How Does Oakland Do It?!

Chris HesterSenior Analyst IJune 20, 2008

Quick, off the top of your head (and no cheating), name me five current Oakland A's.

Rich Harden and Eric Chavez come to mind since they've been there for a while.  Frank Thomas some of you may remember recently signed with the A's after being released from Toronto.

Anyone else?  Some of you fantasy guys may have named Huston Street.  I would imagine that may be the extent of your knowledge about Oakland, and who can blame you?

Billy Beanehas had a habit out of trading his superstar players before they become eligible for free agency and somehow continues to put a competitive team on the field.

Just look at this season as a perfect example of what he's been able to pull off during his time as the A's GM.  At 39-33 Oakland has a better record than the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, and the entire NL West!

During his tenure Mr. Beane has seen players like Miguel Tejeda, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Jason Giambi, Dan Haren, and Jason Isringhausen come and go yet somehow has kept this team competitive year after year.

Take this past offseason moves for Oakland.  Mr. Beane traded ace starter Dan Haren (7-4 with a 3.26 ERA this season) to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a package of prospects that included SP Dana Eveland (5-5 with a 3.86 ERA this season), SP Greg Smith (4-5 with a 3.51 ERA this season), stud OF prospect Carlos Gonzalez, along with a couple other minor league players.

Nick Swisher was sent packing to the Chicago Whitesox for a package that included Ryan Sweeney (.304 avg. with 2 HR and 23 RBI this season) and possible future ace starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (185 Ks in 150 innings during his 2007 season).

Last but certainly not least the A's traded fan favorite and often injured CF Mark Kotsay to the Atlanta Braves for RP Joey Devine(3-0 with a 1.23 ERA this season).  Joey was being groomed to be the "closer of the future" in Atlanta and may take over for Street if/when Beane decides to trade him away. 

With the trade deadline quickly approaching, GMs around the league have to be nervous when they see their phone light up and hear Billy's voice on the other end.  He has systematically picked apart many a farm club on his way to keeping the A's payroll near the bottom of the league.

Maybe there is something to this "Moneyball" theory after all?