Billy Beane Continues to Sell High on A's 2014 All-Stars with Derek Norris Deal

Jason Catania@@JayCat11MLB Lead WriterDecember 19, 2014

Derek Norris is just the latest All-Star to be sent packing from the A's this offseason.
Derek Norris is just the latest All-Star to be sent packing from the A's this offseason.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

And so the Oakland Athletics tear-down continues. General manager Billy Beane made yet another trade Thursday evening, sending All-Star catcher Derek Norris to California neighbors, the San Diego Padres, for a return of younger players with more years of team control, as Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.

The full trade is as follows, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Final deal: Oakland acquires RHPs Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez for C Derek Norris, LHP Seth Streich and an international signing slot.

The deal isn't a bad one for the Athletics, but it is another sign that this organization merely is trying to cash in on all its best players in a very efficient—and audacious—fashion.

Thing is, it's not as if Norris was particularly old or expensive. Just 25 and with four years left before he reaches free agency, Norris hit .271/.360/.403 on his way to earning a trip to the All-Star Game last July.

Norris essentially was just another commodity Beane has removed from a roster that, for an extended period during first half of the 2014 season, looked like MLB's best team.

Along with the trades of Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Jeff Samardzija, this deal makes for the fifth 2014 All-Star that Beane has traded away since the middle of last season and the fourth since—get this—the start of this offseason. As in, a month-and-a-half ago.

The only ones who remain—for now—are lefty Scott Kazmir and closer Sean Doolittle. Hope they're renting rather than buying.

That's right: In Oakland these days, a nod to the Midsummer Classic more or less spells the end of a player's career as an Athletic.

Here's a rundown of the players the A's have moved since the end of October:

Oakland Athletics' Key Departures This Offseason
Josh Donaldson3BBlue Jays6.4Yes
Jon LesterLHPCubs6.1Yes
Jeff SamardzijaRHPWhite Sox4.1Yes
Derek NorrisCPadres2.5Yes
Brandon Moss1B/OF/DHIndians2.3Yes
Jed LowrieSSAstros1.8No
Jason HammelRHPCubs1.7No
Luke GregersonRHPAstros0.9No
MLB.com, FanGraphs

For all the effort in selling off his best players, Beane has brought in a load of youngsters, most of whom have major league experience or are on the verge of reaching The Show.

But while it's fair to consider that Beane is selling high on some of his All-Stars, it's also reasonable to ask if he has been focused too much on quantity over quality.

To that end, the best player Oakland has received in any of these trades might be Brett Lawrie, the talented but injury-prone former Toronto Blue Jay who will take over for Donaldson at the hot corner.

Among others, there's also infielder Marcus Semien and pitchers Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman, as well as righty Jesse Hahn, who comes in the Norris deal after a 3.07 ERA for the Padres in 73.1 innings as a rookie in 2014.

And Franklin Barreto is a top young prospect with loads of upside as a possible big league middle infielder. But a lot of time has to pass and a lot has to go just right when a player is still in A-ball.

One thing's for sure: The Athletics are a deeper organization today than they were just prior to the Donaldson swap the day after Thanksgiving. For a mini-market franchise that has to rely on setting up and then capitalizing upon small windows—rinse and repeat—that's not a bad thing.

When it comes to Beane and trades, there are two lessons everyone should have learned by now.

The first is, don't bother getting attached to any Athletics player. Ever.

The second? don't judge a Beane trade by its cover.

Beane does have a history of coming out on top of a swap that seemed to favor the other side initially, and he also almost never makes a move without knowing what his next one could or will be already.

So what's next for Beane and the Athletics? Because something else is going to go down. That's a given.

And if any two players, in particular, should be expecting to be sent packing, suffice it to say that Kazmir and Doolittle—the last two remaining All-Stars—are on notice.

Statistics are accurate through the 2014 season and courtesy of MLB.com, Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

To talk baseball or fantasy baseball, check in with me on Twitter: @JayCat11.


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