See the way I was able to make this appropriate for a Mets blog? Waking up this morning and seeing the A’s stunning trade of Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays made me want to write about it, so there’s my hook — Billy Beane played for the Mets (a total of 18 at bats, but still). While he was a lousy player, he purports to be a genius general manager. But this latest move leaves no doubt that he is not.
Donaldson was by far the best hitter on the team. The second best hitter was Yoenis Cespedes, whom Beane traded in the middle of last season’s pennant race for the ace he was convinced he would need in the playoffs, Jon Lester. Instead, Lester pitched poorly (7.1 innings, six runs) in the A’s extra innings loss in the Wild Card game. Oh, and a huge reason the A’s were in the Wild Card game in the first place is because they struggled to score runs after Cespedes was traded. They were in first place at the time, and within three weeks the lead was gone.
Not to mention Cespedes’s replacements, Jonny Gomes and Sam Fuld. Gomes was one of the players the Red Sox “gave up” in return for Cespedes. He provided nothing. Billy Beane obtained Fuld for young, serviceable starting pitcher Tommy Milone. The same Fuld whom Beane released three months earlier. The same Fuld who also provided nothing for the remainder of the season.
Three weeks before that, Beane sent one of the best prospects in all of baseball, Addison Russell, and two other players to the Cubs for average starters Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. Hammel is now a free agent (as is Lester, by the way) and there is trade talk surrounding Samardzija.
There is something to be said for “going for it” like Beane did during the season, but the trades did not make much sense. He should have gotten more for Russell than those two starters, and trading a key cog in your lineup is just blame dumb.
Speaking of dumb, back to the Donaldson trade. Who is going to hit now for the A’s? Not Brett Lawrie, the third baseman the A’s got back from the Jays. He is only 24 so there is room to grow, but so far he has shown himself to be nothing more than a 10 home run, 45 RBI, .250 guy — a far cry from the 25 home runs and 90 RBIs Donaldson has averaged over the past two seasons. The A’s also got back three minor leaguers who seem like solid if not spectacular prospects.
The trade might make sense of the A’s were going into full rebuilding mode. But then why give DH Billy Butler a three-year, $30 million contract?
Billy Beane used to get the benefit of the doubt because of his past fine work with the A’s. But not anymore. Billy Beane, the former Met, you are no genius anymore, if you ever were one at all. In fact, you are starting to resemble your alleged mentor, Sandy Alderson (see, another Mets reference).