Oakland Athletics: Billy Beane trades for…. Jeurys Familia?

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 07: A general view of the Oakland Athletics playing against the Detroit Tigers at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on May 7, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 07: A general view of the Oakland Athletics playing against the Detroit Tigers at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on May 7, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Coming in from the bullpen to relieve Trevor Cahill is Oakland Athletics pitcher… Jeurys Familia?

Ten days and counting until the non-waiver MLB trade deadline is upon us.  The anticipation and excitement is nearly palpable for fans of the Oakland Athletics as they sit on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what deals emerge from behind closed doors.

Then it happens. A blip on the radar. A tweet indicating something may be materializing. Trade chatter involving the A’s took a sharp turn upward yesterday evening when the A’s beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, Susan Slusser, broke the following story.

In this era of instant gratification, what felt like an eternity passed before we learned the trade was indeed official earlier this afternoon. Billy Beane’s first chess move of this trading season had been made.  Joel Sherman, a baseball columnist for the New York Post provided Twitter fans with the following update a few hours ago.

Goodbye Bobby Wahl.  So long William Toffey. Hello… Jeurys Familia? A closer? With holes in the starting rotation and a need for another solid bat in the lineup, we traded for… another closer?

The money side of it

First and foremost, let’s discuss the money. Familia is on a one-year contract with roughly 3-plus million or so left on it and will be a free agent at the end of this season.  I was certain the Mets were going to be on the hook for a portion of the salary until Ken Rosenthal, an MLB on FOX reporter, squashed that notion.

Wait a minute here. My A’s, your A’s, the Moneyball, “small market”, Billy Beane A’s just took ON salary? First, we have talk of a new privately funded stadium in Oakland and now this?

It’s a significant shift in approach by ownership to absorb salary on these deals in order to lessen the drain on our farm system when making mid-season acquisitions. This deal signals the Athletics are playing both for today… and  for the future.

Another financial implication of the trade involves the Athletics sending over $1 million dollars in bonus pool money. This isn’t green, cold-hard cash. Instead this consideration merely allows the Mets to increase the money they can spend on international amateurs.

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The A’s were alotted $6,025,400 for the current international signing period so trading away the right to spend $1 million of that isn’t crippling by any means.

The baseball side of it

Jeurys Familia. I keep saying his name to myself trying to decide if this trade passes the eyeball test. Am I happy about the baseball ability this 6′ 4″, 233 lb man brings with him to Oakland?  Can he help this team make a playoff push?  After rationalizing and digesting the trade over the last couple of hours, I can definitively say “YES” to both of those questions.

Familia gives Bob Melvin yet another bullpen weapon in what was already an impressive arsenal. The trio of Treinen, Familia, and Trivino immediately catapults the A’s bullpen to one of the most formidable in all of baseball.

Now, I could tell you that Familia is a former All-Star.  I could discuss his 51 save season in 2016 or mention his 2.66 career ERA. Or that Familia has the 3rd most saves in Major League Baseball since the start of the 2015 season.

He can pitch. We get it. More importantly is what this trade means for our team moving forward. Simply put, Familia lessens our need for another starter. Melvin can approach the game with the mindset that his starter needs to give him 5, maybe 6 innings.  Then we have the luxury of throwing what is essentially closer, closer, closer to nail down the win.

The cost

The cost for the Athletics was modest. Reliever Bobby Wahl was putting together a very solid year at AAA Nashville. Wahl delivered a 2.27 ERA over 39.2 innings so far this season in the PCL. This is eye opening, but Wahl also has a TOS surgery under his belt and is unproven at the major league level.

William Toffey was a 4th round pick by the Athletics last year. He was a great college hitter at Vanderbilt but he’s a 3rd baseman who wasn’t going to take the place of Matt Chapman over the next few years.

This trade boiled down to potential vs. major league experience and production. Wahl very well may blossom into a bullpen force for the Mets in the coming years, but Familia is battle tested with World Series experience in-hand.

In the end, this trade signals that Billy Beane recognizes it’s time to take our shot. Familia is a rental for the next few months, but our core group of young players is still intact. There wasn’t a top 100 prospect involved. When you consider the cost for Brad Hand was Francisco Mejia just days earlier, this looks like a steal.

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It also leaves us in position to make more deals going forward.  Something tells me the mad scientist is far from finished.