norm, or wasn't magical. What it means is that in 2015 a lot has to break right for the A's to compete -- and the pieces are going to be there for it to happen. Longer odds? Sure. Count Oakland out in December? Unwise.
OK, onto Andalusia ... Have a happy and safe holiday and I'll see y'all in the new year!