The Oakland As and other thoughts from the MLB Winter Meetings

I have been trying to stay afloat with the goings on in Nashville the past few days. There have been some good trades, and some head scratchers and now the MLB Winter Meetings are coming to an end. Let’s take a look at some last impressions we haven’t covered yet at good ol’ Wayniac Nation.

Billy Beane fails in yet another trade.

A lot of people were left scratching their head after Billy Beane shipped off Brett Lawrie after one season to the Chicago White Sox. I’m not so sure I agree with that.

The sentiment the past few season has been that if Beane were a GM for any other team than Oakland, his questionable trades from the past two seasons alone would gave gotten him fired. While I agree that he made two trades that I disagree with, I don’t think I share the same feelings that Beane would be fired for that alone.

I don’t know enough about Oakland As ownership — even though I read Moneyball— to fully understand what’s going on behind the scenes. Oakland seems like a pretty solid market. Their franchise is one of the greatest in baseball history and heck, the Oakland Raiders just extended Michael Crabtree to a four-year deal. They have money.

Why they won’t let Beane — or if Beane simply refuses to — use it, I don’t know. But his last few trades have been blunders in my opinion. He traded away two of the better prospects in baseball in Addison Russell and Billy McKinney for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel — neither of which were on the team a year later. So, to review, the people who said Beane never goes for it, was ridiculed when he made a trade that went for it. Poor guy can’t win.

Last season he traded away Josh Donaldson — who would win last year’s AL MVP Award for the Blue Jays — for Brett Lawrie, Franklin Barreto, Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin. I didn’t like that trade from the get go, mainly because I never like Lawrie. I mean, this is a guy who struck out four times in one game on twelve pitches people.

That’s why I don’t think this trade is inexcusable. Lawrie is now a White Sock (Sox, I never understood how to unpluralize Red Sox and White Sox… wait, is unpluralize a word? Trademark). Who are the pitching prospects Zach Erwin and J.B. Wendelken Beane snagged in the deal? Who knows, but I do know they didn’t strike out four times in a game on twelve pitches.

I know I am in the minority, because many people don’t like this trade because they see it as the end result of the Donaldson trade. I get that, I understand that. But just because he blundered in the Donaldson trade doesn’t mean he didn’t do the right thing by cutting his losses.

Lawrie is still young, so it’s possible he gets it together in Chicago and flourishes. I just don’t see it. While I don’t think that this is the best trade of the Winter Meetings, I think Beane is taking undue criticism on it because of past moves.

And I understand that. When you are as aggressive in the trade market and passive with big name free agents as Beane has historically been and you don’t have titles to show for it, people will question your methods. I can’t fault them for that. All I know is that Lawrie struck out four times in one game on twelve pitches.

Exciting big name free agents still on the market

There is still an exciting free agency ahead, folks. While there were some needs filled in Nashville, many teams left with big holes and question marks. That makes it better for the free agents left on the market, because there are certainly some big ones.

Most of the attention seems to be on Jason Heyward because it seems like he is closest to that predicted $200-million mega deal. Will it be in Washington? Will it be with the Angels? If it is with the Nationals, where is he going to play? Isn’t it exciting trying to figure it out!

Chris Davis didn’t like the seven-year, $150-million offer the Orioles gave him, so the deal has been pulled off the table. It’s probably because Davis will strike out 175 million times over that deal and he wants to get that dollar per strikeout.

Justin Upton is still looking for a home. So is Johnny Cueto and Wei-Yin Chen. There are a lot of exciting names still on the market. The next few weeks will be exciting.

The Braves give up on Bethancourt

That’s not really a surprise. When they signed 39-year old A.J. Pierzynski and then the mild-hitting Tyler Flowers, the writing was on the wall. It was part of the learning curve dealing with Christian Bethancourt‘s bat, but he was the defensive-minded catcher of the future and he simply looked lost behind the plate at the big league level.

They got Casey Kelly in return, which I do like. Kelly was the centerpiece in the Adrian Gonzalez trade between the Red Sox and the Padres a few years back and he has been derailed by injuries ever since. The sky was once the limit for Kelly, and the Braves are showing that they like investing in these types of guys.

There are also rumors that Ender Inciarte is already on the market. He was my favorite piece in the Shelby Miller move. It would not surprise me in the least if John Hart ships him out for a young pitcher. Just when it looks like the Braves plan was coming together, the rumor mill strikes again.

2 thoughts on “The Oakland As and other thoughts from the MLB Winter Meetings”

    1. Indeed be is.

      I think the sentence you may be referring to is:

      “The sentiment the past few season has been that if Beane were a GM for any other team than Oakland, his questionable trades from the past two seasons alone would gave gotten him fired”.

      I was discussing Beane’s past endeavors as GM (he was just promoted in October). I can see where the wording could be misleading, so I thank you for pointing it out.

      Thanks for reading.

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