Blanton trade official

The release is on the A’s Web site. Starting pitcher Joe Blanton goes to the Philadelphia Phillies for three prospects that casual fans have barely heard of, if at all. Two of them, second baseman Adrian Cardenas and outfielder Matt Spencer have not played above Single-A. Oufielder Matt Spencer just reached Double-A.

In other words, this is a deal for 2010, one that will supplement the deals that already have been made for 2009. Not an easy time to be an A’s fan, to be sure, but the A’s charted this course over the winter, so if anybody is shocked about this, they don’t know this team.

I understand the annoyance felt by A’s fans. It seems that as soon as a player gets good enough for fans to latch onto, he’s dealt. But I honestly don’t think it’s that the A’s don’t want to win. In fact, I know that’s not the case. General manager Billy Beane is as competitive a guy as I’ve ever met in my life; you don’t get to where he is in life without that streak and he would not stay in a place where winning is not the ultimate goal.

But one other thing about Beane is that he’s a realist.  And what is happening here is that he has determined that the A’s as presently constructed are unlikely to do special things. Therefore, the emphasis is on trading guys at their peak value. If the A’s had a young, dynamic lineup that was scoring five runs a game, I guarantee Dan Haren would still be here, and so would Blanton.

I asked assistant general manager David Forst on the conference call what he would say to the fans, and to paraphrase him, he essentially said that A’s management is “not immune” to the feelings of their fan base, but that the desire is to build a team that’s really good for a really long time. That was the thinking back in 1999 when the A’s made some trades to add to a foundation that eventually made four straight playoff appearances. 

Forst also said the A’s like the team they have now, one that should get a lift from the returns of Frank Thomas and Mike Sweeney from the disabled list by the end of the month. So don’t be shocked if the A’s go out and add somebody. But the bottom line is that the team they had was six back of the Angels in the American League West, and as Forst said, “we want to be the team being chased.”

Does it take faith to feel OK about what’s happening. Darn right it does. But Beane does not whiff on deals very often, and I like that the A’s are adding young hitters to the mix. The lineup they’ve trotted out recently could match the ol’ 1978 and ’79 A’s for sheer impotence, and there’s nobody in the minors that’s going to make that a lot better anytime soon. So the A’s need to add some offensive talent. Whether they’ve done that here, who knows, but I don’t blame them for taking a shot at it.

Tell me A’s fandom, what’s your reaction?




  • DM in San Ramon

    I’m not an A’s fan, nor am I anti-A’s, but rather a neutral observer. I just think Billy Beane always gets a free pass. That stems from the fact that he always makes the safe move. Take the player that has reached a certain status and trade him for some top prospects. It’s like clockwork with him. Yes, I realize the A’s claim to not have the payroll, and while that may be beyond Beane’s control, I think it’s part BS. Lew Wolfe has tons of money–he’s one of the richest men in America–it’s time to spend some of it on the roster. I think Beane is a good gm but some of his reputation is built by his methods. Don’t re-sign your big free agents, let them walk and collect the extra sandwich pick(1st/2nd rounders). Look, if you give any gm 2-3 first round picks each year he’s going to find some gems. He’d rather develop some young studs (i.e Mark Mulder) then trade them (great deal as he picks up a potential ace in Haren), but, then he turns around and trades Haren. Granted Eveland and Smith and the 2 other guys appear to be blossoming studs, but does any A’s fan really think Beane will keep them all together once they reach star level? He’ll more than likely trade them for more top prospects. That’s what Beane does and it cements his reputation as some great gm. What Beane never does is make that trade that says we are going for it. He’s content to finish with 85-95 wins each year and lose in the playoffs. I think his most telling stat is the fact he has never won even a pennant in his what, 11 year tenure. Yet, somehow, he’s still considered this great gm. Look, I think it takes a good gm to keep his team competitive each year and Beane does that. But great gm’s find a way to get over the hump and Beane doesn’t do that.

  • Jan K Oski

    Ricky, I’m not annoyed. This is the reality of MLB. If fans don’t like it, they should send a message to MLB and stop attending games. And, I’d like one fan to tell me that they preferred the A’s of the past 7 years, when we saw all types of great players leaving and not a single World Series. With a new stadium in Freakmont, that won’t happen anymore, and we will see some great players on the roster till their prime dims. I’m especially happy that Beane got something for Blanton. If he was pitching, I’d go find something else to do this year. Hopefully, it pays off, but there are plenty of other pitchers like Blanton out there, and it looks like Geo is locked and loaded. Let’s go Oakland!

  • JT

    Ok, I’m annoyed.

  • Jake O

    I have been an A’s fan since the early 1970’s. The first game I ever attended was a World Series game with my father in 1972. I have to say the moves the A’s have made during the last few years have left me frustrated as a fan. Just as a great majority of the A’s drafted players begin to establish themselves and come into their prime, at the major league level, the A’s see fit to trade them. This revolving door approach to team personnel makes it very difficult to follow the team. Too many of the potential stars are traded. The team has no real identity.

    I never thought this would happen, but I have become a Giant’s fan during the last couple of years because they seem to be developing and keeping their drafted players like Cain, Lincecum, Sanchez, Wilson, Lewis, Lowry, Correia, Bowker, Taschner, Burris etc.

    I attend on average ten A’s games per season, but I will not attend another game until the A’s change their revolving door ways. Billy Beane says they are trading for the future. When does the future officially start?

  • Well Jan, with all due respects I would like to offer a different opinion. This is a BAD ownership group. The Oakland fan base is among the most knowledgable in all of sport,they realize this is a bad ownership group and they already have sent a message, me included. I’m not going to games. Normally I would go to 25+ games a year and all the playoff games. This year, I’ll go to maybe 10. Maybe.

    Nothing against the players. We love the players. Beane has made very good moves over the years but the Kendall dump, the Milton Bradley salary dump, and now Harden, Gaudin and Blanton for Double A players???? This is a joke. When you are five or six games out at the break you go for it, not run away. Any solid ownership does that. Wolff dumps and runs. Pathetic.

    The “Fremont” plan is deeply flawed, if this ownership group wants to move this franchise somewhere else, whichever city ends up with this team will no doubt know, they are being duped by this ownership group.
    Bottom line is in all my days, I have never, ever, ever, ever, seen a business owner kick their customers in the nuts the way this business owner has. Name one thing Lew Wolff has done for the fans of Oakland other than kick forty + years worth of fans in the nuts.

  • Steve Toomajian

    Good riddance to Joe Blanton, who specializes in opposing batting orders going on a feeding frenzy.
    This trade was was so intriguing because it added another exciting second baseman, Adrian Cardenas. All at once, Oakland has trade acquisitions Cardenas and Eric Patterson, and first round draft choice Jemile Weeks crowding the depth chart behind Mark Ellis and Gregorio Petit. Among these athletic second basemen and Stockton outfielder Archie Gilbert, there is hope to give the A’s a true leadoff man.

  • Al

    Why stop there, Beane should trade Beane for a couple of snappy AA prospects.

  • Bee

    Billy Beane said early on this was a rebuilding year and we are in 2nd place. What’s so bad about that? And besides, Blanton wasn’t helping us at all. Maybe the new guys will be gangbusters down the road.

    I agree with your assessment, Rick, that Billy Beane is a realist. I think it was a good trade. I was shocked that the Phillies wanted him with his Zito-esque numbers. I wish him all the best. We got far more value than we gave up, based purely on the stats.

    It does take faith to feel good about all these trades Billy has made, but let’s keep the faith until we see how Billy’s plan works out. When it does, I hope all you nay-sayers (not you, Rick) will have the grace to cop to the I-told-you-so. If it doesn’t, I’ll own up to foolish optimism. You gotta have faith, faith, faith, as George Michael says. Go A’s!