With his team projected to lose a few players this winter, A’s general manager Billy Beane will definitely have his work cut out for him. Beane, who has spent the past few seasons rebuilding his franchise, is setting out to continue his rebuilding phase that has kept the A’s from the postseason contention since 2006.
Oakland’s “youth movement” officially began back in 2007 when the team decided to trade away pitcher Dan Haren and outfielder Nick Swisher in separate deals that brought Oakland a boatload of young talent in return. Unfortunately for Beane and the A’s, however, it appears that yet another rebuild will take place.
You could say that Beane has never stopped rebuilding and that this winter is just a continuation from the phase that started back in 2007. However, I’m not quite sure that’s correct. The A’s have put together a young core of starting pitching, but instead of building around that strong foundation, they’re eager to tear it down and start from scratch, again.
Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey, and pretty much everyone on Oakland’s roster is deemed “available” for trade. Beane and the rest of Oakland’s front office, according to the latest rumors, will be listening to offers on all their players.
Oakland’s biggest need, without question, is offense. Replacing the outfield will most likely be a top priority for Beane this winter.
He’s got a few in-house options with Michael Taylor, Ryan Sweeney, and Jai Miller, but don’t be surprised if Beane flips Gonzalez for a few outfield prospects. He also might, if the deal is right, go after a few major-league ready outfielders via trade.
Oakland’s biggest strength, or trade chip, if you will, is its pitching. Beane has assembled a pretty strong foundation of young pitchers over the years and the A’s are open to dealing some of their best young talent. That means a guy like Gonzalez or Bailey could be in a new city come Opening Day 2012.
Now, the A’s aren’t going to give their players away. They’re asking a lot for both Gonzalez and Bailey according to recent rumors. The only thing that may bug fans is the fact that Beane spent too much time getting these young pitchers together to just trade them away before they hit their prime.
Finally seeing Gonzalez mature into a solid pitcher has been quite the experience for me. To see the A’s shopping him around to other clubs instead of trying to build around him, though, just bugs the heck out of me.
But, that’s what you sign up for when you’re an A’s fan. Right when you’re favorite player is on the cusp of superstardom, the A’s trade him away for a boatload of young prospects.
Beane and the rest of Oakland’s front office will likely ask for a lot in return from Gonzalez, who has put together a 31-21 record with a 3.17 ERA over the last two years. It’s expected, given the market for starting pitchers, that Gonzalez will bring in a few talented prospects should Oakland decide to trade him.
This winter will likely be a crucial one for Beane. This is the future of the franchise we’re talking about. Will Beane make the right moves? Let’s hope so.