by Jerry Feitelberg
The last few days at the A’s headquarters in Oakland have been a beehive of activity as “Trader” Billy Beane had decided to break up A’s and rebuild the team once more. The Trades that he made this summer starting with Cespedes for Jon Lester and Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardizija appeared not to have been the recipe for getting the A’s into the World Series. Lester was a two monthe rental and is ,right,now, in line fro a huge payday from either the Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers or Giants. Jason Hammel
went back to the Cubs and Jeff Samardizija is on his way to the White Sox. The A’s also sent pitcher Muchael Ynoa to the White Sox and got four players with little or no majr league experience. They received Pitcher, Chris Bassitt,cather Josh Phlegley, first baseman Angel Raveda and infielder Marcus Semien.In the Meantime, the A’s lost their number one prospect, shortstop Addison Russell, to the Cubs in the trade for Samardizija and Hammell.
After the one game loss in the playoffs to the Royals, the conventional thinking was that the A’s would strengthen their core by addition rather than subtraction. Beane shocked the baseball world be sending their best player Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brent Lawrie and three prospects. Not only was the baseball world shocked, the A’s fans were in a state of disbelief as the team lost its best player for a third baseman who was ok defensively but not in Donaldson’s league as a hitter.
Then to compound matters, Beane sent Brandon Moss to Cleveland for a double-A second baseman who was about number nine on Cleveland’s list of prospects. Moss, who was really sad to leave Oakland, said that the A’s gave hime a chance to play and he came through big time for them. He played first base, right field and left field for the A’s. Unfortunately, Moss had a hip injury that slowed him down in the second half of 2014 but he had surgery and was looking to rebound in 2015.
The A’s have traded their number 3,4 and 5 hitters and have gotten back some prospects and a lot of question marks.
The starting pitching looks solid with Sonny Gray,Scott Kashmir, Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin returning. The last two , Parker and Griffin, are coming off Tommy John surgery and it remains to be seen how effective they will be. The bullpen lost Luke Regression but still has Dan Rooter, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle.
The team has holes that may or may not be fixed by these trades. The A’s have three catchers, John Jaso, Derek Norris and Stephen Vogt. That gives them some flexibility as Vogt can DH or play first base. The A’s signed the former Royal Billy Butler as a right handed DH and first baseman,too. They still do not know who will be at shortstop or second base. Eric Sogar is a possibility at second but is he an everyday player? The A’s outfield will have Josh Reddick in right field. Reddick played well his first year but was slowed by injuries the last two years but did come to life late in the season. Coco Crisp is getting up in age and seems to have more injuries every year and left field duties will be split by Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry.
This scenario does not look a team that is going to contend for the western division crown in 2015, The Mariners have gotten better with the addition of Nelson Cruz. The Angels won the division by 10 games behind MVP Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Howie Kendrick. The A’s can’t match the Angels or Mariners firepower now.
So for Cespedes, Donaldson and Moss, I wish you all well in your new baseball homes. It was great fun watching the three of you play here in Oakland. Brandon, I will miss you the most as you let me go home at 20 minutes of two one morning in a nineteen inning game against the Angels when you hit the winning home run. Would love to have all three of you back in the green and gold but because of the way you produced, it looked like the A’s were not willing to let you to have any more green or gold. That would have to come from your new employers.