I'm completely perplexed by what the Oakland A's are doing this offseason. It makes no sense to me.
1) Sign Billy Butler
The A's DH position was pretty horrendous this past year. While Billy Butler may not be quite the player he once was, he's still an upgrade. He was signed to a three year deal for $30 million. A little pricey by A's standards, but a sign that they still felt they had a 2015 playoff push in them.
2) Trade Josh Donaldson
While most people panned this trade, I thought it wasn't that bad. Donaldson was one of the best players in baseball the past two years, so the trade didn't make much sense if the A's felt they had a playoff push in them like in 2015. However, by getting multiple major league players back, the A's felt that the sum of the parts was more than enough to justify the trade. I can buy that.
3) Trade Brandon Moss
Brandon Moss was an All Star in 2014. While he wasn't necessarily a spectacular player, he has consistently put up a solid 2ish WAR each of the past three years. He was traded for a AA minor leaguer who didn't rank high on the prospect charts. However, perhaps the A's felt he was easily replaceable?
4) Trade Jeff Samardzija
This speaks to a rebuild going on. Why did they even sign Billy Butler at all??
While I do not consider Samardzija the ace everyone makes him out to be (career high 3.7 WAR in 2014, first time above 3.0), pitching is still hard to find.
5) Trade Derek Norris
With a career high 3.0 WAR in 2014, perhaps another trade-high situation. While Derek Norris didn't project as an extremely high star, good catchers are still hard to find.
After this and the prior trade, I almost have this feeling the A's were going to make a playoff run. Then changed their mind and decided not to. Unfortunately they already had to eat the Billy Butler signing.
6) Acquire Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar
Ben Zobrist is one of the best under the radar players in baseball over the last few years. From 2009-2014 he's averaged a WAR of 6.2 per year. Granted, he's getting a little older and his WAR the last two years has been 4.8 and 5.0. Still, that's an All Star quality player.
In addition, Zobrist is in his walk year of his contract. So this isn't a long term deal. It speaks to a win now attitude.
7) Trade Yunel Escobar for Tyler Clippard
Clippard is an All Star reliever in his walk year of free agency. Again, trading a player with multiple years on his contract (Escobar) for a playoff push.
I'm confused. It appears the A's are trying to make a playoff push and rebuild at the same time.
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