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Billy Beane Adds 4 Pitchers To The A’s Flock, Plus Gentry – Only Surrenders Weeks. Choice + Smith

Billy Beane is the perfect 'Baseball Rounder'. We all see that the moves the A's GM made yesterday where another way to gain assets in the short term - without losing much in the long run. With the A's usually operating at around the $65 MIL mark the last few years, and now being somewhere in the $75 MIL range, look for Beane to stay active in the transactions throughout this winter to shed payroll - and to receive team controllable players.

Billy Beane is the perfect ‘Baseball Rounder’. We all see that the moves the A’s GM made yesterday and today – where another way to gain assets in the short term – without losing much in the long run. With the A’s usually operating at around the $65 MIL mark the last few years, and now being somewhere in the $75 MIL range, look for Beane to stay active in the transactions throughout this winter to shed payroll – and to receive team controllable players.  The Athletics gain 4 players in these acquisitions that all saw significant playing time in the MLB, where the outgoing guys spent the majority of (if not all) their time in the Minors last year

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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I said it last week in a Cards article that there were 3 teams that have perfected ‘baseball rounding’, and these teams were the Cardinals, A’s and Tampa Bay.

While the Oakland and Tampa Bay teams don’t have the wherewithal to do this as extensively as the St. Louis franchise, they have the master of the trade in Billy Beane.

“Baseball Rounding” is defined by organizations who always roundup Free Agents, Waiver Wire Deals, Rule 5 guys, or sell high when they know a player is past his projections, in order to obtain assets coming back.

The purpose of these deals is that the organization never touches the main core, meaning the franchise will be in awesome shape if you know how to groom players in your Minor League System after you draft them.

Scott Kazmir 2013 Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance Is Advised

Scott Kazmir revived his career in 2013, by going 10 - 9, with a 4.04 ERA in his 29 Game Starts for the Cleveland Indians in 2013.  What is better for the A's - is that the about to be 30 Year old, fanned 162 batters - and only yielded 47 Walks in his 158.0 IP worth of work.  His WHIP of 1.323 was his best result since his 2008 season with the Rays.  Kazmir may be a bit of a risk, however he is Left Handed, was a smaller year risk than most pitchers will warrant, and the A's did not have to surrender any asset back in return.  In fact, they will be able to deal one of their other starters now (possibly Brett Anderson) - to strengthen the club even more now.

Scott Kazmir revived his career in 2013, by going 10 – 9, with a 4.04 ERA in his 29 Game Starts for the Cleveland Indians in 2013. What is better for the A’s – is that the about to be 30 Year old, fanned 162 batters – and only yielded 47 Walks in his 158.0 IP worth of work. His WHIP of 1.323 was his best result since his 2008 season with the Rays. Kazmir may be a bit of a risk, however he is Left Handed, was a smaller year risk than most pitchers will warrant, and the A’s did not have to surrender any asset back in return. In fact, they will be able to deal one of their other starters now (possibly Brett Anderson) – to strengthen the club even more now.

In 2 separate deals yesterday and one today, Beane managed to secure his #5 Starter – potentially a Closer – a 4th OF in Craig Gentry, plus a depth RP in Josh Lindblomall for the just the assets departing outbound in Michael Choice and  Jemile Weeks.

If you want to read what the Orioles side of that deal, read our article on it here

Beane was able to do this by giving Free Agent Scott Kazmir a 2 year deal for $22 MIL.  Now some would call this a bit of an overpay, but I do not.

I see this move as a pre – cursor to the man now being able to trade Brett Anderson, and dare I say it – maybe the likes of Jed Lowrie for a couple of players that can help his 2014 offense and beyond.

Lowrie is Arbitration Eligible for just one more year before hitting Free Agency, and will probably net a nice raise to about $5 – 6 MIL for the 2014 year this winter.

Beane has to start thinking about 2015 a little here too, as Coco Crisp is also a Free Agent in 2015. 

Okay, before I get back to the last statement, Beane also flipped the incumbent Weeks to Baltimore for Jim Johnson.

This works on so many levels for the Oakland A’s.  Their GM  now has trade chips heading into the Winter Meetings later on this week.

On the surface, I just can’t see Oakland being cool with approximately carrying $75 MIL on the books for next year’s payroll.

The team is stacked on the starters end with Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Sonny Gray, Dan Straily, Brett Anderson and Jarrod Parker all being alongside Scott Kazmir.

There is 7 potential starters.  So there is no way the club will field this many when the team breaks for Spring Training.

Beane is smart.  What he has done here is effectively traded a player (who was not in their plans anymore) away for a Closer – that works out to be a 1 YR Deal/$10 – 11 $MIL dollars.

Next season, the club can then offer him the 1 YR Qualifying Offer – at a slight payraise, (if he can rake in a good campaign for 2014) – or just let him walk.

I am also confident that Jim Johnson will not be the only option the A’s will have to close games.

Their Bullpen is a position of strength with Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins all having solid contributions in the 2013 year, and are coming back for 2014.

While it is not usually like Beane to move offensively gifted players such as Michael Choice for defense and pitching, the A's GM is really going for it in 2014.  Choice has a Minor League Slash Line of .290/.376/.858 - with 61 HRs and 255 RBI In 1455 AB.  Choice was made available for trade when the team opted to tender Seth Smith a contract this week.

While it is not usually like Beane to move offensively gifted players such as Michael Choice for defense and pitching, the A’s GM is really going for it in 2014. Choice has a Minor League Slash Line of .290/.376/.858 – with 61 HRs and 255 RBI In 1455 AB. Caught up in an OF numbers game for 2014, Choice was made available for trade when the team opted to tender Seth Smith a contract this week.

The deal today for Lindblom gives them another depth guy down there for the Relievers. 

Lindblom, 26, has played for 4 separate teams in 4 years, has lugged 138.2 IP – and has put forth a 3.82 ERA. 

Craig Gentry, 30, gives the A’s the ability to make defensive changes late in the game, or give the day off defensively to Yoenis Cespedes or Coco Crisp if they DH. 

Gentry has a 3 Slash Line career of .280/.355/.721 – with 56 SB and 104 Runs Scored in just 669 AB.  Those totals reflect about what a season worth looks like.  He is one of the fastest players in the game.

Oakland is also trading Minor League INF Chris Bostick (20)  to Texas.

This trade should end up working good for both clubs.

Back To The Impact of the Jim Johnson Deal

What this does, is makes the A’s not negligible on signing a Closer for more than 1 year this winter.

Maybe if they came to terms with a Fernando Rodney, Jose Veras or even Brian Wilson for that matter, the numbers would have been escalated more than potentially what Johnson will receive for just this next year.

The man may have had some tough stretches in 2013,  but he is no bum.

While Saves don’t particularly tell you whether a guy is great or not as a Closer, ERA and WHIP do when you can muster up 70+ Innings. 

Johnson has been under 3 for an ERA in the last 3 seasons, while he has appeared in 69 games or more in each year too.

While his WHIP was higher in 2013 at 1.28, compared to where he career best in 2012 was at in 1.019, the man still was able to get the job done most of the time.

The A’s were blessed in the last 2 campaigns by Grant Balfour‘s dominance.  Unfortunately for them, the Aussie priced himself out of their pay scale.

Balfour should be able to command a 2 – 3 year deal at $10 – 12 $MIL per annum based on his play.  The dollars didn’t make sense to bring him back either.

Also, with the overstock of starters and young talent. you can easily wait to figure out your Closer’s situation at a later date.

At the very least, Beane has added more assets to the fold.  If they still need a new Stopper in the 9th by the time the Trade Deadline approaches in 2014, don’t be surprised to see him flip a player for him.

Beane has shown a willingness to deals for players at the Deadline, like he did with Alberto Callaspo and Kurt Suzuki this past year.

Good for the A’s to pick up another reliever with a decent track record, that will not break their bank account if they happen to be wrong about him.

Jim Johnson has registered an MLB leading 101 Saves over the last 2 years.  While he had some stretches where he didn't perform as well in 2013, he still managed to feature a 2.94 ERA.  This was his 3rd season in a row with at least 69 Appearances and a ERA under 3.  Trading for Johnson is essentially signing the guy to a 1 YR Deal for approximately 10 - 11 he will receive in Arbitration during 2014 before becoming a Free Agent in 2014.  Johnson has a 3.11 ERA in exactly 400 IP over his 8 years in the Major Leagues.

Jim Johnson has registered an MLB leading 101 Saves over the last 2 years. While he had some stretches where he didn’t perform as well in 2013, he still managed to feature a 2.94 ERA. This was his 3rd season in a row with at least 69 Appearances and a ERA under 3. Trading for Johnson is essentially signing the guy to a 1 YR Deal for approximately 10 – 11 he will receive in Arbitration during 2014 before becoming a Free Agent in 2014. Johnson has a 3.11 ERA in exactly 400 IP over his 8 years in the Major Leagues.

Luke Gregerson has authored 5 brilliant seasons coming out of the Padres Bullpen.  He has a 2.78 ERA and 1.092 WHIP in his 347 IP worth of work.  The 29 Year Old from Park Ridge, IL originally, has averaged appearing in 68 games a year.

Luke Gregerson has authored 5 brilliant seasons coming out of the Padres Bullpen. He has a 2.78 ERA and 1.092 WHIP in his 347 IP worth of work. The 29 Year Old from Park Ridge, IL originally, has averaged appearing in 68 games a year.  The A’s will use him as a late inning arm with Jim Johnson, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle also being capable inning’s eater to nail down shut victories.  Gregerson is in his 3rd Year (made $3.2 MIL) of Arbitration before he hits the Free Agent Market in 2015.

The Athletics land Luke Gregerson For Seth Smith

Billy Beane ended his whirlwind day on Tuesday. by flipping just signed OF/DH/PH Seth Smith to the San Diego Padres for Relief Pitcher Luke Gregerson.

In what can only be described as shock, I can’t believe the Padres could be this brutal in talent evaluation.

Beane has continued his pillaging from all other franchises.

The result was that he never touched any of the 9 Starting Players from his offense, zero from his Rotation, and only 2 Minor League Players from last season, to acquire 2 potential Closers/late inning relievers, a premiere CF defender, and a nice #5 Starter in return.

There is no doubt that Seth Smith is a 'nice' professional hitter, - with a Career 3 Slash Line of .265/.432/.798 - but you have to be cautious when believing all of the hype - as he has played the majority of his career at Coors Field - where he was .299/.370/.937 for the Rockies.  His Athletics numbers probably reflect more of his real totals.  In 751 AB from 2012 - 2013, the OF/PH/DH hit .246/.331/.748

There is no doubt that Seth Smith is a ‘nice’ professional hitter, – with a Career 3 Slash Line of .265/.432/.798 – but you have to be cautious when believing all of the hype – as he has played the majority of his career at Coors Field – where he was .299/.370/.937 for the Rockies. His Athletics numbers probably reflect more of his real totals. In 751 AB from 2012 – 2013, the OF/PH/DH hit .246/.331/.748.  At least he is really familiar with the NL West.  On a positive note, the man has hit really well at Petco Park, with an OPS of .812 in 79 AB while playing in San Diego.  Smith was just tendered Arbitration hours before he was dealt for Gregerson.

I think that the Oakland A’s GM is not done either.  He is cooking up something else.  He has an abundance of Starting Pitching, (where he could definitely offload Brett Anderson‘s $8 MIL deal in 2014.)

The Athletics have also given themselves options beyond the 2014 season.  But for now. we should talk about this specific deal.

Luke Gregerson, a former 28th RD Draft Pick for the St. Louis Cardinals (pause now for a moment to remember the Joe Pesci moment where he says “there is a f’n surprise” to Fred Gwynne in the movie ‘My Cousin Vinny”) – has put forth 3 great consecutive years for the Padres Relief Core.

Seth Smith has been living off of his Coors Field inflated numbers.  I am not saying that he is not a legitimate OF in the MLB, because he is, this is just a case of determining value for value.

Both of these men are in the last year of their Arbitration Clocks, and will hit Free Agency in 2015.

A lot of the Athletics fanbase was wondering if the management was even going to tender Seth Smith for 2014.  When it was revealed that he was, I knew he was cooking something up.

We praise Beane on this site a lot because he deserves it.

A few days ago, he was sitting with a roster that wasn’t sure who the Closer was going to be, and had to be fearful of outbidding any of the to other franchises to fix this problem via Free Agency.

Oakland simply can’t afford to address their squad every year by signing a bunch of guys to multi-year deals – worth mega bucks.

In the last 48 hours, the man has given a perfect assembly of late inning arms to close out games.

The A’s already have quality arms out of their Relief Core in Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, Jerry Blevins and Dan Otero.

The 7th Inning and beyond looks great now by adding Gregerson (who has Closer experience) and Jim Johnson.  Here is a grid of the 2013 Bullpen numbers now.

Beane has given himself great flexibility for duplicating similar transactions next year again.  The guy is the perfect ‘Baseball rounder’.

What the A’s also now is the time to strike is now…The window is only going to be for a few years.

Coco Crisp, Alberto Callaspo Jed Lowrie join Gregerson and Johnson as players in their last years of their team control and Yoenis Cespedes is free to leave after the 2015 year – with John Jaso, Jerry Blevins up for Free Agency in 2016.

It is impossible to keep up with the payroll for the 2 time defending champions.  Beane seems to have done enough creative maneuvering to have his team competitive again for 2014.

Billy Beane - and the Athletics have seen their team post the best record in the MLB during the regular season for the last 2 years (190 Wins).  The franchise has completed the most incredible amount of wins per dollar spent.  Enough so, that they should really come out with the movie MoneyBall 2

Billy Beane – and the Athletics have seen their team post the best record in the MLB during the regular season for the last 2 years (190 Wins). The franchise has completed the most incredible amount of wins per dollar spent. Enough so, that they should really come out with the movie MoneyBall 2.  The underlying theme will continues as “How long can he do this much – with so little.

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries Posts that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

Chuck Booth – Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:   To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here .

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at https://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/

Posted on December 3, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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