Following up on the DFR’s multi-post project to evaluate one team’s approach to the trade deadline (see here, here, and here): yesterday’s trade of Scott Kazmir to the Astros demonstrates that Billy Beane drew the same conclusion I did–the Athletics have no real chance of getting back into contention, and the player bazaar will be wide open between now and the end of the month.
Kazmir was an ideal player to get sent away; his long term future with the team was nonexistent, he could bring back value, and–as it turned out–there was a perfect match between him and the team that came calling, the Astros (his hometown team).
The question now is, who else will go? My simple answer would be: just about everyone. Sonny Gray won’t be shoving off, nor should the other young starters, but most of the rest of the team should be considered expendable. This is especially true if, using the Kazmir trade as a model, Beane can get two prospects for each body moved out; that kind of “cash flow” could very quickly replenish the farm system and provide ample chances for landing a couple of really talented players for the rebuild. The more prospects you have, the more likely it is that one (or more) of them will turn out to be a star.
The other point that should not be overlooked in this saga is the demonstrable power of a team getting off to a good–or, in Oakland’s case, bad–start. Had the A’s gotten off to a good start this year, or even stayed at or around .500 most of the way, they could still be looking at adding talent to the roster. But their defensive lapses and hideously bad bullpen murdered their chances right from the start of the season, and made the upcoming wheeling and dealing inevitable. The moral of the story: win now, or you won’t be winning at all–or you’ll be doing it at a different address.