Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 4, 2008
BASEBALL: Back To The Drawing Board

Billy Beane's decision to deal Nick Swisher to the White Sox, on the heels of the Dan Haren trade, shows that he's absolutely serious about going back to Square One, taking the A's to the cellar and rebuilding from scratch. I wonder if Eric Chavez, with the team's biggest contract, will be next; although I suspect Chavez has a no-trade clause he might be willing to waive that if a stretch in the wilderness is in the offing. Oakland got three more prospects in return for the 27-year-old Swisher:

*22-year-old starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez seems like the top guy in the deal, having struck out 185 batters to 57 walks in 150 innings at AA Birmingham this season while allowing just 10 HR; Gonzalez had similarly impressive K numbers the prior two seasons, although he struggled with walks and homers in 2006 at AA Reading. There's every reason to believe Gonzalez should be a quality major league starting pitcher. Gonzalez is listed at 5'11", so he fits the A's effort to accumulate short pitchers who may be undervalued by other organization.

*22-year-old starting pitcher Faustino De Los Santos hasn't been out of A ball and so has to be a longer shot than Gonzalez, but in 122.1 innings in his first season of pro ball he struck out 153 batters and allowed 69 hits, so you have to think he's got a high upside.

*23-year-old outfielder Ryan Sweeney, a career .289/.349/.401 hitter (see! I'm really trying to change to Avg/OBP/Slg, it's my New Year's Resolution!), seems to be a throw-in, as he's never batted .300, hit 15 homers, stolen 10 bases or drawn 50 walks in four full minor league seasons.

In other words, young pitching-first.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Baseball 2008 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

I'm sorry to see Nick Swisher go. I watched him in the minors during his time with the Sacramento Rivercats. He's a gamer who gives you all he's got. Beane's building a contender for the first season in the new ballpark when it opens in a few years (2012)? However, for those of you that have been witness to 9000 or so loyal fans on a Tuesday night game at the Coliseum, it's going to be even lonelier there for the time being.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at January 4, 2008 10:49 AM

Can Beane do it again? Or has he gone too far in selling off players? That is the question.

If he can build another playoff level team in 3 years, then my hat is off to him.

Posted by: Lee at January 4, 2008 11:36 AM

It'll be tough for Beane to get much for Chavez until he shows he's healthy. If he comes back with good health and performance in the first half, we might see a trade then.

Posted by: Dr. Manhattan at January 4, 2008 11:49 AM

Also, does this portend a trade of Blanton to the Mets?

Posted by: Dr. Manhattan at January 4, 2008 11:50 AM

I'd be surprised if they dip all the way to the basement. Yes, the A's are looking beyond 2008, but 2009 / probably 2010 is realistic for a playoff run. They got great talent in the Haren trade, and already have good young talent in the majors. And they havn't yet had a complete fire sale, with Chavez, Cust, Kotsay, Crosby, Blanton, Street still there. Granted that by itself isn't a playoff team, but they aren't five years away. They're probably still better then Texas will be this year.

Posted by: CT Ron at January 4, 2008 12:04 PM
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