Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Scott Kazmir Trade: The A's Sell Out And Sell Well

Good And Gone
Today, my A's put a bullet in the head of their 2015 hopes, and honestly, it wasn't a minute too soon. In sending out LHP SP Scott Kazmir to the division rival Astros for two Single-A prospects, they officially announced their intent to flush the last 10 weeks of the season in an effort to re-stock the system, and amen to that. While many advanced metrics show the team is better than their record, that's not how the playoffs are determined, and the club as constituted is just not good enough. Defensively, they've been a nightmare, and the bullpen might be the worst in the Billy Beane Era, with closer Tyler Clippard being fairly shaky, and the next to last mile much worse. Even if you think they have a run in them, making the playoffs is extremely unlikely given the standings. So they sold, and sold well.

Kazmir was a great signing two years ago, and an integral part of last year's playoff club, but he's also got an injury history that's a mile long, and a track record of fading in the second half. Moving him after a solid start on nine days rest is good policy, and getting back two quality lottery tickets in 20-year-old catcher Jacob Nottingham, who has a +940 OPS and reasonable defensive hope, and RH SP Daniel Mengden, who's got a good ERA and strikeout per inning stuff. Both of these guys projected well enough with scouts to be reasonably high picks, and they've got full team-controlled salary costs for a while, so there's that.

Compare this, if you will, to the unending trash steamer that is the Phillies, who have spent years not trading their assets amid unending hype. The A's found a willing partner and got two solid prospects for a guy that might just be a 10-week rental, from a team whose farm system has been hitting on all cylinders for the past couple of years. Meanwhile, Houston gets a guy that they could retain for a lot less money than the David Prices and Cole Hamels of the world, and they got him fast enough to get a couple of extra starts before the trade deadline.

Billy Beane isn't infallible; this year's Josh Donaldson trade shows that to strong effect, and he's got plenty of Jim Johnson level whiffs on his resume. But what he's never been is afraid to swing hard and strike fast, and his lifetime percentage is firmly on the side of good. It's what Oakland Fan consoles themself with during the near-annual salary purge moves, and only Beane's competence keeps us agreeable during, well, tanking moves. There's a plan here, and a method.

Finally, this. The last time Beane swung a deal where he moved an overvalued injury-prone SP for a 20-year-old catcher, it was Rich Harden to the Cubs for, among others, Donaldson. This move could be similar, but if it isn't, we're still good with the process.

No comments:

Ads In This Size Rule