So What Are the A’s Doing Anyway?

Four months ago, the A’s made the biggest splash of the summer, trading elite prospect Addison Russell in a package that landed them both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. It was a clear go-for-it trade, giving up a player rated as one of the 5-10 best prospects in baseball in exchange for a short-term upgrade, as they were renting just a few months of Hammel’s services, and only getting another year and change from Samardzija. It was the kind of deal that the team would likely regret if they didn’t have a deep playoff run in either 2014 or 2015. They followed up on that aggressive stance by trading Yoenis Cespedes for Jon Lester, moving even more of their assets into the present at the expense of the future.

We know what happened to finish out 2014; the A’s played very poorly down the stretch, lost out in the division race to the Angels, and then saw the Royals literally outrun them in Game 163. The window that the team worked so hard to open slammed shut in their face. Lester and Hammel are both going to pitch elsewhere next year, and Jed Lowrie and Luke Gregerson are almost certainly going to find new homes this winter as well. Next year’s A’s were simply never going to look like last year’s version, and the A’s just made extra sure of that by trading away their best player, third baseman Josh Donaldson.

On the surface, it’s easy to look at this move and think that it suggests the A’s are switching back into a build-for-the-future mode. Beane’s post-trade comments even suggest that this is perhaps the right interpretation of this trade. From MLB.com’s Jane Lee:

I don’t buy the 11 game difference thing, given that the A’s and Angels project to run nearly dead even next year, but the last few words of that quote are pretty interesting. Beane looked at this team and saw a roster in decline. He wanted to change that, and the primary way you go from decline to incline in baseball is to get younger. This deal absolutely makes the A’s younger.

Donaldson turns 29 next week; Brett Lawrie turns 25 in January. In the baseball timeline, four years is an eternity, especially these particular four years. Historically, player’s peak ages have been in their late-20s, meaning Donaldson is probably just headed out of his peak, while Lawrie is theoretically headed into his. Swapping Donaldson for Lawrie absolutely makes the A’s worse in 2015, but it does change the trajectory of one of the team’s core pieces; there is a decent likelihood that Lawrie’s best days are in front of him, while Donaldson’s are most likely behind him.

In some sense, this is a version of buying low and selling high. As I mused on Twitter, this deal would have been seen as completely insane for Toronto just two years ago, when Lawrie looked like a franchise cornerstone while Donaldson was a 26 year old who spent most of the year in the PCL, then didn’t hit much in the big leagues when given a shot. Lawrie’s stock has since fallen fairly rapidly, while perhaps no in baseball has done more to raise their stature in the last 24 months than Donaldson.

We absolutely want to weight recent information the most heavily, and the last few years suggest that Donaldson is indeed an elite player, but we should at least keep in mind that it wasn’t that long ago that the consensus was that Lawrie might be a future superstar as well. While his star has faded, it seems likely that we shouldn’t completely discount the idea of Lawrie yet turning into what he was supposed to be, or at least some version closer to that mark than he’s shown to date. It’s easy to look at the last few years and see this as a major downgrade for the A’s, but perhaps the step backwards isn’t quite as large as it might appear at first glance.

After all, when Lawrie has been on the field, he’s actually been quite good. He’s at +7.9 WAR in 1,431 career plate appearances, or an average of +3.4 WAR per 600 PAs. Guys who can perform at an above average level from 21-24 often turn into stars from 25-28, and age is the primary reason why Steamer is very bullish on Lawrie as a hitter for 2015, projecting him for a 115 wRC+. Toss in the defensive value, and on a per-600 plate appearance basis, Steamer actually sees Lawrie as a +4 WAR player. That projection makes him essentially the equal of Kyle Seager — again, this is assuming equal playing time, which is not a good assumption based on their past health records — and Seager just got a $100 million extension with the same level of service time as Lawrie has now.

Lawrie’s talent isn’t really the question here. The A’s are essentially betting on him figuring out how to avoid the disabled list, which is not something he’s been able to do in the big leagues. Health is a skill, and we can’t just pretend that his injuries didn’t happen; if he had stayed healthy, the Jays wouldn’t have traded him, most likely. But while no team has as much information about Lawrie’s medical condition as the Blue Jays do, it does seem like everyone involved in baseball is better at projecting future performance than future health. Perhaps Lawrie is just Nick Johnson 2.0, a talented player who can’t stay on the field to live up to his potential, but I don’t know how confident of that we can be.

The A’s are unquestionably taking on more risk in this deal, but they’re probably getting more upside as well. If Lawrie can beat the injury problem, it’s not too difficult to see him as a +4 to +5 win third baseman over the next three years; Donaldson is already at that level, but probably can’t stay there for too much longer, especially given how much of his value is tied to his glove, which generally peaks earlier. If we stipulate that both Lawrie and Donaldson stay reasonably healthy going forward, I might even prefer Lawrie for 2016 and 2017, even though he’s an inferior player right now. We can’t stipulate that Lawrie will stay healthy, but in looking at the trade, we should at least see the chance that the A’s actually didn’t get that much worse by swapping these two.

Of course, there’s also a very large chance that the A’s got a lot worse, trading a player who projects for +5 WAR in 2015 for a guy who might very well spend most of next year on the DL. If Lawrie can’t stay healthy, this is a huge step back for the A’s, and might just sink their chances of contending entirely. But, like with Boston signing Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval when they already had too many hitters, this feels like the first move of a series of moves, and I expect that this deal might make more sense when the series is completed.

Jeff Sullivan floated perhaps the most fascinating scenario, suggesting that maybe the A’s were willing to move Donaldson in preparation for a run at free agent third baseman Chase Headley. If you buy into Steamer’s projections, Headley is the bargain of the winter, a potential +4 WAR player of his own who is probably looking at something in the range of 4/$60M. The A’s have very little money on the books long-term, and it’s at least possible that this trade be a precursor to Oakland trying to sign Headley; Lawrie would shift to second base under this scenario.

The A’s have a gaping hole in the middle infield, and the crop of available free agents is pretty terrible, but signing Headley and using Lawrie to cover second base is an intriguing option. Would the combined production of the two be significantly worse than if the A’s had kept Donaldson and signed a free agent middle infielder like Asdrubal Cabrera instead?

For reference, the crowd expects Cabrera to sign for 3/$33M this winter, and Steamer projects +1.4 WAR in 2015 value. Combining Donaldson’s $5 million arbitration projected salary with Cabrera’s $11 million AAV, the pair would cost $16 million and be expected to produce roughly +7 WAR between them. If the A’s signed Headley for the 4/$60M that the crowd projected, and combined that with Lawrie’s $2 million arbitration salary, that pair would cost $17 million and be expected to produce +7 WAR between them. That assumes Lawrie stays healthy and Headley bounces back to his career average batting line, so there’s no question that the second scenario involves far more risk, but it is an avenue to a 2015 team that might not be markedly worse than one in which they had kept Donaldson.

Granted, there are better second base options than signing Cabrera for $33 million, and we’d expect the A’s to be one of the teams to find a better value at the position. But then, we’d have expected them to find a better value than Billy Butler for $30 million too, and that signing at least should give us pause before we decide that the Donaldson trade means that the A’s are entering another rebuilding phase. The Butler contract suggests the A’s are trying to win in 2015; it seems unlikely that they decided to switch gears in the last week.

Lawrie’s flexibility to potentially play second base makes this move a bit more interesting than if we see this as a straight 3B for 3B (and prospects) trade, because it opens up some doors for the A’s to improve their 2015 team that weren’t there a few hours ago. We can’t assume that Oakland will easily sign Headley or in some other way acquire a +3 to +4 WAR third baseman that could offset the loss of Donaladson, but like with Lawrie’s upside, we should at least acknowledge that it’s possible.

More likely, someone will outbid the A’s for Headley. More likely, Lawrie doesn’t get 600 plate appearances for the first time in his career in 2015. More likely, this deal makes the A’s quite a bit worse next season, which is why the Blue Jays had to kick in three prospects to get Oakland to make the deal.

But like with Boston’s moves, I feel like there’s another shoe to drop here, and I don’t really want to evaluate this deal solely on the basis of this single transaction. If this was the end of the A’s offseason, I don’t think I’d like this very much, as it pushes them back towards the middle of the pack in a year in which they should be trying to win. But this isn’t the end of the A’s offseason, and this trade created some potential avenues for upgrades that could still be explored.

Maybe adding two more Major League ready arms to the stable allows them to trade Jeff Samardzija for a long-term answer at shortstop. Maybe they know that the Phillies love Franklin Barreto, and he’s going to lead a package of talent going to Philadelphia for Chase Utley. With glaring holes at second base and shortstop, it’s very difficult to imagine that this trade isn’t a setup for some other maneuver. Replacing Donaldson is going to be essentially impossible, but it’s not impossible for the A’s to end up with a 2015 infield that is as nearly as good as it would have been with Dondaldson and the acquirable alternatives.

We don’t know what the A’s are thinking of doing next, and it is certainly within reason to just take this move at face value. If this is step one of a rebuild, and Samardzija gets traded for another bushel of prospects who won’t help the 2015 A’s, then the team’s moves over the last four months will look highly questionable. But I guess I’m not entirely convinced that’s the plan yet. If they end up using the flexibility that this trade gives them — either by using Lawrie at second or flipping the prospects acquired to land a significant middle infield upgrade — then perhaps the 2015 A’s won’t be that much worse for having made this trade.

And if Lawrie can figure out how to stay healthy enough to even play 130-140 games per season, he might very well be more valuable than Donaldson over the next three years. That they had to give up a fourth year of Donaldson’s team control, and take on all the extra risks associated with the hypotheticals listed above, means that this doesn’t seem like a home run trade for the A’s. It’s a gamble, and maybe too big of a gamble without having firm backup plans in place. But I see enough ways this could work for the A’s that I don’t hate this for them. Not yet.

I reserve the right to retroactively hate this deal if they don’t do anything else to make their 2015 team better this winter. But if this is just the first move in a series, then I’d like to see what those moves are before I pass judgment on this one.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Josh
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Josh
1 year 5 months ago

“Anyways” isn’t a word, so…

Birdbrains
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Birdbrains
1 year 5 months ago

Dick.

Mountain Landis
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1 year 5 months ago

the reaction to this post speaks volumes of the groupthink mentality that is pervasive among too many here.

Cicero
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Cicero
1 year 5 months ago

Knowing the price of everything, and the value of nothing doesn’t make you a hero, it makes you a twit.

Joseph Gladstone
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Joseph Gladstone
1 year 5 months ago

I understand what you’re trying to say, but I don’t think this is a good example. If, for example, 24 people down-voted a comment that pointed out the flaws in WAR, then your comment would make sense. Here, the original poster was being a dick and it doesn’t require any level of groupthink to agree with that. Even it it does somehow indicate some groupthink, it certainly doesn’t “speak volumes” to it.

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

let’s put it this way – one person acting petty is not worthy of 35 people responding to point out said pettiness. The response is no less petty. Do this many people care if someone points out some random syntax flub? jeez.

The Foils
Member
The Foils
1 year 5 months ago

Encouraging politeness toward the writers of a website you frequent isn’t “groupthink.” It’s just “not being a dick.”

Hmk
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Hmk
1 year 5 months ago

Also, first comment grammar nazis are highly likely to be trolls.

SlickRick
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1 year 5 months ago

Good thing we have you as troll police….

Blahsh
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Blahsh
1 year 5 months ago

Thank you for your contribution.

Section 34
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Section 34
1 year 5 months ago

Proper sentences can’t end with “so.”

Gregory Myrberg
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Gregory Myrberg
1 year 5 months ago

Is that so?

BIP
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BIP
1 year 5 months ago

Captain Picard would like a word with you.

Pete Carroll
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1 year 5 months ago

NEERRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!

Vil
Member
Vil
1 year 5 months ago

Didn’t Picard usually finish with No. 2? As in: “Make it so, Number 2.” What a presence and voice he had!

I digress from the subject. Send me into a wormhole for punishment.

BIP
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BIP
1 year 5 months ago

balticwolf – Yes (although it was “Number 1,” not 2), but there were plenty of instances where he merely said “Make it so.”

James K.
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James K.
1 year 5 months ago
Birdbrains
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Birdbrains
1 year 5 months ago

I actually chose to read the headline as:

“So what are the A’s doing anywA’s?”

John
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John
1 year 5 months ago

This is so so funny to me.

To think you have the intellectual authority to correct another and rudely and publicly, yet to display so much ignorance in five words and a mess of punctuation–such compact self satire and so cutting!

Kudos.

Daven
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Daven
1 year 5 months ago

“Anyways” has been around since around the 13th century (and if you whip out your trusty Webster’s dictionary, you’ll find “anyways” there).

Johnston
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1 year 5 months ago

Anyways, can we drop this now? I would like it so.

Rob
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Rob
1 year 5 months ago

Visionaries create new words.

Free_AEC
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1 year 5 months ago

“‘Anyways’ isn’t a word, so…”

Prolly not.

Noone seems to care that “noone” isn’t a word either and that drives me up a wall. “Prolly” takes a deserved hit a lot, but “noone”? I’ve never seen that questioned.
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Matt
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Matt
1 year 5 months ago

I think the main objection to the trade is the same one as the Doug Fister trade. It seems like they didn’t play the market enough. A lot of wealthy teams needed a 3B and they couldn’t get more than just Lawrie? Why not approach the Red Sox on a Betts + Napoli for Donaldson and Shark trade and not sign Butler? Or ask the Indians for Lindor? Or the Padres for their wealth of close to major league ready talent.

I’m not saying it is a terrible trade. It just doesn’t make a ton of sense in the same way it didn’t make sense for the Tigers to trade a very good pitcher while trying to contend for a prospect.

John C
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John C
1 year 5 months ago

How do you know they didn’t? If they were going to trade Donaldson anyway, I’m sure Beane called the Red Sox. Wouldn’t have made any sense not to. But I don’t think the Red Sox will trade Betts for anybody, unless there’s some insane offer like the Dodgers offering Kershaw or something. Which isn’t going to happen.

LHPSU
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LHPSU
1 year 5 months ago

But they didn’t get just Lawrie. They got three prospects back too, and by the way why would the Red Sox want a 3rd baseman?

Matt
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Matt
1 year 5 months ago

Before they signed 2 of them…. They got 2 prospects and neither are considered big prospects.

Mark
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Mark
1 year 5 months ago

2 of those prospects aren’t very good though. Nolin isn’t a starter and might just be a low leverage RP or a LOOGY, and Graveman is at best a 5th starter or a non-closing RP. Barreto is great, but Ben Badler even tweeted he’s not a SS long term.

Matt
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Matt
1 year 5 months ago

I honestly believe that the Jays probably approached the A’s about Shark….A few hour later, it ended up as this trade.

I’m surprised something for both wasn’t worked up. I mean Donaldson + Shark for Lawrie + Norris or Sanchez is more interesting. and probably fair in our opinions.

RichW
Member
RichW
1 year 5 months ago

AA said that he was trying to get Donaldson without Lawrie. They had multiple talks and Lawrie was the key that opened the door.

Jays would have no chance to sign Samardzija long term. His stuff may not play well at the dome anyways.

Free_AEC
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1 year 5 months ago

The Athletic’s got Franklin Barreto. Sure Beane will deal him away for nothing before Barreto ever wears an A’s uniform, but Barreto is a valuable talent. I have read numerous Cole Hamels for….trade rumors and discussions and everyone says a Franklin Barreto is too valuable a type of prospect to be in a Hamels deal.

That’s why Hamels is still in Philly. It’ll take four like him to get Hamels.

I’m surprised the author here tossed out Utley. I was thinking maybe Jimmy Rollins and Jesse Biddle for Barreto.

Whatever.

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Matt
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JS7
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JS7
1 year 5 months ago

Donaldson was never going to more valuable than he is right now.

The only way the A’s have remained competitive (never losing 90 games for 17 years) is that they trade stars at peak value. They traded Gio and Cahill at peak value and they are trading Donaldson at peak value.

Three years ago people here thought the Rich Harden trade to the Cubs was an awful failure. Donaldson was struggling to find a position and couldn’t hit MLB pitching. Many of those same people are mad tonight that the A’s traded Donaldson.

This is what the A’s do, and it’s why they are perennially competitive on a small payroll.

MrMan
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MrMan
1 year 5 months ago

From 2007-2011 the A’s averaged 76 wins per season and 19 games out of first place. That’s five years of pretty awful performance. Yet you consider this “perennially competitive”?

kirk
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kirk
1 year 5 months ago

The Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and Cardinals are the only teams to win more regular season games since Beane became GM. So it could be worse.

arc
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1 year 5 months ago

Interesting sample. How did you choose it?

channelclemente
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channelclemente
1 year 5 months ago

I reminded of the old days in KC when the A’s were basically the Yankee’s farm team.

Hank
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Hank
1 year 5 months ago

So I understand not losing 90+ games is “competitive”

That’s an interetsing viewpoitn.

baycommuter
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baycommuter
1 year 5 months ago

I think the Donaldson trade was in part because Beane learned from 2007-11. Part of the decline was not enough depth to cope with a run of injuries, part of it was they got behind on prospects to win in Zito’s last season of 2006, dealing Andre Ethier for Milton Bradley and losing a #1 draft choice by signing Esteban Loaiza. And then in a screwball thing Beane couldn’t have anticipated, they didn’t even get a #1 pick when Zito became a free agent because Moises Alou (who the Giants also signed) somehow was rated higher.

BRH
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BRH
1 year 5 months ago

Every time Billy Beane resorts to trading away his best and most popular players, he is compiling more evidence in support of relocating the team to San Jose.

Free_AEC
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1 year 5 months ago

Billy Beane gave away Andre Eithier for nothing.

Billy gave away CarGo for nothing.

Billy gave away a possible Cooperstown SS in Addison Russell for absolutely nothing. The Cubs will not even field offers for Russell. He’s off the table.

Billy Beane as a GM is an idiot on Meth and bath salts.

As a behind the scenes media whore though, Billy is unmatched.

When it’s “Timmy Time” at ESPN Timmy’s major – and sometimes only source – is Billy Beane.

When Buster or Jayson have “Taken a poll of execs around the game” the only executive they have actually talked to is Billy Beane.

Billy dishes on everyone. That is why he is always a “genius” no matter how boneheaded a move he makes. Good luck finding one national MLB writer who is able to recall Billy giving away Ethier and CarGo.

When Russell becomes a star for the Cubs he will be talked about as if he were drafted by the Cubs. Does anyone ever refer to Cargo as if he had ever been anywhere other than the Rockies organization?

Does anyone mention Andre Ethier ever having been with an organization other than the Dodgers?

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arc
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

God you’re dumb,

The Ghost of Branch Rickey
Guest
The Ghost of Branch Rickey
1 year 5 months ago

No. Trading away Addison Russell was dumb.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 5 months ago

Top prospect Andre Ethier? If he wasn’t a prospect, which he wasn’t, why should Beane have expected him to turn into an above average regular?

as for “possible Cooperstown SS in Addison Russell” a little hasty are we?

Jason B
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Jason B
1 year 5 months ago

“gave away a possible Cooperstown SS in Addison Russell”

Well at least you didn’t resort to hyperbole to make your point. Is he a fantastic prospect? Of course. Have many many top prospects failed to pan out, much less stay on a Cooperstown trajectory? Too many to count. You can make your point without ridiculousness such as that. Or be consistent and say the A’s also just acquired “three potential Cooperstown prospects” from the Jays (I mean, who’s to say they’re not?!)

KCDaveInLA
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KCDaveInLA
1 year 5 months ago

Calling Billy Beane an idiot or boneheaded is way out of line, but I agree, some of his moves have been questionable, and writers tend to fawn over him too much. But, every GM who has ever GM’d has done the same thing, and well, winning small-market teams do make writers gush.

Leonitis56
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Leonitis56
1 year 5 months ago

Completly agree, but the A’s as an organization dont make much $$$ & dont spend much, tradidng stars shrinks net value of the organization and with teams like the giants right across the bay, who build around individuals (at least keep players for a second or two), its going to be hard for the A’s to compete in an over inflated market, (definitley the a’s are getting outbidded for headley). The A’s also hardly ever pack the stadium.

Maybe they shoukd start keepibg stars and increasing their net value?

Andrew
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Andrew
1 year 5 months ago

I’ve always wondered how much better the A’s, Rays, Cardinals etc would be if they had top 5 or even top 10 payrolls.

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
1 year 5 months ago

Cards don’t exactly belong on that list.

Matt
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Matt
1 year 5 months ago

I believe the Cardinals have a 99.5% attendance rate at home and do very well in TV ratings. Weird team where market size /=/ popularity and success.

TMS71
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TMS71
1 year 5 months ago

I’ve also heard that St Louisans are very cheap and the Cards’ ticket prices are very low so they don’t get the revenue from the gate that you might think they get.

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
1 year 5 months ago

Cards tix aren’t low. They aren’t small market either. It’s archaic to look at the city only. Look at their TV coverage. They have a presence in something like 11 states.

Sez you
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Sez you
1 year 5 months ago

The Cardinals had the 6th-highest average ticket prices in 2014, according to the methodology of statista.com:

http://www.statista.com/statistics/193673/average-ticket-price-in-the-mlb-by-team/

And their attendance is of course perennially in the top few in all of MLB. So the gate receipt money is no doubt among the very highest.

chuckb
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chuckb
1 year 5 months ago

Explain. The Cards are in the middle of the pack in terms of their market, by any standard. Their payroll is almost never top-10 as a result. The Cards do have a presence in several states but they’re largely small states, with a total population much lower than that in the Braves’ market, for example.

The Cards aren’t the Rays or A’s but they’re also nothing approaching a large market franchise.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Google: Nielsen DMA 2014 – 2015

Nielsen makes their money measuring market sizes for advertisers.

St. Louis is the 21st largest media market in the USA ahead of Pittsburgh and behind Cleveland.

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Antonio Bananas
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Is St. Louis the only media market that the Cards are broadcast in? Because i’m pretty sure their TV territory is massive, so only looking at how big St. Louis is is not an accurate picture of their media market.

Again, only looking at the city limits of the city a team plays in, in 2014 is archaic. it’s not like teams only make money off the people in their city limits (not by TV ad dollars or by attendance).

Look at St. Louis’ geographic territory. Also keep in mind that there’s not a lot of competition in that area. Memphis, every city in Missouri not Kansas City, southern Illinois, Iowa, etc.

PPP
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PPP
1 year 5 months ago

Seeing as the Cardinals have been 13th, 10th, and 9th in payroll the past three years, I’d say the Cardinals would be almost exactly the same if they had a top 10 payroll.

Andrew
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Andrew
1 year 5 months ago

you’re kind of missing the point here…

1. The “even top 10” was to emphasize how low the Athletics’ and Rays’ payrolls have been and was kind of a throw in to the comment.

2. Even if you wanted to ignore that, the Cardinals 2014 payroll was ~111, good for #13. Although close to #10 in ranking, it’s actually 21 million dollars away from #10. 21 million dollars the other way gets you down to 23rd place for some context.

Although the Cardinals have had a higher payroll than the A’s and Rays, my comment was meant to raise the question of how much more successful these 3 teams would be with more payroll. Considering the Cardinals have been the most successful of the 3 in the past 4 years, going to 2 World Series and 2 NLCS, it’s interesting to wonder how much better they would have been with that extra $20 million, or as my comment focused on, an extra 50+ to get into the top 5.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

The Cardinals get the same “small market” benefits the Rays do but literally every single thing they do as a franchise is the opposite of how a small market acts.

The Cardinals don’t belong. They ARE a big market team, tv signal areas be damned.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Not sure how accurate this is, but they have a huge area. A lot of it is shared but, given their history as (at one point) the furthest west franchise and success, I’m guessing they have the market share in all their split areas.

Sandy Kazmir
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1 year 5 months ago

LOL one of these things does not belong though it’s always a fun narrative.

Jimbo
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Jimbo
1 year 5 months ago

A better way to phrase this question is how much “different” would those teams be with a top payroll. There is no guarantee those teams would be better. The teams with the top payroll are constantly wasting resources trying to figure out how to maneuver around their dead weight. Part of what helps the teams you mentioned win is that they make far fewer catastrophic personnel mistakes than their opponents. That might be a large part of what helps them win.

baycommuter
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baycommuter
1 year 5 months ago

Think of the Cardinals as a less extreme version of the Green Bay Packers– popularity and good local revenue despite market size.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Kind of apples to oranges given the NFL is better at exposing the entire league than the MLB.

I’m still arguing that St. Louis isn’t a small market team even by “market size” when you properly define their market as “everywhere they are on TV” which is in part of 10 states.

Schlom
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Schlom
1 year 5 months ago

That Steamer projection seems wildly optimistic to me. Outside of his 41 game cameo at the end of the year in 2011 Lawrie hasn’t been an above average hitter. And he only really hit his first month in the majors, driven by a .371 BABIP (a mark he hasn’t reached in any single month since then). It just seems that to expect him to be anywhere close to that projection you have to put a ton of weight a tiny sample size – not only with the bat but also with the glove (his two great fielding seasons were racked in pretty low innings totals).

http://anothermarinersblog.com/
Member

This is absolutely correct. In 1260 PA’s since his rookie year, Lawrie’s line of .261/.316./.406 works out to a wRC+ of 97. Asking a jump to 115 is a lot.

Schlom
Guest
Schlom
1 year 5 months ago

I guess there could be some hope that he’s like Chris Davis (http://goo.gl/IMoxVK) or Chris Couglan (http://goo.gl/YpMHWI) – players that had good rookie seasons at the plate, didn’t hit at all the next few years and then rebounded to hit again – but there’s a lot more players who after good rookie years, started scuffling and then never recovered.

Lawrie only has a slightly worse wRC+ projection than Lucas Duda – who also had a good hitting partial rookie season in 2011, also didn’t hit in 2012 but then rebounded to put up years of 120 and 136 wRC+. Strange that his steamer projection is only a bit higher.

Goose.
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Goose.
1 year 5 months ago

Really SSS etc, but still I thought this was fun – comparing the final 100 PAs in 2014 for Lawrie and Donaldson…

Lawrie: .289/.350/.444 – 125 wRC+
Donaldson: .256/.337/.411 – 110 wRC+

Granted, Donaldson’s were the final 3+ weeks of the season, as the A’s were in a pennant push, while Lawrie’s final 100 PAs were scattered over two months (5/26-8/5) – and there you have the cruz – yet, still fun to look at a little bit…

Mark
Guest
Mark
1 year 5 months ago

Looking at arbitrary SSS is fun, and Lawrie had a 72 wRC+ in April. He had a good month of May but until he can sustain that for a longer period of time, then he’s no better than a league average or slightly below average hitter.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Steve Pearce jumped from 116 to 161 at 31, anything is possible.

Hank
Guest
Hank
1 year 5 months ago

n you are signing 2mil deals vs 20mil deals.

Hank
Guest
Hank
1 year 5 months ago

Please ignore – computer is doing odd things. Apologies.

BRH
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BRH
1 year 5 months ago

You act as if Lawrie’s production at the plate has no correlation to his injuries. Do you honestly believe that his history of oblique and rib strains, fractured fingers and ankle sprains would have no effect on his performance at the plate?

BigPattyG
Guest
BigPattyG
1 year 5 months ago

I don’t think anyone is separating Lawrie’s performance and his injuries because it looks like injuries are just a part of Lawrie’s game. He’s had injuries for four straight years now. I’m sure if Bobby Crosby had just stayed healthy that he would’ve put up much better numbers too.

LHPSU
Guest
LHPSU
1 year 5 months ago

Billy Beane is either going to make everyone look stupid, or he’s trying to get himself fired.

Brob
Guest
Brob
1 year 5 months ago

He can’t be fired. He owns a percentage of the team, bro.

Tom
Guest
Tom
1 year 5 months ago

ummm…yeah, he can certainly still be replaced, or demoted,
even though he owns a small percentage of the team.

Avattoir
Guest
Avattoir
1 year 5 months ago

Plus, you assume Beane is playing the same game as GMs who try to win pennants and play-offs.

Enemy of the State
Guest
Enemy of the State
1 year 5 months ago

This is just an observation from watching the bluejays on a daily basis, but Lawrie seems like a groundball machine. I don’t know how well his speed will age, but groundballs will never result in the power many hope from him.

Tinker2Evers2Chance
Member
Tinker2Evers2Chance
1 year 5 months ago

His GB% has actually dropped in each of the last three years to sit just above league average, although that trend may not be significant due to his lack of plate appearances. Interestingly he’s also hitting fewer line drives and more fly balls/pop ups, so maybe he’s making an effort to hit for more power.

I remember thinking Derrek Lee was always hitting into double plays when I watched him play for the Cubs, but he actually had a low GB/FB rate most of his career. Strange how the data doesn’t always match perception. Or maybe a disproportionate number of his ground balls were GIDP’s!

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

One thing is for sure, the A’s definitely paid $30M to watch Butler hit into 100 double plays.

BRH
Guest
BRH
1 year 5 months ago

No, they are paying him a mere $6.67 million in 2015. Beane has no intention of keeping Butler when he starts earning real money.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

$25M and a $5M bonus over 3 years isnt “real money” even from Oaklands view. That’s why if Butler hits he suddenly becomes a very nice piece to fill a more pressing need than DH. Or he doesn’t hit very enough to warrant a trade and they get a 700-750 OPS from DH – much better than this year’s DHs.

Blue
Guest
Blue
1 year 5 months ago

Yeah, because teams are going to line up to pay Butler 2/24.

RichW
Member
RichW
1 year 5 months ago

I’d worry about the 9-3 putout.

BMac
Member
BMac
1 year 5 months ago

Let me say first of all that Beane has been great for baseball, and it is great to see the celebration of his analytical approach.

But I gotta say, the dude is starting to believe his own press clippings. It was simply bizarre to trade his starting OF and #4 hitter in the middle of a pennant race. You trade prospects, not present value, if you are making a run at it. Almost immediately, the strange synergy of the As offense that had them at the top of the league collapsed, precipitating their fall right out of 1st place & a stunning elimination by the Royals.

Over a half season, does adding Lester, subtracting Cespedes, really make you that much better, even on paper? I don’t think so. And when you consider that they then had an offensive problem, it was a disastrous trade.

So now we have another trade that looks bad on the As. Laurie is a fun player to watch but MAN he went on the DL the same day he came off it with a friggin’ oblique injury, and it all just screamed that Lawrie had not maintained his physical fitness while recovering from a totally different injury. It is amazing that you package him with 3 garden variety prospects, and you get 4 years of an all star 3B.

I don’t think you give BB the benefit of the doubt anymore. He frittered away a shot at glory last year, overplayed his hand, and exactly how many WS rings has he earned as GM?

This is a great trade for the Jays, and it is even worse then it appears for the As. If the As acquire someone in as trade to plug the middle IF gap, that’s nice, but totally unrelated to this trade, since it didn’t free up any cash. Oakland has never been exactly a free agent magnet anyway, so I just don’t see it. Three years of Billy Butler as DH? At the rate he has been deteriorating, I would never have made that investment. He is so slow now that this summer he got thrown out at 1b on a line drive to RF. 7-3 putout.

It’s like Beane has turned his back on analysis and just goes with his gut instinct now. We all said the Jim Johnson trade was crazy; we were all right. The one cool thing about including a teenage prospect in the deal is that some people will say, wait, we got to see what this guy does before we evaluate the deal. But I don’t think so.

Avattoir
Guest
Avattoir
1 year 5 months ago

It’ll be made clear in Lewis’ next installment in the BeaneBall series, JunkbondBall.

Avattoir
Guest
Avattoir
1 year 5 months ago

… in which we shall all be regaled with the telling anecdote of how the Byzantine Haboob of Middle-Innings Leverage just barely slipped thru Beane’s fingers.

me
Guest
me
1 year 5 months ago

I never have any idea what you’re saying.

arc
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Neither does he. It took him 10 minutes to produce that second comment.

The Ghost of Branch Rickey
Guest
The Ghost of Branch Rickey
1 year 5 months ago

It was a Youklis “Greek God of Walks” joke. Read Moneyball.

suicide squeeze
Member
suicide squeeze
1 year 5 months ago

For the millionth time, blaming the Cespedes trade for the offense cratering is kind of silly. The decline was mostly due to guys like Moss and Norris hitting significantly worse in the second half (some people were probably hitting unsustainably well in the first half, anyway, so it was sort of “due”). Furthermore, it’s not like the Red Sox set the world on fire with Cespedes in the lineup: https://twitter.com/based_ball/status/506884553479184384

Georgethev
Guest
Georgethev
1 year 5 months ago

Not to mention that the A’s had 12 different batters with injuries int he second-half of the year (ranging from guys completely missing the second-half, to Donaldson hobbling around and missing a few games due to the leg issue.)

Colonel Obvious
Guest
Colonel Obvious
1 year 5 months ago

A 7-3 putout on a line drive to RF? Sorry, I need to see that one to believe it!

LHPSU
Guest
LHPSU
1 year 5 months ago

It’s not that hard to find. I think it was Jose Bautista that threw him out at 1B on a short hop to RF.

To be fair, if I recall correctly Omar Infante was also a victim of the ground out to RF, and on consecutive days as well.

Sandy Kazmir
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

That would be a 9-3, is the point.

RichW
Member
RichW
1 year 5 months ago

The Infante video is funny because you can see the ump looking at him with the thought balloon saying, “run you idiot”.

ZenMadman
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Now that would be a left fielder with some range!

The Ghost of Branch Rickey
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

It was The Shift.

Shayce
Guest
Shayce
1 year 5 months ago

“He frittered away a shot at glory last year, overplayed his hand, and exactly how many WS rings has he earned as GM?”

He went all in last year, but things happened, is that his fault?
WS rings, really? The crappy Giants won 3 of those in the last 5 years, it’s a crapshoot. How about playoff appearances? A’s have been there the last 3 years.

Shayce
Guest
Shayce
1 year 5 months ago

Still doesn’t look like a great trade, I concur. But Beane still deserves the benefit of doubt imo.

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

why?

KDL
Guest
KDL
1 year 5 months ago

why not?

Billy North
Guest
Billy North
1 year 5 months ago

Hey Shayce- I totally agree once you fix the two typos….
I’m certain you meant “scrappy” Giants and “Disappearance” in the playoffs!

Who measures a history of the A’s first round tanking as genius other than BB apologists? There is something about keeping a team (and fan base) together that results in wins on the field. That team was lighting it up last summer before BB ripped it apart. Sad to see this every year for a team that I want to see do well. They will compete, as always… But for fans to be all in – it’s nice to have some semblance of continuity.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

No, the team was lighting it up and then…

Crisp hurt his neck smashing into the fence trying to rob a HR against the Angels and was already hurting. He never was the same.

Vogt got plantar facilitis in his foot and couldnt catch anymore. Also affected his hitting.

Norris’s shoulder was already hurting and he was forced to play everyday because no Vogt – even losing his job to Soto, who we saw the different in the WC game with with KC stealing 17 bases on Norris or whatever crazy number it was.

Jaso & Blanks mashed then missed the rest of the season with Jaso getting a concussion and Blanks being glass.

Jed Lowrie broke his finger on his throwing hand(!) and still played, badly.

Brandon Moss had bone on bone in his hip and got surgery after the season ended.

Alberto Callaspo played everyday at 2B. He was the worst player in baseball last season if you watched baseball. He did every single thing badly, defense, basrunning and grounding into double plays.

So yeah, Beane did not blow up the team, the team blew up itself, internally, physically, via their internal body parts blowing up. Shark & Lester were great deals that got them over the line, but the position players were toast. A’s don’t get to that line with Cespedes and no Lester.

Hank
Guest
Hank
1 year 5 months ago

The Lester deal changed the playoff odds <1% (based on the analysis done here and at BP); it's fine for you to say you know that was the difference… but at the time of the deal the #'s said it would make minimal, if any, difference.

That <1% improvement in playoff odds came at the cost of 2015 Cespedes, or more specifically that trade value, which I suspect we will soon find out when Boston deals him. Their 2015 competitive balance draft pick was also shipped out in that deal (post 2nd rd). That represents a great trade in your view?

If Shark is dealt (speculation on my end); Russell and Mckinney (their 2013 1st rd pick) will have netted 3 month rentals of Hammel and Shark and whatever they get back in my Shark deal speculation. Barring a surprising haul, I don't see how that will be viewed as even a good deal when the dust settles. Heck it could be kind of ugly – though it would come full circle if Samardjiza it nets them say 2 years of a SS like Alexei.

I don't see how either trade could be seen as "great trades"; I'm not sure either would even be considered good.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

There’s a whole lot of unfounded assuming going on that Addison Russell won’t be injury prone in the bigs.

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
1 year 5 months ago

“Crappy” Giants? You could argue 2014 was “crappy”, but the 2010 Giants were 5th in position player WAR and 7th in pitcher WAR (Though I question the validity of the 2010 pitcher WAR leaderboard, just because it has the Rockies first by 2 WAR). I would use combined WAR, but trying for 20 minutes to do this on FG’s leaderboard has told me I have no idea how to show hitting + pitching WAR combined for each team in the league. The 2012 Giants had crummy pitching, 21st in WAR, but they did follow it up by being 4th in position player WAR. (Though a huge amount of this is just park factors.)

The 2014 Giants were 28th in pitching and 6th in hitting, so they would probably count as crappy in terms of championship winners…though I am amused that the Giants managed to be 28th in pitching despite having 3.58 FIP and 3.59 xFIP. That was 10th in FIP and 7th in xFIP! Their park factor must have been crazy…

Also, since you brought up the Giants won 3 of the last 5, we could also bring up that the Athletics 3 appearances in the last 5 years are equal to the Giants. And personally, regardless of whether the Giants were “crappy” (And I don’t see how the 2010 Giants were and the 2012 Giants are debatable), I think people will take being crappy and having 3 World Series.

Personally, I like Billy Beane a lot, but I do think this trade is odd: Lawrie is essentially only good because of his rookie year, which does not match any year previous or since save his AAA stint that same year in hit happy Vegas, and has essentially been an average hitter since then. The prospects will make or break this deal, but I think this deal is very odd after the Shark deal: If you want to get younger, trading Addison for Shark is basically the opposite of what you want to do, right? And if you want to keep competing next year with Shark, why would you trade Donaldson away, to hedge? I’m fine with the deals seperate, but together they seem to just make both sides worse.

And how, exactly, are we going to judge GMs here? Brain Sabean has 4 World Series titles, 6 Playoff Appearances and a .537 winning percentage over 16 years. Billy Beane has seven playoff appearances, no World Series titles and a .539 winning percentage over that time: Beane is 5th in win % over that time and Sabean is 6th. Is that 1 playoff appearance and .002 winning percentage such a big deal? Beane gets hailed as a genius and Sabean is sometimes considered good and sometimes bad and for a long time seemed to get a lot of crap at him, but it’s not like Sabean has been hugely worse over something like a 16 year period. We could use a different metric for them, but what metric would be proposed? In terms of how the teams they built did, they are around equal.

All I know is that as a Blue Jays fan, this is far more than I could have guessed for a trade with Lawrie in it, and I can only assume Beane liked the prospects here a lot. Gonna be exciting next year to see Donaldson. :)

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Crappy was definitely the wrong word, underwhelming was more like it. They were not the 2009 Yankees that’s for sure. 14 Giants were largely no-names and their one legit guy, Posey, went totally missing in the playoffs with 0 EBH.

As for comping Sabean and Beane, it is interesting how close they are, but the fact is Beane has less money to work with and gets the same results. Sabean’s success can be stemmed from one move: getting Buster at 5 when the Rays took Tim Beckham over him. MLB is totally changed if the Rays take Posey over Tim Beckham. Crazy, huh?

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

It’s just sad that there are so many people who think the Athletics and Giants are in someway the same teams.

The Giants and A’s both play in the Bay Area and in MLB, but the A’s look more like a farm team for the Giants.

Who on the A’s has been their Buster Posey, Panda or Hunter “The Preacher” Pence?

The Giants have had those stars and those WS trophies and a majority of MLB fans couldn’t name their GM.

Who is the star on the A’s? There is only one: Billy Beane.

_

Highlight and Google: John Powers Middleton Felony Fraud

_

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
1 year 5 months ago

Just like you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, you don’t bring “synergy” to the fangraphs comment section.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 5 months ago

You must not know much about Sabermatrics.
Who needs Donaldson and Cespedes when you have Sam Fuld?

Bertrand Russell
Guest
Bertrand Russell
1 year 5 months ago

Exactly! All I ever hear are rationalizations for Beane’s recent spat of terrible trades. He did kill off the team’s chances last year, and these recent trades look even worse!

KDL
Guest
KDL
1 year 5 months ago

If only he had the hindsight we enjoy…he might have done things differently!

CS Yankee
Guest
CS Yankee
1 year 5 months ago

A 7-3 putout from RF?

Score much?

Bill
Guest
Bill
1 year 5 months ago

I argued with the Shark trade that Beane deserved the benefit of the doubt. The Price trade later showed that he clearly overpaid there. It was an overpay, just as it initially appeared. This trade also looks bad and that is because it is bad. Just like the Shark trade. Beane’s gone the way of George Lucas, lost his mojo, and has Gredo shooting first. The market’s caught up with him and he’s increasingly doing irrational things to regain his edge.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Just understand that there have been 1000’s of people saying these exact kinds of comments every time he makes a move and then in October the A’s are still playing baseball.

Pete Carroll
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Greedo was a straight busta.

Bookbook
Guest
Bookbook
1 year 5 months ago

I think it’s okay to call this a bad trade

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
1 year 5 months ago

I’m with Bookbook. But it seems like the new black is to make counter intuitive moves that set up logical moves for later. But I have to think it’s a little risky to keep thinking it’s the NEXT move that will settle things.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

You can’t call it a bad trade until at least one season has been played. Nolin & Graveman might dominate and if Lawrie hits 20 bombs and doesn’t get hurt the A’s will win the deal no matter what JD does.

Also Baretto is a very highly-wanted prospect. If he gets flipped for Jimmy Rollins or Alexei Ramirez, then this trade is outstanding.

FeslenR
Guest
FeslenR
1 year 5 months ago

Maybe Beane is somehow working on a bigger deal down the road? who knows what’s really going on. But, I prefer to think that he’s trying to save some money, Josh will make tons this year and upcoming years, so sooner or later he will be traded anyways.

Did Beane get the best value for Josh, most likely not.

DrBGiantsfan
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Tons? Donaldson is projected to make about $5 M on arbitration this year! If Lawrie breaks out, his arbitration value will go way up too. If he doesn’t then it’s really a bad trade. No way this trade is anything more than a downgrade to pay for replacing Addison Russell in the farm system.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

JD is a super 2, that’s the only reason why his salary is low this year. After 2015 he is going to be 10, 15, 20M if he doesn’t get injured. Even if Lawrie breaks out, he won’t make anything close to that.

J Rock
Guest
J Rock
1 year 5 months ago

Paying 10, 15, or 20 mil for Josh Donaldson is still not a bad deal! The A’s are incredibly cheap. This move was about money, and money only.

Sandy Kazmir
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

The dollar difference is not insignificant. Yes, you’d rather have the better player, but if you can get a guy that gives you 3/4 of another guy that will make 3x as much with some remaining upside then go for it. This looks like a nice sell high before paying 8 figs to watch Donaldson fall apart in three years.

Mark
Guest
Mark
1 year 5 months ago

I think it’s optimistic to expect Lawrie to stay healthy for a full season. There’s a better chance that Donaldson has 6 WAR and Lawrie is below 2 because of health issues then to expect Lawrie to post a 4.5 WAR season, which would meet your 3/4 as valuable as Donaldson comment.

Lawrie does have upside but he’s very injury prone, and doesn’t do himself any favours with his all out approach. He doesn’t know how to turn it down, which is good in some cases, but not in others (like when he runs into the stands/camera bay to make one out and misses half a season as a result).

I think it’s really, really optimistic that he’ll both stay healthy and take a significant leap forward in the next few years. You might get a healthy Lawrie, or you might get an improved Lawrie who is still injury prone, but I think it’s unrealistic to expect both.

DrBGiantsfan
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Donaldson is projected to make $5 M in arbitration this year vs about $2 M for Lawrie. That is insignificant. You can always trade Donaldson after one more season when his arbitration value really starts to rise. If Lawrie breaks out, which is the only way this trade ends up being good for the A’s, then his arbitration price is going to go way up too.

RSF
Guest
RSF
1 year 5 months ago

You shouldn’t just look at the first year, however.

Donaldson is a super-two whose first year of arbitration is projected at $5MM. Reasonable projections from here put his next few years of salary around $10MM, $15MM, and $20MM. So, Donaldson is on pace for something like 4/$50MM.

Lawrie is due about $2MM this year. Reasonable projections put his next two years (if he stays healthy) around $6MM and then $10MM. So, he is on pace for something like 3/$18MM.

Having a lower starting point for his initial arbitration will significantly hamper Lawrie’s total earnings during arbitration.

Not saying I love the trade or anything like that, but pointing just to first year savings is silly.

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

not saying you did, but anyone suggesting that moving Donaldson was about $ right after the A’s just committed $10M per to Billy Butler has to be missing the point if there is one in this deal… I wouldn’t completely dismiss the idea that BB is simply obsessed with moving players around just bc he can.

Dave Cornutt
Guest
Dave Cornutt
1 year 5 months ago

And we all know that arb salaries hardly ever go down. Dondaldson is a late bloomer, and by the time he reaches arb 4 he will be 32 years old and into the years where players typically start to decline. If he rakes in his arb 1 and 2 seasons and then starts to decline, his arb 3 and 4 seasons could wind up producing negative value. That may be what Beane is looking at, although it still seems like he could have done better in the trade.

(Same concern applies to Evan Gattis, BTW.)

Sandy Kazmir
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Good conversation, folks. Great points all around. RSF mentions that 32 is when players begin to decline, but I don’t think it’s an unreasonable notion that Donaldson’s best baseball is already behind him and we can speak with 100% certainty that he will become increasingly more expensive.

He has been an incredibly good player making league min. It doesn’t get better than that, but what odds would you give that his 2015 will be on par or better than his last two seasons? 30%? Less? Starting from such a high place means a normal decline will still leave him as a good player, but the money makes it less of a good value. Money that can be re-allocated to cover multiple holes.

KB
Guest
KB
1 year 5 months ago

I’ll trade Doug Melvin for Billy Beane in a heartbeat if Oakland is sick of him. I’d love to see a quote like that from Melvin that realistically acknowledges the Brewers current place in the NL Central. It’s evident that Beane isn’t interested in mediocrity or just losing players in FA for nothing, even if he does jump the gun a bit.

pirate's fan
Guest
pirate's fan
1 year 5 months ago

I love what Milwaukee and cincy are doing. They are both ignoring the future even though the present isn’t very good anyway. Both of those teams are going to be pretty bad for a few years if they don’t trade some guys this year

KB
Guest
KB
1 year 5 months ago

I’m sure you do. Both Milwaukee and Cincinnati got very little out of their “windows” and now both seem to refuse to acknowledge those windows have closed. Neither team seems to have a direction right now. It will be a battle to avoid the central cellar for those two. I’ll definitely be rooting for the Pirates over the. Cardinals.

Dave Cornutt
Guest
Dave Cornutt
1 year 5 months ago

Cincinnati has one more year, but they have a big decision to make this year: go for it one more time, or start rebuilding? They really can’t afford to lose Cueto, Latos and Leake and only get comp picks for them. If they go for it and don’t trade, they’d better win the WS, because they’ll face a long rebuilding process afterwards.

KB
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

It’s the same for the Brewers. Gaillardo, Lohse and Ramirez are all in the last year of their deals. Gomez has two years left, but there is zero chance the Brewers can afford him after that. ’15 is the year to go “all in” before the Cubs come out of hibernation. Adam Lind is not “going all in”.

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 year 5 months ago

Adam Lind is at least better than what they had. With that and Braun’s new Popsicle thumb, will that be enough? Dunno.

KB
Guest
KB
1 year 5 months ago

Enough to compete for third on the NL Central and an outside chance at a WC appearance? Maybe, but doubtful. Enough to beat St Louis for the division? No.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

If Beane were not interested in mediocrity he would never have given away Addison Russell.

Beane’s lineup looks like a College World Series team.

_

Highlight and Google: John Powers Middleton Felony Fraud

_

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Beane is clearly losing his mind. Blowing things up after winning 88 games…??? Dealing your best player and even losing 1 yr of control on the Donaldson-Lawrie swap! The A’s should have been able to get one of the Jays top 3 arm prospects – Norris, Sanchez or Osuna in the deal – instead they got 2 back end guys and a SS whose maybe 4 or 5 yrs away. Simply absurd. But that doesn’t stop the Beane supporters from trying to find some angle to avoid criticizing him.

arc
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Yeah, you sound impartial.

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

so the only defense to this deal seems to be that “it’s possible the A’s could come out ahead” isn’t really any different than saying “anything is possible.”

Do you have any other tangible theories to support this deal from the A’ side/

arc
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

No, that isn’t the only “defense”. You are making things up because you’re beholden to a narrative.

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

I’m not “beholden to a narrative.” What a silly angle to play up. Not that it matters, but I like BB a lot as a GM. I think this deal stinks tho.

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 5 months ago

Beane is clearly losing his mind.

Simply absurd. But that doesn’t stop the Beane supporters from trying to find some angle to avoid criticizing him.

the only defense to this deal seems to be that “it’s possible the A’s could come out ahead” isn’t really any different than saying “anything is possible.”

Yes, you are beholden to a narrative.

Walter
Guest
Walter
1 year 5 months ago

Barreto is almost certainly not 4 or 5 years away. If he hits well in high-A at the start of the year, he could be in AA by the end of 2015. Meaning more AA, some AAA in 2016, maybe start the season in AAA in 2017, but break into the league sometime that year. Its optimistic, maybe, but this is a kid that put up a 141 wRC+ in his league while playing short stop. He can hit for power and average, has speed, and even if he doesn’t stick at SS, he should have better than average defensive value. Right now, it looks like he’s poised to move quickly through the MiLB and not speed 1+ year at each level.

Michael
Guest
Michael
1 year 5 months ago

The A’s have been pretty successful the last three years, and billy beane clearly is doing something right. That doesn’t mean he can’t make a bad trade, and this one might be the one that everyone points to, especially if Donaldson stays near this level for the next 4-5 years. I’m interested to see what he does with Shark, once the big three are off the board.

Section 34
Guest
Section 34
1 year 5 months ago

Billy Beane makes it hard to be an A’s fan.

People defending his trades are generally, like Dave Cameron, outside analysts. Beane’s absence of loyalty and willingness to build a team the way a fantasy player would are appealing to outsiders.

I don’t think you’ll see many A’s fans praise this trade, and especially after the Cespedes debacle. The best thing you can say about that trade is *maybe* it wasn’t responsible for the A’s offensive collapse. But it sure didn’t work.

Teams can and often do overrate the importance of fan loyalty to certain players. The A’s value it at zero. So what does that say about their valuation of their fans?

KB
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Two division championships and three playoff appearances the past three years doesn’t sound like a team it’s hard to be a fan of.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

It’s so hard making the playoffs every year, isn’t it?

Its not the players, its the team. Its 2014, not the 80s, players come and go like the wind but we cheer the uniform, nothing more nothing less.

It does make jersey sales difficult but the A’s also turn a profit every year so they don’t need them. The A’s are not run on the “traditional” business model of baseball. Teams like the Phillies are and look how good they are.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
1 year 5 months ago

The moment jersey sales have taken a hit in Oakland is the moment you see a jersey trade-back discount

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

“It’s so hard making the playoffs every year, isn’t it?”

Not for George Steinbrenner it wasn’t.

How did you confuse a loser like Billy Beane with a winner like George Steinbrenner?

_

Highlight and Google: John Powers Middleton Felony Fraud

_

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
1 year 5 months ago

You complain about the A’s loyalty to players, but would you rather have a team with 1-2 big name talent signed for $$$ and the rest scrubs? .500 basebball every season doesn’t sound good to me even if I can count on 2 hands the number of years someone has been on the team.

If the roster overturns constantly but the A’s compete regularly that is all I need.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Real talk the 2014 Giants were basically Pence, Bumgarner, Posey and a bunch of scrubs. Juan Perez? Everyone talked about the Moneyball “no-name” A’s but the Giants used Ryan Vogelsong in their World Series rotation.

arc
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Who the hell cares? Fans aren’t loyal to losing teams. Players aren’t loyal. Why should the team be?

There was no “Cespedes debacle”. Stop making things up.

Were all the people wetting themselves over Beane and the A’s collapse in the second half heaping on praise for Beane in the first half? Nope. No credit from them for putting that team together with the same type of moves that he’s making now, but – surprise – lots of shock and righteous outrage when things went bad, inventing crap like the “Cespedes debacle”.

Beane is correctly avoiding the myth that fans are loyal to anything but winning teams and pursuing that end with what limited means he has. He makes plenty of mistakes, but is unquestionably one of the better GMs in the league based both on process and results.

SlickRick
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Who cares how BB is “rated” as a GM? This discussion is about this deal, not about Billy Beane.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Anytime Beane makes a move, it always comes back to him, because of that stupid movie, which is very annoying and shortsighted. I agree, this deal should be analyzed but at the same time everyone needs to realize that Beane is about to make a dozen more moves, as his MO. So looking at a this deal in a vacuum becomes moot, and then everyone goes back to talking about Beane again. Cycle of Oakland.

arc
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

About two-thirds of the people commenting on this post. What a weird thing to ask.

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

this entire discussion is not some referendum on BB’s GMship of the A’s; it’s about one particular trade. Some people apparently feel that BB’s resume is an appropriate defense of this trade for some strange reason.

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 5 months ago

No, you are making things up again.

You’re also terrible at thinking. Read this as many times as it takes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_inference

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

A different angle on this: blame the Mariners giving Seager $100M for being pretty much the exact same player as Donaldson. You don’t think that irked him? He did make reference to the team being cheap. You badmouth Billy, you are gone. Milton Bradley did it, and now we see it again. Reddick is probably next after his outburst.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

It sure will be funny listening to all this when the Opening Day lineup looks like:

CF: Crisp
SS: Rollins
RF: Upton
LF: Moss
DH: Butler
1B: Gattis
3B: Headley
C: Norris
2B: Lawrie

Which is surprisingly feasible.
Let Billy work…we can talk in March about his work but its almost silly to view each move on its own.

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Lawrie loses too much value playing at 2B. I don’t see that happening… which is not to mention that Headley is sure to find better offers outside of Oakland. I don’t see Rollins fitting with this move either. Can definitely see the A’s land Gregorius tho. Seems they have enough young arms to make something work in a deal with the Snakes.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Phillies have coveted Baretto for a while now. If they truly are rebuilding, that’s the kind of trade you make.

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

and what do the A’s want with 36 yo Rollins for 1 season? Would need to be other baubles involved. Not saying that the A’s have to be hanging onto Barreto. Clearly players are nothing more than fungible commodities to BB.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

A’s are contending next year, Rollins fits that window, and team #1 (and probable top 50 in MLB) prospect Daniel Robertson’s ETA is 2016.

I’d rather Alexei though, more years of control. Gotta think Shark for Alexei is being discussed right this second.

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

well, I would similarly wonder what the ChiSox are trying to do since Abreu and LaRoche seem like “now” players… meaning why would they still be interested in dealing their starting SS..?

Tom
Guest
Tom
1 year 5 months ago

I also dont see Lawrie moving to second. As I recall, he made a big stink about that at Toronto and finally began to emerge hitting wise with the shift back to 3rd. And more importantly, nothing could be worse for an injury prone player than to move them to 2nd. If that is what Beane is up to (to sign Headley), I for one will add myself to those who believe Beane is losing his edge. But willing to wait and see what else is up, since something else is up. Reddick probably didnt ingratiate himself by declaring that he thought this was a bad move (in so many words), so he may go.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Its getting so repetitive, the amount of times people question Beane’s moves. Every time its “he’s losing his edge”. What “edge”? He’s put a contender on the field more times with less than everyone. For whatever reason the A’s refuse to win that one game that advances them to the next round, but one game samples are the least relevant. It would be more interesting to talk curses at this point.

The A’s are now 1-14 in playoff series clinch games since 2000. How is that even possible to get that close every time? The Angels always get swept out, but the A’s will always beat whoever they are playing twice and then somehow not advance.

EricR
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

It should be noted:

Brett Lawrie as a 3B: 105 wRC+
Brett Lawrie as a 2B: 105 wRC+

Yeah there’s a mountain of sample size at 3rd, but that doesn’t really matter to this if the perception is that he “started to emerge hitting wise” with a shift back. Looks like he was hitting just fine at 2nd.

Psy Jung
Guest
Psy Jung
1 year 5 months ago

Rollins, Upton, Gattis and Headley
Rollins, Upton, Gattis and Headley
ROLLINS UPTON GATTIS AND HEADLEY
SING IT WITH ME

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

I’ll sing any tune that has the A’s crushing the AL West!

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
1 year 5 months ago

now list the pitching staff..

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Sign Brandon McCarthy too, I left that part out because I was only talking about the offense.

Gray-McCarthy-Kazmir-Chavez-Griffin-Parker-Nolin

A+ team, will win it all :)

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

I forgot Pomeranz in this mix…its pretty mindblowing how loaded the A’s actually are.

Dave
Guest
Dave
1 year 5 months ago

That proposed lineup has the A’s adding another $40 million of salary to their current 2015 commitments. J Upton is due $14.5 million in 2015, Rollins is due $11 million, and Headley is expected to sign for $15 million per year according to this post.

I don’t think that the A’s have the budget to add anything like $40 million more of payroll. Their 2015 payroll – after projected are awards – already exceeds their opening day 2014 payroll.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Can you please show me where Beane and Wolff have talked about their budget, or this is all just coming from your gut?

As far as I know, and I’m a fan who monitors the team closely, they have never once talked about how much money they are budgeting themselves on. I think people think the 2002 Moneyball owners are still owning the team? That is not true, and Wolff has spent money EVERY time eane has told him to. Cespedes, the relievers, now Butler. An issue is getting hitters to want to come and play in a pitcher-friendly park – Adrian Beltre flat out told them he’d take less money and years to not play there – even though he actually mashes there.

glib
Guest
glib
1 year 5 months ago

Sometimes I have the impression that there are now numerous teams with a better analytics department than the Athletics. Including the Giants, and for 15 years I dreamed of Billy moving across the Bay. It is as if he goes by OPS and peak curves, that’s it.

The Ghost of Branch Rickey
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

The Giants win playoffs, and the A’s lose them. You may be right.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Also, is it just me, or are the Jays a way better team if they don’t trade for Dickey and Reyes? Donaldson might be another one on the pile of “trying to win too early” AA moves.

Eric
Guest
Eric
1 year 5 months ago

They need to win before Bautista/Encarnacion’s contracts run out. That or blow it all up now and build a foundation around Stroman/Norris/Sanchez/Lawrie/Pompey. They chose the former.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

That “need to win” urgency has pretty much never resulted in a title. See: Tigers.

bookbook
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

The difficult thing that every team faces is that 29 other teams are also interested in a title. There are probably 15-18 teams that can legitimately dream of winning it all each spring.

Facing those odds, every strategy has pretty much never resulted in a title.

Yet, we must strive.

The Ghost of Branch Rickey
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Strive to be continually competitive. Strive to have as many home-grown players as you can. Strive to have a very good team every year.

But don’t throw away the future in Addison Russell just to rent some average pitchers.

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 5 months ago

Unsurprisingly, you don’t know what average means.

everdiso
Member
everdiso
1 year 5 months ago

didn’t they choose both?

Jose Maldonado
Member
Jose Maldonado
1 year 5 months ago

“I reserve the right to retroactively hate this deal if they don’t do anything else to make their 2015 team better this winter. But if this is just the first move in a series, then I’d like to see what those moves are before I pass judgment on this one.”

I don’t know if you meant to be funny but I was cracking up when I read this lol

Compton
Guest
Compton
1 year 5 months ago

Seeing an underwhelming return featuring a slew of not great prospects reminds me of a similar Athletics trade a few years back.

Remember when they dealt Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin for Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson, and some random A-ball catcher?

That catcher was Josh Donaldson.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 5 months ago

It could be the real brain behind the Oakland As success in the last few years is now sitting in the front office of the Dodgers.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Nope, he made deals that everyone hated too, deals that meant the A’s made the postseason.

Max G
Guest
Max G
1 year 5 months ago

Alex Anthopoulos, from ESPN:

“Donaldson’s been an outstanding player,” Anthopoulos said. “We’re getting a middle-of-the-order bat, and it’s something that we need. We didn’t expect him to be available. … It doesn’t hurt to ask. We asked if there was any way we could ask about Donaldson. Billy told me emphatically no. We left it at that. A few days ago, we were talking again and asked again. Finally when Brett was involved to replace Josh, that’s when it started to move again.”

Despite being a Jays fan, I am astonished that Lawrie was valued this high. Including Lawrie in the talks made Beane change his mind about Donaldson as untouchable to being tradeable? Did Billy Beane watch the same games as I did? In Lawrie I saw a player that hustled, played with great intensity, good defense at 3rd, but bad at 2nd, and had an occasionally hot bat, but the hot streaks were few and far in between massive cold spells where he looked lost at the plate. And, as an added bonus, he seems to constantly get injured. When you factor in that the Jays will have longer team control of Donaldson than the A’s will of Lawrie, it becomes a very bizarre deal. I think from the A’s perspective this deal was more about Barreto, an 18-yr old SS coming off of a fantastic, albeit short season in low-A ball. There is a lot of potential there. Still, that is just potential, and potential can sometimes be overvalued. There are dozens of potentially good 18-yr old players every year that never even make the majors. Who knows how Barreto will turn out once he plays in AA & AAA. Nolin and Graveman are more experienced and closer to the bigs, but they are nothing to get that excited about considering that the A’s are trading away their best player and neither Nolin or Graveman project as future all-stars.

All of that said, this is what Beane is getting for Donaldson: a lot of potential from some okay prospects years away from making an impact, plus a disappointing but talented injury-prone 3-WAR-ceiling player. That is not much of a haul for arguably one of the top-5 players in the game. I feel like Christmas came early for me with this deal, and that Beane is beginning to outsmart himself into oblivion.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Why did AA say they needed a middle of the order bat? They have plenty of those.

I actually think this deal is pretty even for both sides, but Beane can flip these prospects into something that makes it a winner. Like if he turns JD into a 3B, SS or 2B thats 2 spots covered when before there was only 1. Using a really basic /10 system, you take two 6/10 guys over one 7/10 and one 2/10, like they had this year.

KG
Guest
KG
1 year 5 months ago

Agreed. I’m not sure why people are treating this as a JD for Lawrie swap. Lawrie was thrown in to make the loss of his starting 3B palatable to BB. Barreto is the centerpiece of the deal and he will be flipped. If not now then sometime during next season.

plutopluto
Guest
plutopluto
1 year 5 months ago

It is possible we fangraph fans like to defend Beane’s decision because his analytic driven philosophy. But in the end, one have to realize that he is dealing with a very low payroll and for the past 3 years have to keep competitive. So comparing A’s to larger payroll teams like giants and sox for WS titles is … quite unfair.

I loved the Cepesde for Lester trade, because that is the only way he could get that level of starting pitcher at that moment. The play-off games are really …some what random. And Lester did give up the lead in 8th which we can always argue he shouldn’t have started. And if the A’s were to pass the Royals, they could be the one in WS too. No one was expecting all four of the favorites fall out in the division round right? And even you have Kershaw, you can not garrantee wins in playoff. Detroit traded for Price and that didn’t work either.

And maybe he could get better value with Donaldson, but look at 3B needy teams, Padres does not match up well with their need for 2B/SS; I don’t believe the Sox would trade Betts; Yankees themselves need new SS and 2B.

It is a creative move to rebuild in the fly and try to maintain competitive in 2015 and beyond. Let’s just enjoy what Beane brings to the table and wait for his show hand.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

The payroll thing is a myth. Wolff has money and has spent it every time Beane has told him he needs to. The 2014 A’s cracked $100M in total payroll after those trades. Wolfe has never said he is operating under budget constraints, in fact he was the one pressured Beane to make his actual, real deal worst trade ever, Cargo for Holliday. Wolfe wanted a star and Beane thought the pitching would take that division. Both were wrong.

Evan Fangoria
Guest
Evan Fangoria
1 year 5 months ago

Very good points, re Lew Wolff and the A’s payroll “limits.” Can’t agree though about the Cargo-for-Holliday swap. The mistake was when Oakland traded away Holliday for 3 StL prospects who never panned out.

Holliday was okay as an Athletic, and has been productive every year since — I’d say he was a very worthy trade target, and if acquiring him was Wolff’s idea then Wolff got that one right.

Johnston
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Another stupid Billy Beane trade. I would be shocked, except for the fact that after he tossed away Addison Russell, the man’s idiotic trades have lost the capability to shock me.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

A’s make the playoffs every year though.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

“A’s make the playoffs every year though”

Someone must have hacked Baseball-Reference and changed the outcomes for the A’s during Beane’s stewardship.

_

Highlight and Google: John Powers Middleton Felony Fraud

_

The Ghost of Branch Rickey
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

“A’s make the playoffs every year though.”

Like Hell. Beane’s been the GM since 1997 and the A’s have gone to the playoffs eight times, which is less than fifty percent.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
1 year 5 months ago

Why does it seem that so many people are willing to bend over backwards to stay within the confines of the A’s Apologists Group?

People continually note this bias on Fangraphs, and loyal readers and writers seem to brush it off defensively rather than take a step back and realize that the A’s very possibly have been unsettled as the shrewdest team in baseball, and that perhaps outsiders are onto a bias that is invisible to the throng of insiders.

On a value-lost, value-gained scale, this trade is very reminiscent of the Tigers moving Fister. What was the reaction to that trade again? And Donaldson had how many years of relatively inexpensive team control remaining?

These are not the A’s of 10 years ago.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 5 months ago

Billy was trying hard to “sell high”, but he didn’t get enough value. I can’t believe he couldn’t get a team’s top 3 prospect + a major league ready player for Donaldson.

I would be happy with Lawrie + Stroman, seems fair. This trade is not.

BRH
Guest
BRH
1 year 5 months ago

Perhaps you are correct. Either that, or the 29 GMs not named Billy Beane do not share your enthusiasm for Donaldson.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 5 months ago

So you don’t think Red Sox would have given up Betts for donaldson before they signed Pablo? LOL

Max G
Guest
Max G
1 year 5 months ago

If Anthopoulos is to be believed, the A’s were not shopping Donaldson and considered him untouchable. According to Anthopoulos, he called Beane about Donaldson repeatedly and Beane warmed up to the idea only after Lawrie was included. Apparently Beane values Lawrie very highly, despite his inconsistency at the plate and near-constant injuries.

arc
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

…No chance.

plutopluto
Guest
plutopluto
1 year 5 months ago

No, Red Sox won’t give up Betts for Donaldson. They likes him that much.
Every GM is going to over-value their own prospects.
And I am not sure a bunch of “top prospects” is what Beane wants anyways.

Johnston
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Yes, this is reminiscent of the Fister trade. There is a valuable player being traded away for magic beans and lottery tickets. This trade is just as stupid as the Fister trade, and it makes me want to throw things just as much.

How in the Hell are the A’s ever going to function without any offensive leaders? Billy seems determined to trade them all away. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

This is absolutely nothing like the Fister trade. The Fister trade was a total give-away. Every player the A’s got back is better than who Detroit got for Fister.

BenRevereDoesSteroids
Guest
BenRevereDoesSteroids
1 year 5 months ago

Yes, every player the A’s got back is better. But Donaldson is a MUCH better commodity than Fister. 4 years of team control for the best 3B in baseball vs 2 of a top 15ish pitcher. And I think that the Lawrie & Co. haul is pretty proportional to the Robbie Ray haul, when you consider the value of Fister and Donaldson.

The Ghost of Branch Rickey
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

This trade was another giveaway. An injury-prone dork who can’t hit and three lottery tickets for an excellent 3B? Insanity.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Ok but don’t be sad when Donaldson suddenly turns into an “injury prone dork” too and misses half the season due to playing on turf.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

What was Josh Donaldson doing at age 24? Not hitting 12 HR in 70 which is 27 over a full season like Lawrie just did.

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 5 months ago

This trade was another giveaway. An injury-prone dork who can’t hit and three lottery tickets for an excellent 3B? Insanity.

Addison Russel is “the future”, a total certainty, and Barreto is a “lottery ticket”. God you’re an idiot.

KG
Guest
KG
1 year 5 months ago

“Relatively inexpensive team control” is a different concept for these two ball clubs. For the A’s, Donaldson had 1 inexpensive year remaining. For the Jays he has 4.

And, you clearly didn’t read the comments section before posting about the “A’s Apologists Group.” (Does this need be a proper noun?)

pft
Guest
pft
1 year 5 months ago

Red Sox had one of the worst offense in the AL. Interesting everyone keeps saying they had too many hitters before the signings.

Beanes pretty smart, it may very well be the prospects he got from the Blue Jays make this deal. Moving Lawrie to 2B and signing Headley will make them a better team than Donaldson alone at 3B and whomever at 2B. Key will be health of Lawrie, and maybe getting off the turf helps there.

John
Guest
John
1 year 5 months ago

Here’s what I love about this piece and what I love about Dave Cameron’s writing in general: the overflow of thought, the sensitivity to nuance, the ability to allow seemingly oppositional ideas to interact, and yet the ability to say something definitive.

Al
Guest
Al
1 year 5 months ago

You forgot the part where every time he predicts something, he predicts it incorrectly.

David H
Guest
David H
1 year 5 months ago

Will getting Lawrie off of the Toronto turf have any effect?

bookbook
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Billy Beane has made bad moves before. It doesn’t mean his mojo’s gone. He’ll make more good ones, too.

Johnston
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Lately he just makes really stupid ones.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 5 months ago

At this point who still watches Oakland As baseball?

The team has become a JOKE with an overrated GM. Just because Brad Pitt played him in some movie once.

The Giants are THE team in the Bay Area. Oakland is a small metro here, and all non SF bay area, including the city of San Jose, are identifying themselves as Giants fans. The Giants have an identifiable group of superstars, and there is no doubt some extra synergy is involved from guys playing with each other every year.

The problem with As drawing fans is that nobody knows who plays on the As anymore. How do you identify with a team with no superstars, with no cornerstone players? As soon as they become somewhat household names, they are dealt away for more prospects? On paper there is WAR, but in real life, there is a human element lost in the whole charade Oakland puts on. Even if this type of move is neutral in WAR, it will have long lasting impact on fan loyalty and revenue loss.

RSF
Guest
RSF
1 year 5 months ago

This is a giant, steaming pile of hot take.

CM52
Member
CM52
1 year 5 months ago

It’s almost as if being able to afford about double the payroll makes it easier for the Giants to retain their best players.

Johnston
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Which is partially because the MLB will not let Oakland moved to San Jose.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

The A’s outdrew the Royals (lol), White Sox, Astros, Indians, Marlins, almost the Mariners all while playing in one of the the oldest non-renovated stadiums in baseball with a team with a brand new park minutes nearby. That’s actually impressive.

The problem with the A’s drawing fans is because they play in an old stadium and the Giants wont let them move further to San Jose. Which makes no sense, but no bother, Oakland is on the rise thanks to SF being the most expensive city in America.

But why is there a Giants team store in Walnut Creek anyway? How was that allowed to happen?Oh yeah, the A’s aren’t run by a devil like the Giants are.

ReuschelCakes
Guest
ReuschelCakes
1 year 5 months ago

AT&T Park: The House That PEDs Built

Helladecimal
Guest
Helladecimal
1 year 5 months ago

Great article. It doesn’t have to be either/or contend/rebuild, however. The A’s could be looking to put a consistently competitive team on the field while balancing the needs of providing a sustainable quality long-term product. If this is the case, than it probably beats the feast-or-famine plague of low-payroll teams when it comes to producing successful seasons. Who knows the kind of pressure or intentions the owner is placing on the Front Office, because they are ultimately trying to please him. If there actually exists a fanbase to expand upon in the East Bay, than having a team always within the realm of divisional contention is probably worth it, especially since once the postseason begins, anything can happen.

I’m not going to go on record and say this is the shrewdest move in baseball history, or that dealing Cespedes and a top SS prospect for an all-in run is the equivalent to guru luminary foresight, but you can, to some extent, assume that this move is aimed at supplementing organizational strength in the intermediate term as a partial recoup on a failed series of investments.

PackBob
Guest
PackBob
1 year 5 months ago

Beane gets these gotta fiddle itches that he just has to scratch. His limited budget is the enabler. The closer to peak value his traded players are, the more new pieces he gets to play with.

Who knows how his baseball mind works?

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

That’s why Beane rejected the Red Sox offer. Beane knew he would be exposed in Boston.

_

Highlight and Google: John Powers Middleton Felony Fraud

_

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 5 months ago

There’s that old saying that it’s better to trade a player too early than too late. Beane, for better or worse, I think is one of the only GM’s in the game that actually does this.

SlickRick
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

To a fault.

Johnston
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Obsessively. He trades them before he ever needs to.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

That statement condescends the original point.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 5 months ago

No one can always know the precise time to trade a player. Either you’re proactive and trade them when their value is high – while trying your best to time it to the point where you think it won’t get higher – or you keep them while their value is high and eventually get stuck with them when their value goes down.

I’m not saying Beane is implementing this strategy to its absolute greatest potential, but it seems to me that if you look at the best traders at NYSE, you’d probably find more similarities to how Beane does it than to other, less proactive GMs.

Also, the last thing we have to consider is that he probably could not sign Donaldson to an extension whether he wants to or not. Extending him might have been Beane’s first preference, but with that not an option, the best option left it to sell a guy when his value can only go down.

CM52
Member
CM52
1 year 5 months ago

That’s kind of the point, if you weren’t able to pick up on that. You don’t want to be at the point where you need to.

Sandy Kazmir
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Yes this absolutely. His value ($/WAR) will never be higher even if he maintains performance. Rockies could have learned a thing or two about this with CarGo and they’re not alone. Players just don’t have the longevity so you can’t be afraid to churn and burn. Maybe you get 90 cents back and maybe that’s better than the alternative. It has to be frustrating for A’s fans, but there’s a reason that they haven’t had a true rebuild in a dog’s day. The Rays were doing very well with this, but they seem to isolate on only trading pitchers while keeping hitters and taking the pick. We’ll see if this continues with Joyce and Zobrist or if they (rightly) cash in the chip while they can.

glib
Guest
glib
1 year 5 months ago

this winter is dominated by C turned elite 3B. I do hope the G think about it, and find a way to play both Susac and Posey at the same time.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

I’m very interested to see if Lawrie suddenly doesn’t get hurt anymore now he’s off the turf. The fact that Melky came out and said it was very telling. Also Joey Bats missing time all the time too, come to think of it, a lot of Jays are “injury prone”. Turf is terrible.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 5 months ago

As a Dodger fan, an optimistic way to interpret this is that Farhan Zaidi was the brains behind of lot of these moves, and that with him gone, Beane is doing things that don’t make as much sense like signing Butler and making this trade. (of course i don’t actually believe this)

baycommuter
Guest
baycommuter
1 year 5 months ago

Michael Lewis made it all about Beane, but the A’s had pretty much the same analytics-driven system in place under Alderson. Zaidi was a good piece in the same way Donaldson was–someone whose talent was recognized and nurtured by the organization.

The Ghost of Branch Rickey
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Look at Zaidi’s resume. The man is so much smarter than Beane that it’s amazing.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Its surprising he isn’t at google, he’s wasting his brain in sports.

Gleb
Guest
Gleb
1 year 5 months ago

Lawrie is Injury prone and nothing special offensively IMO. Solid glove.
I don’t like how Donaldson is portrayed as if he’s old as if he was 32, when in reality He’s 29. Its not unbelievable for the jays to get 3 5+WAR years from Donaldson if not possibly better.
And trading for Utley? Or spending limited resources on a second third baseman and moving lawrie to 2nd base?
O.o
Que….?

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 5 months ago

Lawrie had 12 HR in 70 games last year, in a year where no one hit HRs and he was headed for 27 over a full season at age 24…you are way out of line with calling him “nothing special”.

Johnston
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Lawrie’s not anything special. Donaldson is.

ReuschelCakes
Guest
ReuschelCakes
1 year 5 months ago

“I reserve the right to retroactively hate this deal if they don’t do anything else to make their 2015 team better this winter. But if this is just the first move in a series, then I’d like to see what those moves are before I pass judgment on this one.”

One thing I do not like about this logic: if you do something value-destroying and then do something value-enhancing, you better be pretty damned sure that the former was absolutely necessary and that the latter was highly achievable. Maybe the net result is fine, but there is a lot of risk in viewing it this way…

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