After the conclusion of the 2008 season, in which the A’s failed to reach the .500 mark, Billy Beane and Co. decided to trade away for Colorado’s prized slugger Matt Holliday. In that deal with Colorado, the A’s sent pitchers Huston Street, Greg Smith and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. As most of you already know, the Holliday deal was a total flop.
In 93 games with Oakland, Holliday hit .286/.378/.454 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs before getting shipped to the St. Louis Cardinals. And after being traded, Holliday hit .353/.419/.604 with 13 home runs and 55 RBIs. In return, the A’s received a couple of prospects. The most notable one, however, was 3B Brett Wallace. But, Oakland soon realized that Wallace was not third-base material, and shipped him to Toronto in exchange for prospect Michael Taylor.
But let’s get back to when the A’s decided to ship prospect Gonzalez over to Colorado. Initially, I was excited about the idea of having Holliday in the A’s lineup (as was everyone else in Oakland), but in hindsight, I realize this trade was a bad move by A’s GM Billy Beane.
This season, Gonzalez is hitting .326/.360/.596 with 29 home runs and 91 RBIs. So, why would Billy Beane trade away such a fine player as Gonzalez? The only reason I can think of is that the A’s didn’t like what they saw from Gonzalez during his time in Oakland. In 85 games with Oakland in 2008, Gonzalez (or CarGo) hit .242/.273/.361 with four homers and 26 RBIs. Those certainly are not likable numbers, but the A’s are guilty of rushing Gonzalez onto the big-league stage (or at least, in my opinion they are).
But, one look at Gonzalez’s numbers this year, and one can come to the conclusion that CarGo is definitely a young superstar. No player on the A’s current big-league roster has more than 12 homers—Gonzalez has 29 (one shy from 30, with a month left to play). Gonzalez is probably going to finish the season with 30+ homers and 100+ RBIs, which is even more painful for A’s fans looking back on this deal.
The A’s do have some talented young players in the minors (Michael Taylor, Chris Carter, Adrian Cardenas, Jemile Weeks, etc.), but let’s hope that Billy Beane hangs onto them for the long haul. We all make mistakes, and this was Beane’s biggest one in recent years.