In what has been an incredibly busy offseason, the Oakland Athletics have already traded three All-Stars. Despite this, everyone in the A’s organization refuses to acknowledge the current phase as a rebuild.
Though I am adamant to believe it will end the same way, the last time the A’s traded three All-Stars in an offseason they won the division the next year. In 2011 Billy Beane jettisoned starters Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and closer Andrew Bailey before surprising everyone by winning the AL West in 2012.
Another important move made that offseason? The A’s added Yoenis Cespedes.
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Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox sent Cespedes packing after a well-publicized schism between Cespedes and Red Sox brass. The Detroit Tigers acquired him and two young pitchers in exchange for Rick Porcello.
Now, obviously with Cespedes already being dealt, this piece is nothing but a “what if?” type of deal. But with many similarities between the 2011 offseason, what might have happened if Beane had reacquired the Cuban slugger?
The obvious situation would be to have traded Jeff Samardzija to Boston for Cespedes rather than to the White Sox. While Oakland may have found its short-term answer at shortstop via the Samardzija deal in Marcus Semien, Shark is a far superior pitcher compared to Porcello and could have hauled in a bigger return. Might Beane have landed Cespedes and a shortstop with better potential than Semien?
Perhaps the A’s could have packaged Samardzija and someone expendable like a Jesse Chavez to acquire Cespedes and Deven Marrero. Marrero finished last season at AAA and was the Red Sox’ Minor League Defensive Player of the Year. He had a poor year offensively at AAA, but was solid at AA batting .291/.371/.433. If Marrero could have been given a month in AAA for the A’s, maybe he would have found his offensive niche.
Again, this is all speculation and nothing more than something fun to think about. Plus, 10,000 people would have had a use for those La Potencia T-shirts.