Power Ranking Oakland Athletics' Offseason Signings, Trades so Far

Nick HouserCorrespondent IIDecember 23, 2013

Power Ranking Oakland Athletics' Offseason Signings, Trades so Far

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    Jerry Blevins, likely just wiping his brow, looks as if he's waving one final goodbye to the Oakland fans.
    Jerry Blevins, likely just wiping his brow, looks as if he's waving one final goodbye to the Oakland fans.Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Last week I gave out grades for all of the transactions made by the Oakland Athletics. This week, I'm going to power rank them.

    What's the difference?

    The grades were for all of the moves made—both big and small—for the A's roster and for the minor league rosters. I also graded predominantly based on short-term repercussions (from right now through the end of the 2014 season).

    This time around I will power rank with the long-term impact in mind (covering 2014 and beyond if applicable). I'll also stick to the major trades and signings.

    Considerations include the impact the incoming player will have long-term and a look at how much the loss of the outgoing player will hurt long-term.

     

     

Honorable Mentions

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    The A's traded Choice to the rival Texas Rangers.
    The A's traded Choice to the rival Texas Rangers.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Michael Choice and Chris Bostick for Craig Gentry and Josh Lindblom

    This move is on the honorable mentions slide rather than on a stand-alone slide (and ranked) because it's not a great one for the short term or in the long term.

    Choice was a top-five prospect in Oakland.

    MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranks Choice as Texas' third-best prospect:

    Even if he does settle in a corner position -- likely left field because of his below-average arm strength -- his bat should get him to the big leagues. Once he's there, Choice has the chance to be a better all-around hitter than perhaps people give him credit for.

    Choice might even start for the Rangers in 2014, whereas Gentry—six years older than Choice—will be Oakland's fourth outfielder.

    If you throw in Bostick, who has a bright future at second base, for Lindblom, who might not even make the roster, it makes it that much worse.

     

    Chris Gimenez Claimed

    The move above is bad. This move is basically a non-factor.

    Gimenez hit .333 in four September games after being called up. Yet the A's make the 30-year-old's fourth team in six seasons. Catcher is looking mighty crowded, too, with Derek Norris, John Jaso and Stephen Vogt.

    Gimenez is not a long-term factor in Oakland's plans.

    To make room, the A's released Pedro Figueroa, which will not have dire long-term consequences. His spot has already been more than filled with other, stronger relievers.

     

    Fernando Abad for John Wooten

    The A's gave up a Single-A outfielder who was years away from the big leagues. It's difficult to know his long-term impact, but he was by no means a top-20 prospect. That, and the A's have already traded for another outfield prospect, so the loss of Wooten isn't bad.

    Abad is the question mark.

    Initially, it appeared Abad would head straight to Oakland's bullpen. But after acquisitions of Lindblom, Drew Pomeranz, Chris Jensen, Luke Gregerson and Jim Johnson, Abad either won't make the squad or he'll be the last-ditch option.

    Long-term, Abad won't make or break the A's. Neither will Wooten.

No. 7: Cash for Corey Brown

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    Brown goes back to the A's, who sent him to Washington in the first place.
    Brown goes back to the A's, who sent him to Washington in the first place.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, "Brown has no options remaining, meaning there is a good chance he will make the club out of camp as Oakland's fifth outfielder." Lee then pointed out Brown's competition—Shane Peterson and Michael Taylor.

    If Brown doesn't make the 40-man, he's gone. If he does make the roster, it's as the fifth outfielder.

    So the long-term impact is near nonexistent.

    That is, unless Brown rebounds in a huge way. Doing so can spark an interest to re-sign him down the road and let Gentry walk when he becomes a free agent. That would give Brown the opportunity to be the fourth outfielder moving forward.

    It could happen, but that seems like a long shot.

No. 6: Daric Barton Signs a 1-Year Contract

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    Barton is Oakland's longest-tenured player.
    Barton is Oakland's longest-tenured player.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Can you judge a player's long-term impact if they're on a one-year deal?

    Barton's "long-term" impact is essentially no more. He's older now, no longer a prospect and clearly isn't the first baseman of the future. But will he stick around longer than one year? It seems likely, mostly because he's just kind of always stuck around.

    Barton's talent lies in the fact that he's a solid, late-inning, defensive replacement. That's not a terrible thing to have on a team.

No. 5: Brett Anderson for Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen

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    Anderson was one of the longest-tenured A's players until his recent trade.
    Anderson was one of the longest-tenured A's players until his recent trade.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    It's a bit of a disappointment that Oakland got a project arm and another long-shot reliever. To be fair, Anderson is a project arm himself, though, so getting a ton for him in return wasn't plausible.

    Short-term, this move is "meh."

    But long-term, it actually makes quite a bit of sense. Anderson will make $8 million in 2014. With a lesser price tag, Anderson used to be worth the risk. The talent was that rewarding. But for $8 million, it's just too risky.

    So now Anderson becomes Colorado's risk to take.

    Meanwhile, Oakland takes on a new project in Drew Pomeranz—one that, if it works well, helps the team prosper for cheaper than Anderson. If he fails, it's not that big of a deal—it's not an $8 million kind of big deal.

    Then throw in yet another wild-card piece in Chris Jensen.

    He isn't a top-20 prospect by any means, so if he too falters, it doesn't hurt. And if he proves himself, then this trade becomes even better in Oakland's favor.

    The only way this hurts long-term is if Brett Anderson never gets hurt again and pitches like an ace. At this point, though, that's a big if.

No. 4: Signing Scott Kazmir

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    Kazmir rebounded in a strong way in 2013.
    Kazmir rebounded in a strong way in 2013.Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    In the short-term, Scott Kazmir takes over the spot Bartolo Colon once held as the veteran starter.

    Long-term, he's only signed to a two-year deal. That's a good thing for multiple reasons.

    One, the money committed to Kazmir won't be the death of the A's. It's a short contract, which means money is freed up in just a few years (which is always a good thing). Similarly—arguably reason No. 1—if Kazmir is awful, the money comes off the books soon.

    No. 2, if Kazmir performs and the A's are in contention, well, that's obviously a great thing.

    And three, if Kazmir pitches well, and the rest of the team underperforms, then he'll be a hot commodity at the July trade deadline.

    He'll have plenty of impact in a few years, whether that means saved money or a player in return.

No. 3: Jemile Weeks and David Freitas for Jim Johnson

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    The A's don't have a solid answer at second base still. Could Weeks have been that answer?
    The A's don't have a solid answer at second base still. Could Weeks have been that answer?Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Though the A's only have Jim Johnson for one year, this is a great move for now and in the future, for reasons the same as with Kazmir.

    Johnson replaces Grant Balfour and is five years younger. Just like Kazmir, if he pitches well and the A's don't see the results they'd like, Johnson can net an awesome return at the trade deadline. That's a long-term reward for one half of a season out of Johnson.

    The best result would be Johnson helping the A's to a World Series.

    In doing so, the A's would get the ultimate short-term win, then have money immediately free to sign cheaper options for the future. 

    The loss doesn't hurt either.

    The Athletics appeared to have all but given up on Jemile Weeks.  And David Freitas did not fit into long-term catching plans.  The A's have plenty of young catchers already.

No. 2: Seth Smith for Luke Gregerson

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    Luke Gregerson joins an already stout bullpen.
    Luke Gregerson joins an already stout bullpen.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    In the short-term, this is a fantastic trade. The bullpen is now insanely potent, and all it took to get Gregerson was Seth Smith, who put up average to below-average numbers last season.

    But let's look at the long-term effects.

    Smith is 31. Gregerson will turn 30 in May 2014. So age isn't really a factor here. Move on to contracts, and you'll see Smith made $3.675 million in 2013. Gregerson earned $3.2 million. Both men are arbitration eligible. Both become free agents after the 2014 season.

    So the contract isn't necessarily a major factor either.

    Talent-wise, though, you can make the easy argument that Gregerson will give the A's more than Smith would moving forward, based on past performances. Gregerson has always been a strong relief arm; Smith has always been an average hitter with decent pop.

    Oakland will pay around the same for a player one year younger, who has shown more talent, for the same amount of time. And because he's more talented, if the ship begins to sink, the A's can get more for Gregerson later than they would for Smith.

     

     

No. 1: Jerry Blevins for Billy Burns

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    With so many additions to the bullpen, Blevins became expendable.
    With so many additions to the bullpen, Blevins became expendable.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    For next year, this move makes the A's weaker. But in the long run, this is a very smart decision by Billy Beane.

    Reliever Jerry Blevins made $1.1 million in 2013, which is more than reasonable. But he's arbitration eligible in 2014 and should earn quite the raise after a maintaining a 3.15 ERA in 60 innings pitched.

    Besides, the A's don't spend a lot of money on relievers often. The fact that they traded for Jim Johnson, who makes a little over $10 million, is surprising. So paying an additional $2-3 million for Blevins clearly was not in the plans.

    He's effective, and he's just 30 years old. Now was the time to strike.

    In return, the A's get a fantastic outfield prospect. Billy Burns adds yet another young talent to the list of B.J. Boyd and Billy McKinney, not to mention Corey Brown, Michael Taylor and Shane Peterson, if any of them pan out.