With Oakland Athletics fans preparing to watch the team’s lone player, Stephen Vogt, at Tuesday’s All-Star Game, there will be plenty of other representation with roots to the green and gold, most notably on the National League team.
The National League team is rife, with three starters, one reserve and three pitchers on its squad along with one on the AL squad — all with Oakland Athletics ties — who mainly appeared in the championship years of 2012 to 2014 and some just last year. The representation highlights the blunderous deals and lack of foresight by A’s general manager Billy Beane et al. that have seen the A’s get the short end of the stick in those deals.
Let’s take a look:
NL Starting Second Baseman Ben Zobrist, Cubs.
Just 12 short months ago, Zobrist was the A’s starting second baseman until after playing just 64 games and the trade deadline looming he was traded to the Royals for Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea. Zobrist went on to help the Royals win the 2015 World Series while Brooks was bait in acquiring Chris Coughlin from the Cubs who was subsequently dealt back a few weeks ago. Manaea, showing some promise on the mound, but has gotten racked this year and sits at 3-5 with a 5.35 ERA.
NL Starting Shortstop Addison Russell, Cubs.
Though he was only in AAA for the A’s in 2014, Russell was a highly touted first round pick seen as the A’s future in the middle infield and at the plate. On July 5, 2014, with the A’s in first place and having the best record in the American League, Beane sacrificed Russell as part of a deal to get Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs. Hammel, a free agent at the season’s conclusion, ended up crashing on the mound at 2-6 and re-signed with the Cubs that December. Samardzija went 5-6 with no real contribution, and was dealt to the White Sox for Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien who are now on the team.
NL Starting Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, Mets.
The curse of La Potencia started July 31, 2014 when after 2 ½ seasons of 66 home runs as the regular #3 or #4 hitter in the lineup, All-Star left fielder and slugger Cespedes was dealt by the first place A’s to the Red Sox for Jon Lester (see below) and Jonny Gomes. Lester went 6-4, left as a free agent and signed with the Cubs in 2015, becoming an All-Star himself this year while Cespedes eventually led the Mets to the 2015 World Series and made this year’s All-Star team with a .302 BA and 21 HRs. The loss of Cespedes in 2014 rocked the club causing the A’s to spin out of control, losing the best record and eventually first place, and settling for the last wildcard berth on the final day of the season.
NL Reserve Outfielder, Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies.
Though not from the postseason era A’s teams, Gonzalez was acquired in the 2007 Dan Haren deal to the D-Backs and played some outfield for the A’s in 2008. He was traded away to the Rockies at the end of the season that brought Matt Holiday to Oakland. Holliday (an All-Star last season) lasted only the 2009 season before being traded to St. Louis for three no-names of Clayton Mortensen, Shane Peterson and Brett Wallace. Meanwhile, Gonzalez continued to prosper and thrive in Colorado as an All-Star in 2012 and 2013, winning a Silver Slugger in 2010 and 2015, and Gold Gloves in 2010 and 2013.
NL Pitcher Jon Lester, Cubs
Acquired in the Cespedes deal (see above), Lester was only with the team for two months before departing as a free agent at the end of 2014 for the Cubs. He’s been an ace on the Cubs staff leading them to stay in first-place in the NL Central. As a result of the Cespedes-Lester deal, the A’s have nothing in return.
NL Pitcher Bartolo Colon, Mets
An ace with the A’s pitching staff in 2012 and 2013, Colon was key to the A’s winning two AL West championships, going 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA in 2013 as well as an All-Star team appointment. He was allowed to become a free agent at the end of the season despite a sixth ranking for the AL Cy Young. In 2014 he signed with the Mets, taking them to the World Series in 2015 and is an All-Star this year
NL Pitcher Drew Pomeranz, Padres
A successful starting pitcher with the A’s in 2014 and 2015, Pomeranz was dealt to the Padres this off-season for first baseman Yonder Alonso and pitcher Marc Rzepczynski. Alonso is hitting .251 with 4 HRs and Rzepczynski has appeared in middle relief with a 3.45 ERA. Pomeranz has been very good this season for the Padres, as he has totaled an 8-7 record and 2.47 ERA. Pomeranz will have the opportunity to pitch in front of his home crowd.
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Also, let’s not forget:
AL Reserve Third Baseman Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
All Donaldson has done since the mouth-dropping November 2014 trade is become the 2015 MVP and continue to produce this year hitting .3014 and 23 HRs. The A’s got Kendall Graveman, Brett Lawrie and Sean Nolin in return, however, Lawrie was traded this year for two minor leaguers, Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. Gravemen is hit-and-miss on the mound this season at 5-6 with a 4.37 ERA.
With decisions like these, does anyone wonder why the A’s are in the cellar of the AL West at 38-51?