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Peter Gammons of ESPN has reported that Mark Mulder has been sent to the Cardinals in exchange for pitchers Danny Haren and Kiko Calero, and catching prospect Daric Barton. (BBRRS: Treacle) So over the last two days the A's have:

Lost
----
SP Mark Mulder
SP Tim Hudson

Gained
----
SP Danny Haren
SP Dan Meyer
RP Kiko Calero
RP Juan Cruz
OF Charles Thomas
C Daric Barton (minors)


That's a lot of depth, but without Mulder and Hudson, can the A's compete in 2005?
Mark Mulder to the Cardinals | 92 comments | Create New Account
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Pistol - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:15 PM EST (#8023) #
The A's also freed up a lot of 2005 commitments. Not sure what payroll level they're at, and what they plan to be at eventually for 2005 but Mulder and Hudson made over $10 million and everyone they got will make about $2 million collectively.

It almost seems like Oakland is punting 2005.
_Moffatt - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:19 PM EST (#8024) #
Well, Kendall will likely eat into some of that. But you're right: There's a lot of savings there.

I wonder if the A's are cutting payroll or if they're planning on signing someone on the FA market. Someone more familar with the A's situation should let us know.

The A's have acquired a lot of depth. At least 4 of those guys should make the opening day roster, I'd guess. Still, though, it looks like they've taken several step backwards for next year.

I wonder if the A's are planning on non-tendering a few players. I'd be surprised if they offered Kielty arbitration.
_Peter - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:21 PM EST (#8025) #
It seems that his move was a bit unnecissary, I think for Mulder, they could have gotten much more considering he is signed for 2 more years.
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:25 PM EST (#8026) #
It almost seems like Oakland is punting 2005.

Maybe. I like both trades, and I absolutely love what he's getting from St Louis especially. But he's now traded away three pitchers (Redman was moved already) who made 92 starts for Oakland in 2004, going 40-26 with a 4.24 ERA in 605.1 IPT.

Its an awful lot of innings to replace. Are Haren and Cruz going into the rotation?
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:32 PM EST (#8027) #
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/gammons/story?id=1949178
Gammons has talked to Beane, says they're retooling for 2006. COMN. Haren, Meyer, and Blanton are supposed to fill out the rotation next year.

Beane: "What I'm trying to do is set our pitching up for five years. That's something we can't do in free agency, so we have to be as creative as possible. There are risks, especially with so many young pitchers, but we have Harden, Blanton, Haren and Meyer for at least five years, Zito for two more."
_CaramonLS - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:40 PM EST (#8028) #
No doubt Haren goes into the Rotation... Don't know about Cruz.

The A's have to be looking at this rotation atm:

1)Zito
2)Harden
3)Haren
4)??

Cruz hasn't started since 2001 in AA and had a 4+ era...

I'm thinking Duchscherer is going to be moved into the rotation, he was releif last year, but pitched great (3.27 ERA) and has advanced through the minors as a starter.

Meyer has some amazing AA and AAA numbers, looks like hes going to at least lock up the #5 or even #4 spot if he gets lucky.
_BirdWatcher - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:44 PM EST (#8029) #
A case can be made that Oakland now controls the 4 premier pitching prospects in baseball (Harden, Meyer, Haren, Blanton), all of whom look more than ready for prime time. In addition, they have built a bullpen consisting of the scariest group of flamethrowers you've ever seen. Dotel/Street/Garcia/Calero/Cruz may not be household names (yet!) but they'll probably average 10+ K's per 9IP next year. Regardless of how you evaluate the trades, you'd think dropping Hudson and Mulder would be a PR disaster for the A's but it may turn out just the opposite - the A's are going to be a real fun team to watch next year as all of these young pitchers descend upon the AL. And, of course, with the Hudson and Mulder money freed up, Mr. Beane is probably not finished yet !
_Mick - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:49 PM EST (#8030) #
A week ago, if you'd asked me which of the big three the A's should trade, I'd have answered without hesitation "Zito." Whoops.

Or ... I wonder if it's possible? Would Beane have the stones to trade all three?
_Rob - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:50 PM EST (#8031) #
http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/oak/news/oak_press_release.jsp?ymd=20041218&content_id=924023&vkey=pr_oak&fext=.jsp
Just in case there was any doubt, the A's have a press release up on their site (BBRRS: dark matter). COMN.

1)Zito
2)Harden
3)Haren
4)??


If only Oakland had never traded for Jose Guillen, they could have one confusing rotation...
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:53 PM EST (#8032) #
Young pitchers will break your heart (I know, the official mantra here goes TINSAAPP) - but Oakland does have a pretty decent track record during the Beane years of turning pitching prospects into ML pitchers.

But I don't think Rich Harden quite qualifies as a prospect anymore, after finishing in Top 10 in the league in ERA and strikeouts. :-)
_Jonny German - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:55 PM EST (#8033) #
Craziness. This will definitely be an interesting team to watch in 2005, and the apparent master plan of setting the rotation for 5 years looks solid.

Mulder's contract: $6M in 2005, $7.25M option for 2006.
_CaramonLS - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:56 PM EST (#8034) #
If you had told me who were going to be the first 2 people gone from the A's I would have Said Dotel, Zito.

Dotel I think has left a bit of a sour taste in some A's fans mouths with the way he really blew games down the stretch.

And Zito of course because of the Rumors of the Big three breaking up.

That Jason Kendall one still continues to make me wonder, could have easily gotten a way bigger bat for a little bit more this off season.
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 08:56 PM EST (#8035) #
Would Beane have the stones to trade all three?

I don't think there's any doubt about that. Not in my mind.

Funny though, Zito was the one I would have kept too. The youngest of the three, the one who strikes out the most guys. Which is what matters going forward.

If only Oakland had never traded for Jose Guillen

All together now: HAR-HAR-HAR
_Ron - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:07 PM EST (#8036) #
If the Huddy trade was a kick in the gut than the Mulder trade is a kick in the teeth.

I wonder if Chavez knew Beane might trade 2 of the big 3 when he signed his extension last season?

The A's winning curve has gone this way over the past six seasons.

1999 - 87 wins
2000 - 91 wins
2001 - 102 wins
2002 - 103 wins
2003 - 96 wins
2004 - 91 wins

Beane knows something wasn't right. Don't forget Mulder was brutal in the 2nd half last season, if he contined to pitch like that next season his value would have dropped. Beane traded both pitchers while there value was still very high.

The thing I don't get is when baseball fans always say Beane has a low payroll to work with. That's simply not true. The A's were in the middle of the pack, payroll wise last season.

These 2 trades give Beane payroll flexibility either at next season's trading deadline or the free agency after next season.

Looks like he realized he wasn't going to brining enough bullets to the gun fight next season with the Red Sox, Yanks, and Angels so he's better off stock piling to bring more ammo down the road.
Pistol - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:12 PM EST (#8037) #
Well, I think we found what Beane thinks is the latest market inefficiency - young, top starting pitching.

Maybe that's not a revelation and it's just hard to get your hands on it.

I always felt that the Jays emphasis on pitching in the drafts in 2002 and 2003 was fine because it's easier to acquire hitting than it is pitching. As time goes on it seems like the gap is widening.
_CaramonLS - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:22 PM EST (#8038) #
Well it seems he thinks Catchers, and Top starting Pitching isn't easily available.

But then again when has top starting pitching really been available in large quantities?
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:24 PM EST (#8039) #
The thing I don't get is when baseball fans always say Beane has a low payroll to work with.

In 2004, the payroll was $ 59 million, which is roughly middle of the pack (16th out of 30). He actually outspent one of his three division rivals (Texas) by about four million dollars. Of course, the other two teams in the division spent more than $ 180 million between them.

Still, 2004 was an unusual year for Oakland. Billy was spending money like a drunken sailor on shore leave, compared to the previous three years. The year before they spent $50 million (23rd out of 30); in 2002 they spent $40 million (28th out of 30); in 2001 they spent $33 million (29th out of 30).

I think that's why fans say he always has a low payroll to work with. When rising up to the top of the bottom half and spending $59 million is way more than usual...
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:28 PM EST (#8040) #
Or look at it this way.

The Yankees payroll in 2004 was $184 million.

Oakland's payroll for 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 was $182 million.
_JUNIOR - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:33 PM EST (#8041) #
WOW
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:35 PM EST (#8042) #
Yeah, the Yankees spent more money this year than Oakland spent this century! This milennium!

He does get bang-for-the-buck, doesn't he?
_CaramonLS - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:39 PM EST (#8043) #
Imagine when the Yanks add another 10ish for Johnson... and maybe 15+ for Beltran.

Its just insane how that team makes so much money to burn.
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:46 PM EST (#8044) #
Beane is out there right now lowering expectations, which is probably wise. They're easing three new starters into the rotation.

But... as good as Hudson was last year, he only won 12 games. He missed some time, worked just 188.2 IPT. Redman and Mulder were roughly league average between them. Mulder was way better than league average in the first half; but he was way worse than league average in the second half. He went 7-6 in the second half despite a 6.10 ERA, which suggests that maybe they scored some rus for him.

So sure they're retooling but I'm not expecting a big drop-off. I expect 85 wins minimum. And if Haren and Blanton and Meyer are ready - its a moderately large "if" - they might actually be better than last year.
_JUNIOR - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:49 PM EST (#8045) #
Cashman...overated
_Jonny German - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:51 PM EST (#8046) #
There's been a lot of talk here about the Wells and Hinske 5-year contracts signed following their rookie campaigns. Opinions seem to range from "they were gambles" to "they were outright mistakes, there was no need to sign them up at that point". The truth may well lie between those two, and I'll accept them as reasonable arguments as long as they don't involve bogus hindsight claiming that Wells was a good signing and Hinske a bad one.

But here's someting very interesting that I hadn't noticed before. The Billy Beane - J.P. Ricciardi - Paul DePodesta A's also used this tactic of buying out arbitration but not free agency years, and did so very successfully.

Tim Hudson pitched 136 innings with a 149 ERA+ in 1999 and signed for 5 years, $14.7M in August of that year.
Breakdown: .6 / .85 / 2.7 / 4.55 / 6.0 (option).

Mark Mulder pitched 154 innings with an 87 ERA+ in 2000 and signed for 5 years, $21.2M in September of that year.
Breakdown: .95 / 2.6 / 4.4 / 6.0 / 7.25 (option).

Barry Zito pitched 307 innings with a 140 ERA+ in 2000 & 2001 and signed for 4 years, $15.8M in June 2002.
Breakdown: .9 / 2.7 / 4.8 / 7.0 (option).

Eric Chavez had 401 AB in 1998 & 1999 with a 96 OPS+ and signed for 4 years, $11.75M in June 2000.
Breakdown: .5 / 2.4 / 3.55 / 5.2.

Terrence Long had 1216 AB in 2000 & 2001 with a 101 OPS+ and signed for 4 years, $11.6M (date unknown).
Breakdown: .675 / 2.175 / 3.575 / 5.175.

Miguel Tejada had 1057 AB thru 1999 with an 83 OPS+ and signed for 4 years, $11.3M (date unknown).
Breakdown: .290 / 2.025 / 3.625 / 5.125.

Unfortunately, I don't have a source for how Jason Giambi's contracts were handled, he being the other major young star for Oakland in that time period. Given that he made just $9.43M before becoming a free agent, I'll wager he was handled the same way and is the biggest success story of the bunch.

Contracts: MLB Contracts
Stats: Baseball-Reference
_Eric - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:54 PM EST (#8047) #
A case can be made that Oakland now controls the 4 premier pitching prospects in baseball

The person who tries to make that case should be shot on sight.
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 09:58 PM EST (#8048) #
That's very interesting Jonny. I had no idea (simply never noticed) that Beane was doing this in Oakland. I think of it as the "John Hart approach," because that's what he did with all his young studs in Cleveland in the early 1990s. It worked out great for him, as well.

Committing $21 million to a pitcher with 154 IPT? And another $14 million to a guy with 136 IPT?

Well, what the hell. If it doesn't work out, they fire your butt anyway.
_Sean - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 10:03 PM EST (#8049) #
wonder if the Jays ever made an offer for Mulder? Don't we have a few prospects of that calibre to give up?
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 10:04 PM EST (#8050) #
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=sickels_john
The person who tries to make that case should be shot on sight.

Well, that's a little harsh. Let's just slap him upside the head...

And Rich Harden isn't really a prospect anyway. Not anymore.

But... who are the four top pitching prospects? How shall we define propect? Less than 20 ML starts? Less than 100 IPT?

Off the top of my head, I sure like that Kazmir in Tampa Bay. Other contenders? Pretenders?

By the way, John Sickels sure likes Dan Meyer. COMN.

"He has no major weaknesses, many strengths and is quite comparable to a young Barry Zito or Mark Mulder. If everything goes according to plan, Meyer should be a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year."
_greenfrog - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 10:15 PM EST (#8051) #
Gotta admire Billy Beane. I love the fact that he thinks big (and long-term). He could have gone halfway--trade Hudson and then try to sign an established FA starter, patch the team with mid-range FAs, etc. Instead he overhauls the team with bold moves that bring in a raft of premier young talent.

Maybe next off-season JP should trade Halladay, Lilly, and Batista, and get set for 2007. Just kidding...er, sort of. JP must be shaking his head, watching Beane and Epstein in action.
_Ron - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 10:29 PM EST (#8052) #
I wonder if Beane is done dealing yet.

I didn't expect 2 of the big 3 to be gone so I wouldn't be suprised if Beane continued with:

Zito for Bedard/Maine/another prospect

Chavez for Edwin Jackson/another player

And then Beane could deal one or two of his young pitchers he obtained for some bats.
_Wayne H. - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 10:32 PM EST (#8053) #
I see Billy Beane as the modern day Branch Rickey with the trades of Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder.

Both pitchers carry serious health and implosion risks.

Branch Rickey always said it is better to trade a player a year too early, rather than a year too late.

If the player has a good year for the new team, then that's fine, as Billy got back some potential future stars in the deal. Waiting one more year, and the return drops dramatically.

That is the policy being implemented by Billy Beane.
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 10:35 PM EST (#8054) #
JP must be shaking his head, watching Beane and Epstein in action.

He doesn't have what they have to work with in terms of credibility. Epstein just won a world championship; Beane has five straight 90+ win seasons. If what they do this winter doesn't work out, neither one of them is in any danger of losing his job for quite some time to come.

Somehow, I don't think Ricciardi feels quite that secure.
_Eric - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 10:48 PM EST (#8055) #
But... who are the four top pitching prospects? How shall we define propect? Less than 20 ML starts? Less than 100 IPT?

I'd probably go less than 50 IP, myself.

I don't have a definite top four in mind, but it'd come from a group of Scott Kazmir, Edwin Jackson, Jeff Francis, Felix Hernandez, Adam Miller, Chad Billingsley, Matt Cain & Yusmeiro Petit.

Honorable mention to Greg Miller & Cole Hamels as guys who'd be in that group if they had a clean bill of health.
_Magpie - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 10:52 PM EST (#8056) #
I see Billy Beane as the modern day Branch Rickey

Well, let's see:

"Later, with the Brooklyn Dodgers, [Rickey] pioneered the use of baseball statistics..."

Check...

Branch Rickey: 120 GPL, 3 HR, .239
Billy Beane: 148 GPL, 3 HR, .219

Close enough...

[Rickey] neither cursed ("Judas Priest" was his strongest expletive), nor did he drink...

Two out of three, not so bad?
_Wes - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 11:00 PM EST (#8057) #
Stockpiling pitching prospects is a tremendously risky exercise.

In MLB you pay a premium for certainty and Beane just traded 2 of the surest pitching bets in baseball who were both tremendous bargains, and who both had down season's last year.

Beane should have kept Hudson and Mulder and traded them at the deadline.

What I do like though is how Beane has acquired some excellent relievers.

I have often wondered why MLB managers so slavishly apply the 5 starter 6-7 IP per start model when a collection of 10 100-140 or so IP pitchers who go in scheduled 2 or 3 inning stints could potentially dominate.

How often do you see a pitcher with great stuff and lacklustre endurance who is immediately slated in as a closer or set-up man who gets only 60 or so innings a year.

It would be tough to get buy in from players whose salaries are based on traditional stats but I'd love to see a team with the balls to try it, even if just for 2 or so days out of a typical 5 day rotation.
_Wayne H. - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 11:18 PM EST (#8058) #
[Rickey] neither cursed ("Judas Priest" was his strongest expletive), nor did he drink...

Two out of three, not so bad?

Billy Beane's chair tossing and colourful espressions at the Moneyball draft, surpassed the strongest Branch Rickey remarks for sure.
_Jordan - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 11:39 PM EST (#8059) #
wonder if the Jays ever made an offer for Mulder? Don't we have a few prospects of that calibre to give up?

Well, yes. But a roughly equivalent package from the Jays might include Brandon League, Guillermo Quiroz and Justin Speier, except that Barton's better than GQ. This is a kid who hit 23 doubles and 13 HRs and walked 69 times in 313 at-bats -- as a 19-year-old. So you might have to throw in someone else, too, making it a 4-for-1.

The Cardinals believe (correctly, I think) that they have one, possibly two seasons left to win the World Series; this is the kind of trade you make when you're in that position. As for Beane, he continues to defy expectations.
_Niles - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 11:43 PM EST (#8060) #
Beane's re-loaded his staff for the future but he's also created a lot of payroll flexibility. The question I have is, will he make use of it this year (Delgado? Drew?) or save his load for the next off-season?
_Ryan Lind - Saturday, December 18 2004 @ 11:54 PM EST (#8061) #
I don't think they'll have that much flexibility. Combine these moves with the Kendall signing and the A's have only saved about 2mil off next year.

I have to say that I really like the way Beane does things. He just sort of says "OK! let's start over." No bullshit. It looks like in a couple years he won't have the big three, but he could very well have a big four. Plus, I don't think the A's should be counted out for next year either. Harden is going to be awesome and I don't think Haren will be that far off of Mulder's '04 performance. If Meyer is as good as advertised, and Zito has a good season, the A's should be fine.

On a non-related note: I find it very odd that neither Salary Info websites have been updated in about eleventy trillion centuries. Maybe the MLB lawyers told them to stop making this info public? I don't know. I miss them a lot.
_Magpie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 12:27 AM EST (#8062) #
I have often wondered why MLB managers so slavishly apply the 5 starter 6-7 IP per start model when a collection of 10 100-140 or so IP pitchers who go in scheduled 2 or 3 inning stints could potentially dominate.

Well, effectively you're taking say 80 innings away from Roy Halladay and dividing them among Vinnie Chulk, Sean Douglass, and Terry Adams.

Actually, LaRussa messed around with this idea in the early 1990s when he had an Oakland team that was going nowhere.

If you had 10 pitchers of roughly equal ability, it might make theoretical sense. But not in the real world. Even if you're doing with just two spots in the rotation, it means you're earmarking at least five guys for those two spots. It shorts out the rest of your bullpen...
Gitz - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 12:29 AM EST (#8063) #
Sigh.
_Wes - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 12:36 AM EST (#8064) #
Zito is without question the worst of the big 3 and one of the most overrated pitchers in all of baseball. Trading Mulder is a tremendous surprise for me.

My money is on Harden as their best pitcher next season.

Beane made a clear choice here, he decided to continue in perpetuity as a perennial above 500 team rather than going for it this season and next with the outstanding group of proven starters he had.

At first glance these recent trades appear to be gutsy moves, but on further review I find them to be gutless. He's shown he can build a solid team on an average budget but he hasn't shown he can build a champion.

It will be a long time before Oakland is back in the position they would have been in this season.

W
_Magpie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 01:10 AM EST (#8065) #
Zito is without question the worst of the big 3 and one of the most overrated pitchers in all of baseball.

Without question? In the four years they've been together in the rotation full-time:

................W.....L.....GS.....IPT.....Hits.....SO....BB.....ERA

Zito:..........65....36....139.....888.....768.....696...327....3.49
Mulder:.......72....32....123.....849.....799.....580...229....3.65
Hudson:.......61....31....130.....902.....844.....598...238....3.12

Zito's over-rated if you think he's comparable to Sandy Koufax, I guess. He hasn't been quite as good as Tim Hudson, but he's pretty comparable to Mark Mulder.

And the best indication of future effectiveness is strike out rate. Zito strikes out more hitters than Mulder or Hudson, and he's younger than either.
_Magpie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 01:14 AM EST (#8066) #
he decided to continue in perpetuity as a perennial above 500 team rather than going for it this season and next with the outstanding group of proven starters he had.

Actually, they've been a perennial 90+ win team.

It seems to me that he's "gone for it with the outstanding group of proven starters" for the last several years and it didn't work, so he's cashing those chips while they still have some value for new ones.
_Wes - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 01:28 AM EST (#8067) #
Magpie, without question may have been overly strong, but I would still rank him a clear 3rd.

Zito appears to have settled in as a 160 K - 80 BB 220 IP flyball pitcher who yields 25 or so HR a year. At present Zito isn't much better than Ted Lilly, if he is at all.

Early in his career he was dominant (2001-2002), but his deceptive fastball/curve combo has lost effectiveness each year since he entered the bigs.

In 2001 he K'd 205 in 215 IP (8.6/9)

His last 2 seasons have been 5.67 K/P and 6.89 K/P far more pedestrian.

Mulder is capable of 3-1 K to BB ratios(2001,2002,2003) who K's 6 batters per 9 year in year out, and has a real knack for going the distance by keeping his pitch counts low (very similar to the Doc in that regard).

W
_Wes - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 01:33 AM EST (#8068) #
Mulder and Hudson would have had far more value after a half season of baseball (both had down seasons last year) but then of course Oakland would have been leading the AL West come July so it would have made tough to trade them...

Better to pull the chute and play the rebuilding card I guess.

Beane appears to have done very well for himself in those trades but its doubtful he'll be possess a hand like the one he just traded away for a very long time. That's why I think he took the safe route, he bailed on a chance at a championship to assure himself of quasi contention for the foreseeable future.
_Mick - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 02:09 AM EST (#8069) #
Buster Olney has a great point here:
Beane has a reputation as one of baseball's best general managers, but others in the game -- some probably a little jealous, some simply objective -- believe that the Big Three actually were more responsible for Oakland' success than Beane. We'll know within a couple of years, because the foundation of the Athletics has been gutted.

By 2007, either Beane will be cemented as a GM where the G stands for "Genius" or he will be replaced by a very smug and self-gratified Joe Morgan.
_Magpie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 02:15 AM EST (#8070) #
I would still rank him a clear 3rd

I still think Mulder-Zito are a wash. :-)

I think last year, as usual, they were basically a draw. Their lines were about as close as you could ask two pitchers to be.

Except for W-L, but there is the matter of run support.

Oakland scored 198 runs in Mulder's 33 starts (6.0 per game); they scored just 150 runs in Zito's 34 starts (4.4 per game). Nine times, they scored 2 runs or less for him (he went 1-6 in those games.) Four times, Oakland scored 2 runs or less for Mulder (he went 1-3.)

In his first start of the year, Zito gave up two runs over 8 IPT and took the loss. On May 28, he pitched 8 shutout innings against Cleveland for a ND. He gave up a single run in 8 IPT against the Jays in the start after that. Another ND.

Mulder pitched marginally better than Zito in 2003 (it was close, but Mulder was a little better). However, Zito gave the team 9 more starts and 45 more IPT.

Zito was clearly better than Mulder in 2002 (and Mulder was good) - Zito was even better than Hudson in 2002. Which is the only time either of them has ever been better than Hudson.

They were pretty much even as well in 2001, although Mulder picked up four more wins (and as usual Hudson was just a little better than either.)

Mulder is indeed much more likely to finish a start (22 CG over the last 4 years, 9 in 2003 alone. Zito has just 8 over the same period.) But I don't think it's that big a deal, though.
_Ryan Lind - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 02:23 AM EST (#8071) #
Yeah Mick.

I can't wiat until Harden, Meyer, and Blanton are all kicking ass and people are saying that they should get the credit and not Beane.
_R Billie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 02:28 AM EST (#8072) #
I don't think Beane is bailing on anything. He's stood by and watched several of his best players leave for free agency for just extra draft picks in return. In two more years both Hudson and Mulder would be gone too unless he was willing to shell out in the $10 to $12 million range or more for them.

As far as I can see he had to make a choice between contending in 2005 or reconstructing the foundation for 2006 and 2007. He kept Zito because he could get a better return for the other two pitchers. Simple as that.

Let's not also forget the incredible depth that the bullpen now has. Assuming that Dotel is kept he's backed up by Street, Calero, Cruz, and Garcia. Not an ordinary reliever to be found there. There's now enough pen depth to shorten games to 6 innings on a regular basis.

Sure he could have kept both pitchers and given himself more of a "sure" run in 2005 but I think this current move required guts. I also believe he really does intend to contend in 2006 because he's still carrying Chavez and Kendall long term. Harden will also soon need to sign a long term deal in advance of arbitration. You need salary room to do this.

There also aren't a whole lot of prospects like Meyer and Braton around and usually they are impossible to pry away from their current teams.
_Magpie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 02:36 AM EST (#8073) #
believe that the Big Three actually were more responsible for Oakland' success than Beane.

One hears this all the god damn time. Irritates the hell out of me.

How did Oakland get the Big Three anyway? Beane moved from assistant GM to the top job in October 1997. They had just drafted Hudson that June; Beane then took Mulder in 1998 and Zito in 1999.

What, do people think he inherited those guys in Connie Mack's will?

Sure the Big Three were responsible for Oakland's success.

Who was responsible for them being on the team?

Sheesh.
Gitz - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 02:56 AM EST (#8074) #
Sigh. Sniff. Wail. Sigh. Sniff.
Gitz - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 02:59 AM EST (#8075) #
Oh, sure, I know these moves, if they go according even somewhat to plan -- no plan ever works out entirely, unless it's the script for "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and even that has imperfections -- position the A's well going forward. But gosh darn it, it still hurts like hell.
_G.T. - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 03:23 AM EST (#8076) #
Gitz, I hope you really don't expect sympathy from Blue Jays fans, of all people... all of us would gladly have your "problems"...
Thomas - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 03:54 AM EST (#8077) #
Well, you can't doubt that Billy is one of the gutsiest GMs in the league. I quite like this trade for Oakland. Calero is old, but he's been nothing but dominant ever since reaching the majors. 10.6K/9 is a nice K rate and his other peripherals aren't bad. Barton is a heck of a prospect, even if he doesn't end up at catcher. A 315/.445/.551 line is very good, especially with his league-leading OBP. Even if Barton ends up elsewhere, Oakland still has Powell, Suzuki and Baker, and if his bat pans out he'll stick at any position. I wonder if ardent Moneyball simplifiers will notice Beane traded for a high school catcher who is just 19? Haren doesn't have the upside of Meyer, but he could become a good #2/3 starter. He has a career 3.15 ERA with 462/68 K/BB ratio in 475 minor league innings.

The more I think about it the more I think Oakland isn't noticably worse on paper then Anaheim/Texas for 2005, especially if they can make a good FA signing or two (Odalis Perez?) with the money they saved on these deals. The offence should improve in many areas, and if the pitching staff treads water at least (and they weren't that good last year), they'll be in the hunt in September. Also, now Oakland has dramatically improved their chances in 2006-8.
_Thomas M - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 04:18 AM EST (#8078) #
Coach, hope you enjoy your early Christmas present. Merry Christmas to all Bauxites from Berlin. The odds of a pitcher winning the NL Cy who pitched in the AL te year before are pretty low (Hudson, Mulder, Pedro are my favourites so far- Never thought I'l have Pedro and favourite so close to each other). Mulder in the NL with the league best offense and defense(?) behind him could put up great numbers. Billy B. is probably thinking you can never have enough catching, right?
_Magpie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 05:24 AM EST (#8079) #
The odds of a pitcher winning the NL Cy who pitched in the AL the year before are pretty low

Hasn't happened since... oops. Last month.

Prior to Clemens this year...

Randy Johnson in 1999.

Rick Sutcliffe, 1984.

Gaylord Perry, 1978.

Honourable mention:

Danny Jackson, 1988 (23-8, 2.73 finished 2nd)

John Tudor, 1985 (21-8, 1.93, finished 2nd)
_Thomas M - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 05:56 AM EST (#8080) #
That list is pretty interesting but I never tried to put any historic emphasis on it. It is just that I expect now that one of the three will win the CY where as I never ever expected Clemens to win one this year.
_Thomas M - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 05:58 AM EST (#8081) #
I also remembered all that talk about the talent drain towards the AL. This I think it will be pretty balanced.
_GregH - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 08:18 AM EST (#8082) #
It is just that I expect now that one of the three will win the CY where as I never ever expected Clemens to win one this year.

And as an analysis at the time somewhere on Da Box showed (it's too early and I'm too lazy to look it up ;)) Clemens shouldn't have won it this year - Randy Johnson was robbed.
Mike Green - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 11:28 AM EST (#8083) #
[Rickey] neither cursed ("Judas Priest" was his strongest expletive), nor did he drink...

Two out of three, not so bad?


I'll bet Billy Beane is a big Judas Priest fan. I make it 3 for 3!

The trade of Mulder makes perfect sense to me. Oakland's fielding was excellent last year, and so, Mulder, in fact, was a slightly below average pitcher.

Pitching in Oakland with that defence behind is a great way for a young pitcher to break in. All right, possibly we can add Haren and Blanton to that SI September cover "young gun" picture of Harden and Meyer.
_Moffatt - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 11:34 AM EST (#8084) #
I'll bet Billy Beane is a big Judas Priest fan. I make it 3 for 3!

So much for the golden future, I canít even start
Iíve had every promise broken, thereís anger in my heart
You donít know what itís like, you donít have a clue
If you did youíd find yourselves doing the same thing too
Craig B - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 11:43 AM EST (#8085) #
Stockpiling pitching prospects is a tremendously risky exercise.

Actually, stockpiling pitching prospects is the opposite of risk. Strong but thin pitchiong talent is courting risk; but developing from quantity is less risky.

However, I'd agree that trading away established pitching is risky. The A's, though, HAVE to take risks - from big risks like letting Giambi and Tejada walk, to small risks like converting Hatteberg to first base, to trading Mulder and Hudson when they still have value to the A's for unproven if promising players.

The A's have to take risks - "be the house" is a fun maxim, but it's disingeuous. The reason they have to take risks is that a smaller budget means that you can't go out and buy the sure thing at market value - the Miguel Tejada, for example. You have to take your chances in order to wring the same value (and therefore be a competitive contender) as the big boys, but from a smaller budget. That entails taking risks.

Buster Olney, incidentally, cemented his title as King Of The Blindingly Flipping Obvious with that quote. Way to go, B.O.
_Wes - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 11:58 AM EST (#8086) #
Magpie, when I suggested the alternative pitching arrangement it was purely to maximize innings from your best arms.

I used the strategy in a simulation game last winter and it worked well, but of course I don't think the sim engine took into account Human physiology and whether a guy could pitch 3 innings every 3 days.

A guy like Doc could still go every fifth day and you could work the other guys into the cycle differently. Or maybe Doc could pitch 300 innings if he only went 3 or 4 innings every time out, who knows, nobody has every tried it.

I remember the LaRussa experiment. I think he had 6-8 guys each scheduled to go 4 innings in 3 or 4 day cycles.

Also, I never said Beane's dealing of Hudson and Mulder were bad trades, I merely said he made a choice to give up on a tremendous core that had a real chance to win it all this year in order to build another strong cheap core ready to help him in the near future.

Does anybody else think he liked the packages he was hearing for Hudson so much he couldn't help himself but to trade Mulder to one of the teams that had been in the Hudson bidding? I have a feeling this wasn't planned, and he was overwhelmed by the packages teams were offering.

W
_Magpie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 12:36 PM EST (#8087) #
That list is pretty interesting but I never tried to put any historic emphasis on it.

I know, and I know Clemens didn't really deserve it. It's just...well, last month, ya know? Couldn't resist.

For a while there in the 80s, we were seriously wondering if every AL lefty who moved to the National automatically became a world-beater. There was Tudor and Danny Jackson above; Bob Ojeda went 18-5 in his first NL season. Maybe Bruce Hurst (15-11, 2.69 but he was just as good in Boston.)

So I remember thinking those thoughts....
_Magpie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 12:39 PM EST (#8088) #
Does anybody else think he liked the packages he was hearing for Hudson so much he couldn't help himself but to trade Mulder to one of the teams that had been in the Hudson bidding? I have a feeling this wasn't planned, and he was overwhelmed by the packages teams were offering.

I think there's an excellent chance you're right about that. St Louis was definitely bidding on Hudson, and Haren's name was mentioned.
_Jonny German - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 12:51 PM EST (#8089) #
I wonder if ardent Moneyball simplifiers will notice Beane traded for a high school catcher who is just 19?

My guess is they'll pull out the same nonsense they spewed when Beane traded for Kendall: MONEYBALL HAS FAILED. I mean, obviously Beane is turning his back on everything Moneyball stands for.

Hudson, Mulder, Pedro are my favourites so far [for the NL Cy Young]

Mine too. Check this out:

Pedro will be pitching for the Mets, whose pitiching coach is Rick Peterson.

Hudson in Atlanta, pitching coach Leo Mazzone.

Mulder in St. Louis, pitching coach Dave Duncan.

3 of the AL's best starters have moved to the NL, where they will be working under 3 of the most respected pitching coaches in the game. I'll pick Hudson as the best 2005 pitcher and Mulder as the most likely to win the Cy.
_Mick - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 01:46 PM EST (#8090) #
unless it's the script for "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and even that has imperfections

Hush your mouth, infidel! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries!
_Magpie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 01:58 PM EST (#8091) #
Wes - I've been poring over Retrosheet for the last half hour, trying to track down the great LaRussa experiment. I think I might have found it. Here's what he was doing in July 1993.

July

1- Welch 6 IP
2 - Witt 9
3 - Mohler 3 (2 ER)
4 - Darling 5.1
5a- Downs 5.1
5b- Young 4.2
6 - Welch 3 (6 R)
7 - Mohler 3.1 (0 R)
8 - Van Poppel 3 (8 R)
9 - Darling 6
10 - Downs 8
11 - Witt 9

This brings us to the All-Star Break. The A's are the defending AL West champs, but they're 38-46 after losing their last two games before the break. However, they're actually playing well; they won 15 of 22 after bottoming out on June 16 at 23-37. His rotation at the moment is Bobby Wiit, Bob Welch, Ron Darling, Kelly Downs, and... Mike Moehler? The start on July 3 was the first of Mohler's season and career; he made the team in the spring as a LH reliever. So LaRussa was keeping Mohler's outings short, and using the rest of his starters in a conventional manner.

A couple of other notes: veteran LH Curt Young started games on June 8 and June 14; they were his only appearances of the season until he started Game 2 of the July 5 DH. That was the last game of his career. I assume his arm was falling off.

Todd Van Poppel's start on July 8 was his first game of the season, and it sure looks like something happened to Bobby Witt for a few days. Witt pitched a CG victory against the Yankees on the 2nd of July, and didn't pitch again until the 11th.

Anyway, coming out of the Break:

July
15 - Darling 4 (10 hits, 3 R) Mohler W in relief
16 - Downs 4.1 (6 R)
17 - Witt 3.1 (7 R) Moehler pitches in relief
18 - Welch 5

And here we go:

19 - Van Poppel 4 (3 R) - Darling 4 IP of relief (1 R). LOSS
20 - Moehler 1.2 (5 R) - Witt 4 IP of relief (2 R) LOSS
21 - Downs 4 (1 R) - Welch W in 3 IP relief (0 R)
22 - Van Poppel 2.2 (2 R) - Darling 3 IP of relief (5 R) LOSS
23 - Mohler 3 (2 R) - Witt 4 IP of relief (0 R) LOSS

And then it was basically back to normal

24 - Downs 4.2 (5 R)
25 - Welch 4.1 (6 R)
26 - Darling 6 (3 R)
27 - Witt .1 (7 R)
28 - Van Poppel 6 (3 R)
29 - Welch 7 (0 R)
30 - Darling 7 (1 R)
31 - Witt 2.1 (6 R)

And that's it. He tried for five games, and they lost four of them. Furthermore, he took an enormous of heat for trying something strange and weird. People still remember it. (Not that LaRussa would be bothered a whole lot by that - he has an awful lot of faith in his own judgement, and five years later, he would try batting his pitcher 8th in St Louis.)

But it happened right in the middle of a stretch when Oakland was losing 13 of 16 games, and tumbling right out of the season. I don't think you can blame LaRussa's experiment for that. I still don't think its really workable, mind!

OK, I better stop soon, right?
_Magpie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 02:00 PM EST (#8092) #
the script for "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and even that has imperfections

No it doesn't.

If she weighs the same as a duck... she's made of wood.

And therefore...
_Magpie - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 02:17 PM EST (#8093) #
I don't think the sim engine took into account Human physiology and whether a guy could pitch 3 innings every 3 days.

It does seem iffy. Managers once upon a time may have tried to work relievers like that.

Dick Radatz is the first guy I think of - he worked 157 IP in 79 games in 1964, but he was never the same again.

But also in Boston, Bob Stanley in 1982: 48 G, 168.1 IPT - and he was actually a little better in 1983 (64 G, 145.1 IPT)
_Wes - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 03:35 PM EST (#8094) #
Magpie, you are a machine!

Thanks for finding the info from that old Larussa Experiment.

Seems to have been pretty short lived and relatively unsuccessful.

It will be interesting to see how Beane uses the collection of bullpen arms he's assembled this season, especially given young starters who you probably would't want throwing more than 180 innings or so.

Maybe he'll aim for 5 strong innings from the younger guys each time out and use the exceptional bullpen to finish things off.

W
Gitz - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 04:13 PM EST (#8095) #
I expect empathy from my fellow suffering fans!

As for "The Holy Grail," look, it's tue funniest movie ever (that is, it's the funniest movie that tried to be funny; "Plan Nine From Outer Space" is in some ways funnier). But you gotta admit: it ended badly. A small complaint, it is true. To wrap up the parallel, it would be, for the A's, if Meyer wins 18 games instead of 19. Not perfect, but darn tooting good.
_Rico Sauve - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 04:23 PM EST (#8096) #
Is it just me or will Beane be calling JP on the bat phone any day now and dangling Durazo in front of him for Batista?
_Darin - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 04:24 PM EST (#8097) #
Good point, Rico. JP and Beane haven't traded yet this winter...
_Rico Sauve - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 04:28 PM EST (#8098) #
I wonder is Jape will have any interest in Pierzynski?
_Rob - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 05:03 PM EST (#8099) #
Two little points going a way's back:

(1) 2004 was technically Barton's age-18 season. His birthday is in August.

(2) Ignoring his prospect status, Haren wasn't even the best Cardinals' pitching prospect. Anthony Reyes was.

On a slightly bigger point, Craig, I think you and most other people get the cause and effect backwards on the budget and Beane's moves.
_Ryan C - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 08:41 PM EST (#8100) #
On a slightly bigger point, Craig, I think you and most other people get the cause and effect backwards on the budget and Beane's moves.

Could you elaborate. I dont understand what you're trying to say exactly.
_Wes - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 09:30 PM EST (#8101) #
Craig B:

My stockpiling pitching prospects comment should have been more clearly connected to my subsequent point: trading 2 young established aces for a handful of prospects is an inherently risky proposition.

Obviously more prospects yields better odds of one or more developing into a legitimate big league starter and quantity is definately the way to go.

The A's however will be lucky if even one of their recently acquired starting prospects: Meyer, Haren, Cruz, develop into a solid third starter.

W
_Rob - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 09:31 PM EST (#8102) #
Don't ask me, ask whoever posted under my name above.

I realize Rob is a common name, but it's still quite surprising to read through a thread and see your name next to a comment you didn't post...
_Ryan Lind - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 09:34 PM EST (#8103) #
It which point do you draw the line between "luck," and "good scouting?"

Give the A's some credit, they've had some decent pitchers come up through the system the past couple years.
_Ryan Lind - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 09:35 PM EST (#8104) #
Also, you know you spend far too much time here when you're able to identify that the "Rob" above (#77) isn't the Rob. :$
_Branch "Ma - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 09:41 PM EST (#8105) #
The A's however will be lucky if even one of their recently acquired starting prospects: Meyer, Haren, Cruz, develop into a solid third starter.

Luck is the residue of design.
_Rob - Sunday, December 19 2004 @ 09:59 PM EST (#8106) #
Also, you know you spend far too much time here when you're able to identify that the "Rob" above (#77) isn't the Rob.

I'd imagine that says something about the amount of time I spend here as well. :)
_Ryan B. - Monday, December 20 2004 @ 01:22 AM EST (#8107) #
The A's however will be lucky if even one of their recently acquired starting prospects: Meyer, Haren, Cruz, develop into a solid third starter.

They won't need them to be a third starter once Blanton gets a little big league time. Haren and Meyer will fill out the back of the rotation. behind Zito and Harden.
Thomas - Monday, December 20 2004 @ 02:38 AM EST (#8108) #
The A's however will be lucky if even one of their recently acquired starting prospects: Meyer, Haren, Cruz, develop into a solid third starter.

I think this is a bit harsh. There is the inherent risk of trying to project pitching prospects and I'm sure Beane recognises this. However, it's different when you are projecting 19 year-old high school prospects in Low A and when you are dealing with two pitchers where A had a 2.22 ERA in 60 innings at AA and a 2.79 ERA at AAA and B had a 4.15 ERA at AAA, with a ton of strikeouts. Meyer and Haren aren't sure things, but unless you want to say minor league numbers are irrelevant, both of these pitchers have favourable scouting reports and have minor league success. Neither is a sure bet, but they are better bets than most. As for Cruz, I think he'll stay in the bullpen.
Thomas - Monday, December 20 2004 @ 02:50 AM EST (#8109) #
A couple more points:

1. Which starter did most people think Beane would trade coming into the winter, before the rumours began? Most people said Zito (I actually thought Mulder myself due to the injury issues and second-half meltdown), but I would have had Zito right behind him, with Hudson being the unlikliest. However, in hindsight it's become that Beane would have kept Zito. Beane is all about exploiting market inefficiencies and buying low while selling high. Of course he's going to keep the pitcher most likely to be dealt, because despite what we think I'm sure most other GMs ranked them with Zito third, as well.

2. Other reasons to keep Zito include Magpie's point about the falling K rates and the injury issues that both have (while Zito's never missed a start in his career), and it's no suprise that Beane sees Zito as the one to keep. [Although, if he'll feel that way in another year is an entirely different question.] Also, look at their Home/Road splits over their careers, Zito's difference is the smallest while Mulder's is very noticable.

3. People mentioned Pedro, Hudson and Mulder being the 3 favourites for the NL Cy Young. I predict only one of them will mount a legitimate top-3 Cy season and one will finish with an ERA+ under 115. I know Mulder did that last year but that was the only time any one of those 3 had since the 2001 season.
_Michael - Monday, December 20 2004 @ 03:52 AM EST (#8110) #
In many ways I think this is Beane learning from his mistakes. I think Rob Neyer hit the nail on the head when he first suggested Zito should be traded ~2 years ago (after the first time his K-rate was dropping, but before his ERA rose). And as others here noted you want to sell high, and Branch Rickey is famous for saying that it is far, far better to trade a guy one year too soon than one year too late. And from playing simulated baseball and seeing the Beane of my league make tons of trades and often trade his good players, while they are still good, I think there is a ton of truth to that. So I think that Beane trading Hudson and Mulder right now is a good move in general. I don't know enough about the players coming back to know if he got enough in return, but many signs point to yes. And I think the 2005 As will be in the hunt for the playoffs. They aren't a lock, but only NYY, BOS, ATL, and STL are better bets in my mind. (And note 2 of the 4 teams I mentioned there were the receivers from Beane. That makes sense as these are the teams that should be most willing to sacrifice young soon to be stud players for current nearly certain stud players. And the other two (NYY and BOS) have no young soon to be stud players.
Mike Green - Monday, December 20 2004 @ 10:44 AM EST (#8111) #
http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/blowing-up-the-as/
COMN for Aaron Gleeman's take on the A's trades.
Coach - Monday, December 20 2004 @ 12:05 PM EST (#8112) #
Also at THT, Brian Gunn gives a St. Louis fan's thumbs down. As someone with a soft spot for the Cardinals myself these last 45 years or so, I concur. It's a huge price for Jocketty to pay if whatever caused Mulder's 2004 collapse returns at any point next season. I wish Walt had won the Hudson sweepstakes instead, or convinced the Snakes to accept the same package for the Unit and throw in $8 million of that Monopoly money they're playing with. The Cards do have to try for a championship again, and my fingers are crossed that Mark will be ace-like in the postseason, but if this doesn't work out perfectly in 2005, it will long be remembered as a disastrous deal.

Beane continues to amaze me. His young starters will audition in the first half, and the bullpen appears so much better, Dotel could be used as a trading chip for whatever they need. While I don't think they're AL favourites, the A's remain very much in the divisional hunt. They could have rolled the dice on 2005 and settled for draft picks (and a larger step backwards) in 2006. Instead, they field an exciting young team with significantly improved chances for the next few seasons. If two of Blanton, Meyer and Haren join Harden as the new Big Three, Billy will have achieved more than a decade of sustained excellence, despite being unable to keep his greatest stars.
Mike Green - Monday, December 20 2004 @ 01:02 PM EST (#8113) #
Luck is the residue of design.

Or, as we used to say in the family bridge game after declarer made his contract thanks to 2 successful finesses and a 3-3 split, "I planned it that way".

Seriously, Beane's odds are much better than that. His 2004 draft and these moves were masterstrokes. It makes for a team well worth rooting for.
_Mick - Monday, December 20 2004 @ 07:40 PM EST (#8114) #
Billy will have achieved more than a decade of sustained excellence, despite being unable to keep his greatest stars.

Followed shortly no doubt, by his autobiography, "Moneyball II: Hey Joe Morgan, This One I Actually Wrote."
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