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And at the trade deadline, the Oakland A’s do … nada

The trade deadline has passed, and if you spent the first half of your day glued to the MLB Network (or your laptop) hoping to see the A’s swing a big trade, you ended up disappointed. The A’s stood pat as the 1 p.m. deadline passed, meaning their only acquisition during the peak of trade season was part-time catcher George Kottaras (this is assuming there’s no post-deadline announcement of a deal). Are you surprised? Did you expect this? We know the A’s were trying to acquire left side-of-the-infield help, and GM Billy Beane was outspoken in saying he wanted to improve the team offensively. Surely, he and his staff took into account this prolonged hot streak the team is riding, and weighed whether it was worth messing with a good thing. But I’ve got to think the bigger road block to a deal was the A’s unwillingness to part with the top-tier prospects that other teams would have wanted (think Triple-A pitcher Dan Straily, a player the A’s did not want to move). They spent an entire offseason making trades to upgrade their depleted farm system and build toward the future. They weren’t going to be quick to make a trade that significantly hindered that process.

But there’s lots of room for argument here, and if Oakland falters down the stretch, people can justifiably point to the A’s not making an agressive move in July to improve the club. They have quite the reservoir of young pitching depth to deal from, and teams were after that pitching. They could have pulled the trigger on a deal, looking to strike more magic during this most unlikely of seasons. You also can’t ignore the improvements that A.L. West rivals Texas and Los Angeles made. The Angels added Zack Greinke to their rotation while the Rangers swung a last-minute deal to grab starter Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs. Both are signifcant upgrades for the two teams the A’s are battling for the division championship, and perhaps that should have spurred the A’s to add somebody … anybody.

Here’s what we saw today in the A.L. West. … The Rangers have gone to the World Series two straight years and lost. Nothing short of a Series championship will be considered a success this season. The Angels spent a boatload of money in the offseason to land Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. They too are under intense pressure to win this season, and standing pat simply was not an option. I think Beane and Co. believe they’re playing with house money this season. If the current team continues this amazing roll, fantastic. If it falters, it’s been a pretty great ride just to get to this point, and the plan to build for the future remains intact with a young core of stud pitchers and a hitter to build around in Yoenis Cespedes. Will this leave many fans ticked for not making a trade? You bet. I’m not justifying today’s non-action, I’m just stating the rationale that I think was employed (no one from the team has spoken publicly yet).

A couple things to keep in mind: The A’s can still swing a trade throughout August, though it’s more complicated because players must clear waivers first before they can be dealt. Secondly, although most of the focus was on the A’s adding a hitter, I think it’s just as possible the A’s will look to add veteran pitching reinforcements, whether it’s the rotation or the bullpen. And that will especially be true if the trio of Brett Anderson/Dallas Braden/Brandon McCarthy hit road blocks in their comebacks.

All just food for thought …

Joe Stiglich

  • Jim

    Well, we run what we brung!

  • Stan

    The A’s had a first shot at Ramirez..and Beane didn’t pull the trigger. Like the West race two years ago..the A’s made a run..and Beane did nothing. The A’s faded.
    Big moves in January are nice..but all contending teams nowadays get a nice boost with July trades.
    Its just more Joe,of Beane being cheap. Its not the Colosseum or Oakland,its Beane.

  • Derek

    The A’s as a team are winning inspite of management. Management wanted a loser to help further reduce attendance and advance their relocation cost. The guys on the team have play far above expectattion, so now the pathetic carpetbagging management/ownership group are hoping for a collapse.

    Screw ownership: GO A’s !!!

  • dave

    stiglich pretty much nailed it on the head–playing with house money

  • Johnson

    You sit there and point the finger at ownership and management yet they proved you wrong by making the right trades. Kudos to the players for arriving a year or two before they were supposed to. But I’m tired of all of our fans that moan about the ownership and managing doing this and that, and then not doing this and that. At the end of the day they’ve put a good team on the field. Had they traded away Straily and he tore it up in the majors, you’d be criticizing them for trading him away. Now that he’s not traded away, management is wrong for not doing it. Beane is going to make a waiver wire trade more than likely, and I’m sure it likely will preserve some of the young studs. Quit the finger pointing, support the team, go to the games and enjoy this run we’re on.

  • Tristan

    Well said Johnson. I wish that the real die-hard A’s fans just enjoy the great season the team is having.This team was not supposed to be in contention for anything.If ownership does pick up a player or two through the waiver process, so be it. Hopefully they contribute.

    In the meantime, let’s be proud that the team is proving the majority of baseball fans and media prognosticators wrong. Next year, the players will have the experience on how to play against superior teams and we can be mentioned as a serious candidate to be in the play-offs.

  • Gdog

    I don’t have any problem with the A’s not making a move the team is good enough “as is” to make the playoffs. Most of the other teams chasing did not make moves either. However, sometimes there is just a little psychological jolt that the team gets with a move. Last night we were exhausted and maybe a move peps them up and turns that into a victory. The way this is going 1 game will be the difference between moving on or not. Clearly a replacement for Sogard/Pennington is needed. Hopefully this Hick’s kid can get hot, he has shown his power he just needs the consistency. Inge needs to pick it up but does get key hits it seems. Would rather have that than a guy like A-rod who never gets a clutch hit but hits a lot of homers when you are up 7-1 already.

  • Stan

    I am enjoying the wins..as it proves what Beane has said for years is wrong “The team cant compete in Oakland”. Isn’t that what has been the theme,the excuse?

  • Stan

    You tell me if Beane hadn’t said right up to this May, “We cant compete with the Angels or Texas”. But they are.

  • Stan

    And then tell me I was right,that Beane was full of crap all these 2006-now years. Right?

  • Stan

    One last-yeah Beane is in a corner,If the A’s lose,he’s a liar,if they win,-he’s a liar. That’s not my problem.That’s what happens when you try to sell a bogus premise. Like any bad science theory,its been exposed.