The events of this past week have not surprised me in the least. All-Stars were named, players were traded, and gems were pitched.
During this past week, we have seen the usual assortment of Red Sox and Yankees on the All-Star team; the biggest name on the market traded; and two great starts by Andy Pettite and Justin Duchscherer. The All-Star game also claimed "The Duke" as the Athletics' lone representative.
However, I am not here today to speak about the All-Star game. I am here to talk about two major trades that just occurred, one day after the other.
C.C. Sabathia, former ace of the Cleveland Indians, is now sharing the ace spotlight with the oft-injured Ben Sheets. Traded for four prospects, the Indians got their fair share for their ace; however, the question rests on the Milwaukee Brewers and the gall to make such a trade.
Sure, the trade seems very good at the moment, as it puts the Brewers into prime contention for the NL Central pennant. What about next year? What if Sabathia decides to pull off a Brian Campbell (see San Jose Sharks) and takes off for another team?
If Sabathia walks after a Brewer golf tournament in October, the Brewers front office is going to be taking the heat with nothing to show for the trade of the season, except for maybe the loss of several key prospects.
Trading for players at the end of their contract years might prove good for the present, but almost never pays off in the long run. That’s why I prefer the ways of Billy Beane, Oakland’s trade guru.
Year in and year out, Beane manages to field a competitive team with a meager payroll. In fact, whenever a good prospect pans out and turns into a star, Beane ships him off to a team that can afford him in the long run while the player is still in his rookie contract. And the cycle continues. This “Moneyball” process has proven successful, as the A’s made it to the ALCS in 2006.
As of a matter of fact, halfway through the 2008 MLB season, the A’s have fielded yet another competitive team. This year they are crowded with rookies and they rest just 3.5 games behind the AL Wild Card. They are also five behind the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Despite being in contention, however, Beane went for a bold move. He traded ace Rich Harden and former starter Chad Gaudin to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Sean Gallagher and three other players. A’s fans are especially disappointed yet again, but you shouldn’t blame Billy Beane for this trade. He was just doing his job. If there’s anyone to blame in this, it’s the ownership. With all due respect to owner Lew Wolff, I honestly see little difference between his money ways and the spending habits of Steve Schott.
Sure, Wolff spends a bit more money than Schott and Co., but Wolff just takes that all away by deciding to put tarps up on the upper deck. Even for the BoSox, Yanks, and Giants, all of which would have brought a full house. Therefore, Wolff is basically the same owner as Schott was, but more open to new ideas (i.e. new stadium).
Looking at that, will those A’s at Cisco Field still be rookies looking at Oakland as a one-stop shop before moving on to the big boys, who aren’t afraid to pay to win a little? If that happens, A’s fan as I am, people (including me) will begin looking to the A’s as an AAAA team.
Is that all the A’s are?