Oakland A's: The Best and Worst of Billy Beane in Hindsight

Sean McGarveyContributor IIApril 7, 2011

Oakland A's: The Best and Worst of Billy Beane in Hindsight

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    After a failed attempt at a career as a professional baseball player, Billy Beane decided to try his hand in the front office. In 1998, he became the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics. Over the past 13 years, Billy has broken the hearts of the Oakland faithful numerous times by trading away some of the A's best talent for players who are relatively unknown. More times than not, the players traded away become unheard of and the new players become stars. Sometimes, Billy's strategies backfire and Oakland is left with a bunch of worthless prospects while another team is reaping the benefits of their newly acquired stud. 

Good: Trading for Jason Kendal

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    The Trade:

    Oakland Recieves: Jason Kendall

    Pittsburgh Recieves: Mark Redman and Arthur Rhodes


    The Aftermath:

    Mark Redman spent the next few years bouncing around the major and minor leagues, never really finding a solid spot on a roster. He has been out of baseball since 2008. Rhodes has spent time with several teams since being traded and never really stood out until his breakout year in 2010 with the Reds. Unfortunately for him, he is 41 years old and nearing the end of his career.

    Kendall was the A's starting catcher for two-and-a-half seasons. His solid defensive performance and above-average batting average over that time proves Billy Beane successful in this deal. 

Bad: Trading Away Tim Hudson

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    The Trade

    Oakland receives: Charles Thomas, Dan Meyer and Juan Cruz

    Atlanta receives: Tim Hudson


    The Aftermath:

    Since being traded to Atlanta prior to the 2005 season, Hudson has been one of the most elite pitchers in the league. In 2010, he finished near the top in the NL Cy Young voting. 

    Neither Thomas, nor Meyer, nor Cruz made an impact in Oakland whatsoever. Thomas hasn't played since 2005 and Meyer and Cruz are currently with the Phillies and Rays, respectively.

Good: Trading Away Mark Mulder

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    The Trade:

    Oak receives: Dan Haren, Kiko Calero and Daric Barton

    STL receives: Mark Mulder


    The Aftermath:

    Prior to the trade, Mulder was among the most elite lefties in baseball. After arriving in St. Louis, Mulder struggled for a bit and then became injured. He hasn't pitched since 2008.

    Dan Haren started an All-Star Game for Oakland in 2007 and remains an elite MLB pitcher. Kiko Calero was a solid part of the A's bullpen for several years. Daric Barton is the A's starting first baseman and is poised to have a breakout year in 2011.

Bad: Trading Nelson Cruz

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    The Trade

    Oakland Receives: Keith Ginter

    Milwaukee Receives: Justin Lehr and Nelson Cruz

    The Aftermath

    Ginter never made much of an impact as a MLB player. He spent most of his career in the minors with few stints in the Bigs. He hasn't played since 2008.

    Nelson Cruz is now with the Texas Rangers. He had a breakout year in 2010, in which he was selected to the All-Star Game and competed in the Home Run Derby. He is one of the best right-handed hitters in baseball. Justin Lehr is currently in the Cincinnati Reds farm system. 

Good: Trading Nick Swisher

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    The Trade

    Oakland Receives: Ryan Sweeney, Gio Gonzalez and Faustino De Los Santos

    Chicago Receives: Nick Swisher


    The Aftermath

    Swisher never performed well in Chicago, but is now a starting outfielder for the New York Yankees. He was selected to the All-Star Game in 2010.

    Ryan Sweeney is currently the A's fourth outfielder but still has a very bright future ahead of him. Gio Gonzalez had a breakout year in 2010 and is poised to have a great career in Oakland. De Los Santos is recognized as one of the top prospects in the Athletics organization.

Bad: Trading Andre Ethier

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    The Trade

    Oakland receives: Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez

    Los Angeles receives: Andre Ethier


    The Aftermath

    Ethier was selected to the All-Star Game in 2010 and won a Silver Slugger in 2009. He is one of the best right fielders in all of baseball.

    While Bradley is a good player on the field, he has been nothing but trouble for all eight teams he has played for, including the A's. He made the All-Star Game in 2008 with the Rangers, but his time in Oakland was short-lived. Antonio Perez never played a professional game for the A's and is now with the Atlanta Braves. 

Good: Trading Ben Grieve

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    The Trade:

    Oakland receives: Johnny Damon, Mark Ellis, Cory Lidle

    Tampa Bay receives: Ben Grieve

    Kansas City receives: AJ Hinch, Angel Berroa, Roberto Hernandez


    The Aftermath

    Damon played just one season in Oakland, but has since gone on to win two World Series Titles and has been selected to two All-Star Games. Mark Ellis is currently the A's longest tenured player. He is one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball is is a fan-favorite in Oakland. Cory Lidle was a part of the A's rotation for two seasons. He passed away in a plane crash in 2006. He was 34.

    Ben Grieve was the Rookie of the Year in Oakland in 1998 and made the All-Star Game the same year. Since his departure from Oakland, he spent time in Tampa, Milwaukee and Chicago, but never became the superstar we saw glimpses of in Oakland.

    AJ Hinch spent time playing in Kansas City, Philadelphia and Detroit until retiring in 2004. He was the manager of the Arizona D-Backs in 2010 until being fired mid-season. He is now a scout for the Padres. 

The Worst: Trading Carlos Gonzalez

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    The Trade

    Oakland receives: Matt Holiday

    Colorado receives: Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith


    The Aftermath

    Matt Holiday played half a season in Oakland (the worst half-season of his career, I might add) before he was traded away to the Cardinals for prospect Brett Wallace. Wallace was later swapped to Toronto for Michael Tayor. Taylor, once regarded as the Phillies' top-prospect is now 25 and is aging much faster than he is maturing. At 25, he is yet to make his major league debut. And when (assuming he does) he finally gets the call, he ins't expected to have a huge impact in the Oakland outfield.

    On the other hand, Carlos Gonzalez, also 25 years old, is already in his fourth season in the pros. He broke out in 2010 with a huge season. He was selected to the All-Star Game, won a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, and finished among the top-three in the MVP voting. He is without a doubt one of the best players in all of baseball.

    Huston Street is the Rockies closer and ranks among the top closers in the National League. Greg Smith was recently released by the Rockies.

The Best: Trading Dan Haren

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    The Trade

    Oakland receives: Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Carter, Dana Eveland, Brett Anderson, Aaron Cunningham and Greg Smith 

    Arizona receives: Dan Haren and Connor Robertson


    The Aftermath

    Dan Haren, now with the Angels, was phenomenal in Oakland and it broke our hearts when Billy traded him away. He is still a great pitcher but cannot compare to what the A's received for him.

    Carlos Gonzalez, now with Colorado, is one of the best players in all of baseball. Brett Anderson is the A's best starter and has a huge career ahead of him. Chris Carter is the A's No.1 prospect. We should see him a bit in 2011 and he will most likely start in LF for the A's in 2012. Cunningham is now with the Padres and Dana Eveland the Dodgers. Greg Smith was recently released by the Rockies.