Oakland A's: 10 Benefits to Dealing Gio, Cahill and Bailey
It was a more than eventful offseason for the A's. They lost their closer, two of their top starters and both of their corner outfielders. Needless to say this will be a very different looking A's team come opening day.
Though losing three all-star pitchers in the course of a month may seem like the club is heading in a horrible direction, it may actually work to the A's advantage, eventually. Clearly the loss of Gonzalez, Cahill and Bailey will impact the A's this season, but with the Angels and Rangers both making big splashes in free agency, the A's were bound to miss the playoffs again this year anyway.
Though the present looks bleak, things may turn around sooner rather than later for the A's. Here are 10 reasons why the A's benefit from trading Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey.
It's no secret that A's GM Billy Beane traded his top talent so that by the time these prospects fully developed in the majors, their hopefully new ballpark in San Jose would waiting for them, and with the stadium, would be the necessary bump in income to re-sign them.
Before their new stadium in Miami, the Marlins were one of the poorest in the MLB, having to trade away their talent just like the A's. This offseason, however, saw them bring in players like Jose Reyes for $108 million and Mark Buehrle for $58 million.
By trading these players now, the A's will be able to re-sign their top talent later on and remain competitive for a longer period of time.
The Haul They Got Back in Return
The days of Oakland possessing one of the best farm systems in baseball are long gone. Top prospects like Grant Green and Ian Krol fizzled last year, and these trades have definitely bolstered a steadily thinning farm system.
With the addition of new prospects like Derek Norris and A.J. Cole, the A's now have very good talent at each level. Add them to the also newly-acquired Jarrod Parker and Brad Peacock, and Oakland now has a very deep and young talent pool to help them rebuild going forward.
Gives You Money to Play with Now
If the A's were to have kept Gio Gonzalez, it would've cost them $42 million, and assuming Trevor Cahill straightens out, it would've cost around the same to keep him as well. Quite frankly, the A's don't have that kind of money at their disposal.
By trading these players now it allows the A's to lock up some key pieces like Jemile Weeks and Josh Reddick in the next few years. That's big considering these players are still a few seasons away from reaching their primes. The sooner the A's sign them, the more money they'll save by not having to give them bigger contracts when they're value is higher later in their careers.
Opportunity for Other Players
Trading the three also allows for other, overlooked players to emerge. Players like Fautino de los Santos and Tyson Ross weren't able to fulfill their potential because their roles on the team were limited due to players ahead of them in the rotation and bullpen.
Even players like Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso aren't in the picture anymore. That means less competition for guys like Ross and Graham Godfrey as they try to prove that they belong in Oakland and not Sacramento.
Last year, the A's got solid contribution from guys like Moscoso and Brandon McCarthy who came out of nowhere to log serious innings after several starters went down due to injuries. Look for someone unexpected to once again come in and replace some of the production that left for Washington and Arizona.
Trevor Cahill's Production Was Sliding
The 2011 season was supposed to be one that saw Trevor Cahill emerge as the ace of the A's staff. In 2010, Cahill was named to his first All-Star game at the age of 22 and emerged as a legitimate Cy Young candidate by the end of the year, finishing with an ERA of 2.97.
Unfortunately for the A's, Cahill was far from an ace in 2011. The season was a major disappointment for Cahill, one that saw him lose 14 games with an ERA that ballooned to 4.16 by the end of the year. Those kind of numbers don't exactly bode well for a contact pitcher playing in the extremely pitcher-friendly Coliseum.
Now Cahill is still young and his production may straighten out, but trading him now guarantees you get top talent in return for a player whose finished a season with an ERA under 4.00 only once in his career.
Andrew Bailey Is Injury Prone
One of the biggest traits you look for in a closer is reliability, and Andrew Bailey was far from it during his tenure with the A's. Aside from his rookie campaign, Bailey has seen his fair share of time on the DL, missing 97 games over the past two seasons due to injury.
What was even more concerning is that twice in his young career he's had issues with his throwing arm. So when money is sparse, why would you invest serious money in a guy who has a reputation of being injury-prone?
And it's not like you have no one that can replace Bailey. The A's have two established veterans in Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes who can take over that 9th inning role if Fautino de los Santos isn't quite ready for the job.
The centerpiece of the Bailey trade with the Red Sox was Josh Reddick. In Reddick, you get an experienced, yet young player capable of being a mainstay at the top of your lineup for the next eight to 10 years.
After playing only sparingly in Boston, Reddick will now have a chance to play full time in Oakland. That consistency is big for a young player like Reddick who's still trying to get fully acclimated to playing in the majors.
For the past few years, the A's have seemed to essentially rent out their outfield spots. Having an established guy back there will pay dividends when top OF prospects Michael Choice and Grant Green make the jump to Oakland and the A's could use a veteran presence.
The A's Weren't Winning with Gonzalez, Cahill and Bailey
Since the three pitchers arrived in Oakland, the A's have never finished a season with a record over .500. In fact, last season was their worst since 1998 when they finished the regular season 74-88, same as last year's club.
The three are good players, but not good enough to carry a team. When the A's had the Big Three in the early 2000's, they also had a great corps of offensive talent that included Miguel Tejada and Jason Giambi. Trading these three brought in not only their replacements, but some young players who have the potential to eventually fill some holes in the lineup.
Gonzalez and Cahill Couldn't Perform Against the Best Teams
Though Cahill and Gonzalez have proven to be quality players the past couple seasons, they've been unable to compete with the best teams in the league. Against the Yankees and Red Sox, both have struggled mightily in their careers.
For Gonzalez, he has a career ERA of 5.79 against Boston, and a 7.27 career ERA against New York. That's actually a good career against the Yankees compared to Cahill's. In five career starts against New York, Cahill has a career ERA of 10.95, including three starts that saw him give up over six runs or more in each. However, against Boston he's had far more success, posting a minuscule ERA of 5.55.
If Oakland really wants to contend for more than just division championships, then they need players who can beat the best competition. It was apparent that Gonzalez and Cahill weren't capable of that during their time with Oakland, but hopefully for the A's, Brad Peacock and Jarrod Parker can be those guys to get them over the hump.
You Still Have Your Most Talented Pitcher Coming Back
One guy the A's didn't trade was Brett Anderson. The forgotten man in Oakland due to injuries, no one has ever questioned Anderson's potential as a front of the rotation starter. Still only 24, there's plenty of time for Anderson to come back from Tommy John surgery and compete at the level the A's know he's capable of.
And don't forget about perfect game thrower Dallas Braden coming back as well. If both are able to come back from injuries and regain their old form, then most of the production being lost would be replaced from within. The loss of Gonzalez, Cahill and Bailey will hurt, but the cupboard isn't bare either.