At the trade deadline it is commonplace for contending teams to ship away prospects in return for established big league players.
The San Francisco Giants pulled the plug with two of their top pitching prospects to acquire Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox. The LA Angels parted with two hitting prospects and two pitching prospects to land closer Huston Street, who will provide an immediate fix to their bullpen. The Oakland A's also proved capable of parting with cherished prospects when they dealt shortstop-of-the-future Addison Russell and Billy McKinney for two years of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
While the A's still have a need for an upgrade at second base and are blessed with the minor league talent to make such a trade happen, the organization has a slew of prospects who are far more valuable to its future than any big league second baseman currently on the market.
For Billy Beane, the general manager of the A's, it is a difficult decision to make: Is it worth sacrificing sustained success in the future for a World Series run this year?
For the following five prospects, the simple answer is no.
Ranked in a manner that factors in the current needs of the A's, and both the dominance and volatility of starting pitching (offense is at an all-time low, but Tommy John surgeries are at an all-time high) across all of baseball, the message is simple: Do not trade these five minor league players and the A's will be World Series contenders, not just in 2014, but for the next decade.