Athletics Get Young

Written by Travis Vandenbrand

2012 World Series Champions – San Francisco Giants

First off, congratulations to the San Francisco Giants who, impressively, knocked off the Detroit Tigers who were considered by many to be the overwelming favourites in the 2012 World Series. Despite the brief World Series, the playoffs were exciting and temporarily filled the hockey void left in many Canadian sports fan’s lives. The entire 2012 season was extremely entertaining. The Orioles, Athletics, Nationals and Pirates have given hope to the other perennial cellar-dwellers like the Astros, Royals and Mariners. Speaking of lovable losers, it’s great to say that there has now been two triple crowns awarded since the Toronto Maple Leafs have last won the cup. It was amazing to watch the heroics and accomplishments of the first triple crown winner since 1967, Miguel Cabrera. It was a shame that his spectacular season came to an end by watching a Romo heater go right down the middle of the plate. Mike Trout was remarkable, Buster Posey’s comeback was improbable, R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball was un-hittable and the Yankees playoff’s were despicable. What else could you ask for in a successful MLB season/playoffs?

The 2012 MLB season is over but there is no rest for the front office. Free agency starts on Friday, November 2 and there is sure to be many trades that follow. The Major League offseason is a short one and teams will be scrambling to mold their rosters into 2013 contenders. I will be following the offseason closely to provide analysis on many deals that go down between organizations. I will also be reviewing more prominent free-agent signings and what it means for their new clubs.

Ironically, the first offseason deal of 2013 actually occurred during the 2012 playoffs. The trade may have taken a backseat to the games that were being played on the field, but it’s a deal that may have huge ramifications for three ball clubs for next season. The 3-team trade breaks down as this:

A’s get – Chris Young
Diamondbacks get – Heath Bell, Cliff Pennington, Cash
Marlins get – Yordy Cabrera

Chris Young, key piece in the trade?

The Oakland Athletics are fresh off having another successful money ball-type season and they conclude the year by making an uncharacteristic deal. The A’s bring over centerfielder,  Chris Young, who provides some good speed and pop but also carries a low career batting average/on base percentage. Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick patrolled a rather impressive Oakland outfield in 2012, but this trade could signal the end for one of the previously mentioned players. Billy Beane is known for bringing in other team’s castaways with basement salaries and putting them in positions to produce and revive their career. Young should be a player in his prime, he’s always been labeled as a potential superstar but potential has an expiry date. He’s been a productive player who will typically hit around 25 homeruns, 80 RBIs and will hit around .250 with 20 stolen bases. It should be added that Beane has said the A’s plan to keep Crisp in the fold even though it may seem obvious that he is the odd man out. The only answer would be to move Cespedes or Reddick to DH but time will tell if there is another deal in the works, The move appears to have given Stephen Drew the leg-up at shortstop with Cliff Pennington on his way out, but he the soon-to-be free agent will have to work out a new contract with the A’s.

The Arizona Diamondbacks will receive Heath Bell and Cliff Pennington plus cash in the trade after dealing away their veteran centrefielder. Pennington should the the D’backs shortstop for 2013. He is an above average defensive player who will typically hit under 10 homeruns with a .260 batting average. Pennington will likely temporarily hold the position down until prospect, Chris Owings, who is only 21, can make the jump to the big show. Dealing Young will also allow for the D’backs to provide more playing time for their young outfield core, Adam Eaton, AJ Pollock and Gerardo Parra. The trade became puzzling when they flipped the young shortstop Yordy Cabrera, who they also received from the A’s to the Marlins for closer Heath Bell. Bell just signed a 3-year, 27 million dollar deal last winter with the Marlins. Miami will pay the majority of Bell’s salary for next season. Just before the D’backs made this deal they signed their current closer JJ Putz to a contract. It appears that Heath Bell will be making $9 million as the D’backs set-up man.

The Marlins ride themselves of an ugly contract and receive a project young shortstop in return in Yordy Cabrera. Drafted as a power hitting, good defensive shortstop, Cabrera has struggled at the minor league level but he has the potential to develop into an everyday player. Cabera is still only 21 so the Marlins will have to be patient and they currently have Jose Reyes entrenched at shortstop, so there is no rush to fly him through the minors.

At the end of each analysis I will determine the winner and loser of each deal.

Miami Marlins – Ridding themselves of an overpriced closer is enough to be a winner in tis trade, but adding a young shortstop in the process is bonus. Winner.

Oakland Athletics – The trade brings a crowded outfield in Oakland and it could mean that a fan favourite, Crisp, will be shown the door. Loser.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Adding a huge salaried closer to the mix is never a good idea. Especially when you already have one. Loser.

This is only the beginning. Let the trades/signings begin.

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