When Will Billy Beane Start Selling?
By Joseph Lopez
The season is young, but A’s general manager Billy Beane could be sitting in his office thinking of ways to continue his latest rebuild. The A’s are not in a position to compete for a playoff spot this season and the team could opt to continue with their plans to go “young” at some point during the year. Trading some of their more established players like veteran pitchers Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour could, once the team hits bottom, be an option for Beane and the A’s.
At 9-10, the A’s are trailing behind the power-house Texas Rangers by 5.5 games and are expected to fall completely out of the division picture sooner or later. Oakland has gotten plenty of pitching so far this year, but the offense has yet to impress. In fact, it has been a recurring theme in Oakland; the A’s often boast strong pitching talent only to find themselves done in by their own offensive deficiencies.
In his latest post, our very own Staff Writer Jason Leary ponders who the A’s will eventually ship off to another city this season. Jason makes the case for several players including guys like Brandon McCarthy, Colon, and Coco Crisp. His strongest case, though, remains Grant Balfour. The question of who Beane will trade isn’t important, but rather when he’ll decide to start trading his more valuable players.
Balfour, who recorded his 5th save of the season in Tuesday’s win over the visiting White Sox, remains the most likely trade candidate for Beane and the A’s. He’s about the best reliever who you could potentially trade for right now. While the A’s have not openly suggested their shopping any of their players, it would be hard to believe the A’s would not listen in on deals involving a guy like Balfour.
We all know how much Beane loves a good deal, right? If the price is right, then anything is possible. The only person safe from the trade market, or so I would believe, is 2B Jemile Weeks. Balfour, though? Nope. He’ll definitely become a hot commodity if he continues his strong performance.
In 10 appearances so far for Balfour, he’s recorded 5 saves along with a nifty 0.82 ERA over 11.0 innings of work. He’s also recorded 7 strikeouts to two walks. Last year, Balfour made 62 appearances and recorded a 2.47 ERA. At this point, the Aussie reliever could find himself in new colors by the trade deadline this year.
The A’s in return, then, would find themselves getting even younger. For a team like the A’s, parting ways with established veterans in order to get younger, inexpensive prospects is just the way of life.
The A’s are not in a position to hold onto guys like Balfour and Colon, who are both performing at exceedingly high rates. They are inclined, at some point or another, to ship them off elsewhere in order to continue the rebuilding efforts. Holding onto guys beyond their highest value, in my mind anyway, would be a crucial mistake for Beane and the A’s.
Timing, Mr. Beane, is everything.
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