Wise Moves When it Comes to Deals and Signings
After a six-year drought in the playoffs, the 2012 Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers to claim first place in the American League West on the last day of the season. The next two seasons the A’s would be a force in the AL, making the postseason in 2013 and 2014.
After the 2011 season, under new manager Bob Melvin, who joined the club when Bob Geren was fired mid-season, Beane made moves to upgrade the team by dismantling the starting pitching staff and obtaining key players via trades and some high-dollar signings.
Brandon Moss Signed as a Free Agent
After stints with the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies, Moss was signed to a minor league contract by the A’s on Dec. 1, 2011. Moss made it to the Athletics in June and went on to earn a platoon spot after being with the club just a week then knocking five HRs in his next four games. He ended the season with a .291 BA and 21 HRs in the partial season. By 2014, he was the team’s starting first baseman and ended up an All-Star. In the 2014 AL Wild Card Game, Moss’s five RBI set a new record for the Athletics for most RBI in a single postseason game.
Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook, and Collin Cowgill
On Dec. 9, 2011, as Beane proceeded to disassemble the 2011 starting corps that also included a prior trade of Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals (where the A’s obtained catcher Derrick Norris), Cahill (12-14) and much traveled Breslow were dealt for Parker who went on to be a solid starter in the Oakland Athletics’ rotation for the next two seasons. Parker finished in the Top 5 for AL Rookie of the Year in 2012 and in 2013 he set a franchise record 19 consecutive starts without a loss
Cook was a main component in the Athletics’ bullpen and was the A’s lone representative to the 2012 All-Star Game. In 2012, he posted a 2.09 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings pitched. He followed that up with a similar season in 2013 with a 2.54 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 67 innings
Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to the Red Sox for Josh Reddick
With up and down years in the Red Sox organization between AAA and the big leagues, Beane basically sacrificed then-closer Bailey on Dec. 28, 2011 for Reddick, who became the Athletics’ regular right fielder. In 2012, Reddick finished the season with 32 HRs and 85 RBI along with a Gold Glove. Reddick, when healthy, has been a major force in the Athletics’ line up since the acquisition.
Bartolo Colon Signed as a Free Agent
On Jan 14, 2012, Oakland signed Colon as they went about rebuilding their starting pitching staff. Though suspended for 50 games toward the end of the 2012 season, Colon had 24 starts where he posted a 10-9 record and a 3.43 ERA. 2013 was a much better year for Colon where he made the All-Star team and was 11-3 that July. He finished the 2013 season 18-6 in 30 starts.
Yoenis Cespedes Defects and Signs with the A’s
As sore of a subject as this is to discuss since the subsequent July 2014 trade, Cespedes, a Cuban star, was signed to a four-year $36 million contract by Beane shortly after his defection. “La Potencia” wasted no time being a major force of power for the A’s and exceeding his rookie expectations with a .292 BA, 23 HRs, and 82 RBI, finishing second to Mike Trout for Rookie of the Year. In 2013, his BA dropped, but he still knocked 26 HRs and 80 RBI. He got off to a great start in 2014 batting .273 with 14 HRs and 55 RBI by July and was voted to the All-Star team. We’ll end it there…
Stephen Vogt Obtained from the Tampa Bay Rays for Cash Considerations
After what amounted to a 0-for-25 in parts of the 2012 season, the Rays were quick to depart with the soon-to-be-released Vogt and traded (sold) him to the Athletics for cash. Upon his arrival, Vogt was sent to AAA only to be called up later in June as a backup catcher, and hit .252 with 4 HRs and 16 RBI in 47 games. In Game 2 of the ALDS, he hit a game-winning walk-off RBI single in the ninth inning in a 1-0 A’s win. In 2014, he didn’t make the Opening Day roster, but was back with the Oakland Athletics to stay by that June. Playing both first base and catcher, Vogt increased his stats with a .279 BA and 16 HRs in 84 games. By 2015, he was a regular in the Athletics’ lineup and earned a spot on the 2015 AL All-Star team.
As quickly as this winning team was assembled, it has quickly diminished. Unfortunately only four players remain from the 2012 AL West winning team – Redick, Coco Crisp, Eric Sogard, and Sean Doolittle – and only two more from the 2013 team – Vogt and Sonny Gray.