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Oakland Acquires Oakland-y Player

Posted By Matthew Carruth On November 10, 2010 @ 11:07 pm In Daily Graphings | 105 Comments

In a trade that sheds some light on why the Athletics bid on Hishashi Iwakuma, Oakland today shipped out starting pitcher Vin Mazzaro to the Kansas City Royals along with prospect Justin Marks for outfielder David DeJesus.

Oakland’s third round pick in 2005, Mazzaro has spent most of the past two seasons in Oakland’s rotation making 35 total starts, but ended 2010 in the bullpen. Mazzaro will be just 24 next season and with his short amount of service time will be cost controlled and around for five more seasons. The benefits mostly end there. Mazzaro struggles to strike hitters out, is not particularly fond of finding the strike zone and is not a ground ball savant.

In 2010 in fact, Mazzaro’s FIP components (K, BB+HBP and HR rates) were all below average. Vin’s Minor League rates do no herald a much higher ceiling either. He managed to avoid home runs more adeptly there, but his ground ball rates (average to below in the Majors) were not significantly better and neither were his strikeout rates. In short, Mazzaro shows little promise of being any better than he is currently and he’s currently not very good; somewhere north of replacement level but well below league average.

Marks was Oakland’s third round pick in 2009 and has just one real season of professional ball under his belt with a vast majority of that time spent in Low-A ball. Marks was okay-ish there but it’s a ridiculously low level to be extrapolating anything from.

In exchange for those two terribly unexciting pitchers, the Royals shipped over David DeJesus. On the surface that makes sense as DeJesus is exactly the sort of player that the Athletics seem to collect. He doesn’t stand out in any particular way but he has no huge flaws either and plays pretty good defense. The problem is that the A’s already have about seven dozen of these players.

Over the last six seasons, DeJesus has rated at least 1.9 WAR per season, but never more than 3.8. He’s exceedingly likely to be worth his $6 million contract this year, but DeJesus is no giant gain in production and is a free agent after the 2011 season. In fact, Oakland’s primary motivator for acquiring DeJesus might be his looming free agent compensation where he’ll grant at least Type B status.

I loathe “in a nutshell” comments as a crutch for lazy writing, but this trade really fits these two teams’ motifs incredibly well. Oakland trades from a position of perceived strength to acquire actual strength and the Royals fail to properly evaluate talent or leverage their assets. Just another day in baseball.

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