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The Five Best Deadline Swindles of the Moneyball Era

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The Five Best Deadline Swindles of the Moneyball Era
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Well, the other shoe has finally dropped in Oakland. In a long-anticipated move, the Athletics sent Matt Holliday away to a contending NL team. That team turned out to be the St. Louis Cardinals. In return, the A's received a package of young players headlined by St. Louis's top prospect, Brett ("I Am the Walrus") Wallace.

The A's have been sellers at the deadline the last two seasons, and though the jury is still out on the future of the young players the A's acquired today, the "sell" trade position thus far has overall produced mixed results for Oaktown's ballclub.

Last season, the A's shipped Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Cubs for SP Sean Gallagher (now gone as part of the Scott Hairston trade), OFs Matt Murton (gone as well) and Eric Patterson (back with the big league club now that Holliday is gone), and C Josh Donaldson (putting up a middling .270-.395-.423 line at Double-A Midland).

On the other hand, only nine days later during the same trade deadline, the A's traded Joe Blanton to the Phillies for a number of prospects topped by Josh Outman. This season, the younger Outman (4-1, 3.48 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) was "out"-pitching Blanton (6-4, 4.24 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) until he had to go on the DL after having Tommy John surgery.

But the pièces de résistance of deadline deals during the Moneyball Era, and the deals easier to judge in hindsight, are those that came when Billy Beane was aggressively buying pieces of the team that made the playoffs five out of seven years. Let's revisit some of those highlights in this slideshow.

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