Billy Beane Adds 4 Pitchers To The A’s Flock, Plus Gentry – Only Surrenders Weeks. Choice + Smith
By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
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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
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 Lindblom – all 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Athletics land Luke Gregerson For Seth Smith
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.
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 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.
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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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Posted on December 3, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @chuckbooth3024 on twitter, @MLBreports on twitter, A.J. Griffin, AL West, alberto callaspo, athletics, billy beane, brett anderson, cardinals, cleveland indians, coco crisp, craig gentry, dan straily, fernando rodney, grant balfour, jarrod parker, jemille weeks, jesse crain, jim johnson, josh lindblom, kurt suzuki, michael choice, orioles, scott kazmir, sean doolittle, sonny gray, tigers, tommy millone. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.