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Friday, December 30, 2011

Monte Poole: The Oakland A’s are a travesty

This is quite the strongly worded article. How prominent a Bay Area media voice is this Monte Poole?

Wolff, who along with John Fisher bought the team in 2005, has numerous real estate holdings in San Jose and longs for the support of the corporate base that exists in the South Bay. Even as he talked about a future in Oakland, he already was on record—before being hired by the team—saying he would move the A’s to San Jose.

So there never has been any confusion about his desires or intentions. And there isn’t any now. Wolff and Fisher even bought off team president Michael Crowley and general manager Billy Beane, giving each a fraction of ownership. All four are rowing one way, beautifully in sync.

The iceberg in the water, however, is the Giants, who own territorial rights to San Jose. This alone makes movement a daunting endeavor, for Selig is big on ownership consensus. And that simply doesn’t exist between the Wolff-Fisher A’s and platoon of Giants owners represented by CEO Larry Baer.

Consider these moves an A’s shortcut, their intent to drive their plan over the few curly hairs remaining atop Baer’s head. Few men in baseball can force an issue as vehemently as Beane, and Selig and Baer and all of us can see he’s on a mission.

So Bailey had to go, just as Cahill and Gonzalez did. Billy the Part-Owner is better served by moving them, even if we all know Billy the G.M. likes their talent.

The A’s will say they are fiscally barren and competitively invalid, that they were forced into these actions.

But they’ll offer no apology about abandoning their loyal but dwindling clientele. They don’t want you visiting their shabby little yard, no matter how long you’ve cared, so they’re informing everyone their shop is closed—even though the doors are wide open.

Your move, MLB.

Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 30, 2011 at 02:16 AM | 45 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, business

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   1. Dat Yat Posted: December 30, 2011 at 05:13 AM (#4025591)
He's not all that credible. He's written some incredibly dumb stuff in the past.

That said, I agree with what he's written here.
   2. Benji Posted: December 30, 2011 at 06:08 AM (#4025611)
The A's and the Mets, the race to the bottom.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2011 at 06:20 AM (#4025617)
Well, I don't think Beane is sabotaging the team to force MLB to accept a move to San Jose. He might be sabotaging the team because Wolff has told him payroll has to be $X.

Plus we've had a recent report that MLB approval of the move is pretty much a done deal.

Also, the A's can cry poverty all they want but MLB and MLBPA know what they get in revenue sharing plus what they get in revenue (or a damn good guess) and know that payroll won't be $30 M because payroll has to be $30 M but it's $30 M because the A's want it to be $30 M. The Union pretty much forced the Marlins (and I suspect the Royals and maybe the Twins) to start spending money and will do the same with the A's if they have to.

But the general gist? Sure, Wolff's #1 priority is moving to San Jose and Wolff is certainly not going to give Beane a competitive payroll. The trades we've seen are almost entirely about money.
   4. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: December 30, 2011 at 06:50 AM (#4025646)
The A's taught us that if you aren't going to win, slash the roster. How's that working out? This is the entertainment business first and foremost, not the business of winning the World Series.
   5. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: December 30, 2011 at 07:07 AM (#4025658)
It's working out well. They're turning a healthy profit.
   6. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 30, 2011 at 08:11 AM (#4025662)
Everyone said Beane should build a winner the way Tampa Bay did. Now that he is all they do is b-itch, b-itch, b-itch...
   7. Squash Posted: December 30, 2011 at 08:22 AM (#4025665)
Poole has been writing Oakland sports for a long time. I think he's a pretty decent writer, but he hates Beane with a burning fiery passion so his articles on the A's since the advent of Moneyball have been a little slanted.

Billy the Part-Owner is better served by moving them, even if we all know Billy the G.M. likes their talent.

I would be very interested to know what Beane's ownership slice of the A's is. I find it hard to believe it's substantial enough that burning payroll is going to result in a massive bump in his income, so much so that he's willing to go Harry Frazee/Charley Finley on us. What does he own - 3%? 5%? 2%? If so and the A's make $20 million this year instead of $15 million (I have no idea what they make or are expected to make) we're talking about a pretty small amount of money for a guy who's already making millions. Not enough he would be willing to essentially bet his reputation as a someone who's operating in good faith for, I would think.

I'll go with Occam's Razor and put this on Wolff. The guy has already been ######## about payroll as far back as 2007 and now he's got a perfect reason to cut it. As I was vehemently arguing in the other thread, it's still the right move to trade these guys, but still. Wolff's a dick.
   8. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 30, 2011 at 08:38 AM (#4025670)
It's pretty simple really. With the hiring of Dipoto, the signing of Pujols, and the Rangers now become a juggernaut, Oakland's chances of building a shoe string contender have shrunk substantially. The only model where a bottom tier payroll team has been able to consistently compete in a division filled with top teams is the Tampa Bay model, which starts with years of agony while the farm system is loaded with top draft picks.

Beane hasn't drafted in the top 10 of the first round in what, 15 years?
   9. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 30, 2011 at 09:11 AM (#4025673)
I would be very interested to know what Beane's ownership slice of the A's is.


According to Rosenthal:

[Beane] is under contract through 2014, and holds a four percent ownership stake in the A’s.


The only model where a bottom tier payroll team has been able to consistently compete in a division filled with top teams is the Tampa Bay model, which starts with years of agony while the farm system is loaded with top draft picks.


Texas has averaged about a $75 million payroll in winning the last 2 AL pennants. Atlanta's been pretty competitive for a while with payrolls in the $85 million range. Oakland could spend that much if they were good and could return to drawing the 2 million or so fans that they did in the early 2000s. Other teams do just fine on modest payrolls. It's more difficult to maintain, obviously, but Oakland isn't the poorest team, nor the most efficient at spending its money.
   10. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: December 30, 2011 at 10:09 AM (#4025676)
It's working out well. They're turning a healthy profit.


And where are the wins? Slashing is supposed to be followed up by wins a few years later. This is year 5 of slashing.
   11. Bhaakon Posted: December 30, 2011 at 10:32 AM (#4025677)
And where are the wins? Slashing is supposed to be followed up by wins a few years later. This is year 5 of slashing.


That's if you're trying to maximize ticket sales, but the A's are clearly trying to maximize revenue sharing and, as the article suggests, become a big enough parasite on the collective backsides of the the other owners that they allow Wolff to move the team to San Jose.
   12. Matt Welch Posted: December 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM (#4025678)
Beane hasn't drafted in the top 10 of the first round in what, 15 years?

2010: 10 (Michael Choice)
1999: 9 (Barry Zito)
1998: 2 (Mark Mulder)
   13. ray james Posted: December 30, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#4025687)
If Beane has an 4% ownership share of the team, then he is incentivized to slash payroll in favor of profits, if it is possible to do so.

Have fun with that, A's fans.
   14. base ball chick Posted: December 30, 2011 at 05:19 PM (#4025773)
i'm not real too clear how moving the team to san jose is gonna increase revenue over what they already are getting from revenue sharing. are corporate ticket sales totals that much greater than the revenue sharing money?

and i like how all these discussions leave out the astros - you talk about worse than the As or mets...
   15. TR_Sullivan Posted: December 30, 2011 at 05:30 PM (#4025783)
FYI..Monte Poole is highly-regarded in Oakland as a long-time columnist and A's beat writer
   16. Squash Posted: December 30, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#4025840)
Texas has averaged about a $75 million payroll in winning the last 2 AL pennants. Atlanta's been pretty competitive for a while with payrolls in the $85 million range.

When do we list all the teams that suck and have lowish payrolls? There are exceptions to every rule. The A's were the exception in the early 2000s. Texas is winning now because they traded a superstar (Teixeira) for a bunch of prospects, traded for a prospect (Hamilton) and hit in the draft. Which is exactly what the A's are trying to do. I don't see how they're an example that proves another than that Oakland is doing exactly the right thing.

If Beane has an 4% ownership share of the team, then he is incentivized to slash payroll in favor of profits, if it is possible to do so.

Have fun with that, A's fans.


If the A's win and become a valuable franchise, his 4% is worth far, far more than the a few extra hundred grand he would get for a few years he would get by cutting payroll. Following this logic, why hasn't he cut payroll to the bone every year since he got the ownership stake 2005? The A's have been running at around $65-70m since then - why so high? For that matter, why hasn't every owner in the league cut the payroll to nothing? Besides, what's the alternative? Hold onto these guys and finish 4th with a crappy farm system and no good draft picks? That makes no sense.
   17. base ball chick Posted: December 30, 2011 at 06:54 PM (#4025847)
texas traded a superstar for a bunch of prospects who just happened to work out - they were not exactly all top 10 guys, you know. AND that top prospects was jarrod saltalamacchia, who didn't exactly make their team better

they were able to trade for hamilton, who the reds couldn't wait to get rid of because - not sure why - but anyway, they were able to trade for him because they had something of value in the minor leagues.

they hit in the draft because they didn't have maroons picking/developing draftees (see houston astros)

see what crap houston has gotten from trading berkman, oswalt, pence and bourn - yes some were cheaper, but houston ate money in all those trades to get, what - mark melancon? some a ball guys? some pitchers who have no control? some middle reliever?
   18. ray james Posted: December 30, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#4025848)
   19. Bhaakon Posted: December 30, 2011 at 11:17 PM (#4026002)
i'm not real too clear how moving the team to san jose is gonna increase revenue over what they already are getting from revenue sharing. are corporate ticket sales totals that much greater than the revenue sharing money?


I'd imagine that the TV deal is a big part of it as well. Plus there may be outside revenue streams (Wolff reportedly owns a bunch of land in San Jose, land which may see its value spike after the park is built).
   20. Something Other Posted: December 30, 2011 at 11:26 PM (#4026007)
Bill James wrote a strong article in one of the early Abstracts that talked about the Twins' owner at the time (Griffiths?) playing a different game than everyone else, that it was enough to have a seat at the table. Winning was secondary. A very, very distant second, in fact.

How many of us would forgo owning a team if it was stipulated we would always have to have payroll in the bottom three teams? That wouldn't dissuade me, particularly if I could also run the team with all the juicy deductions and subsidies as a modestly profitable business.
   21. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 30, 2011 at 11:45 PM (#4026012)
Texas is winning now because they traded a superstar (Teixeira) for a bunch of prospects, traded for a prospect (Hamilton) and hit in the draft. Which is exactly what the A's are trying to do. I don't see how they're an example that proves another than that Oakland is doing exactly the right thing.


The difference is that Teixeira was traded for two mid-ceiling safe prospects in Saltalamacchi and Harrison and two high ceiling young prospects in Andrus and Feliz. They also traded a good pitcher (Volquez) for a ultra-high ceiling outfielder (Hamilton).

I can see Derek Norris being basically comparable to Saltalamacchia, and you could argue that Alcantara is similar to Feliz, but I don't see anyone they acquired that's comparable to Andrus or Hamilton. Rather they're getting good pitching prospects and cheap role players. There is not a single future star among the position players they got back in any of the three trades. They'd be lucky if Cole, Parker and Peacock could contribute as much as Gio and Cahill going forward. They could just as easily get hurt and contribute very little. They're basically running in place while cutting payroll.
   22. Swedish Chef Posted: December 31, 2011 at 12:24 AM (#4026019)
traded for a prospect (Hamilton)

They traded a 24 yo pitcher (with not a full year of service time despite being up for parts of three seasons) for a 26 yo outfielder who had been a starter for most of a season. That is nothing like what the A's are doing.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: December 31, 2011 at 01:08 AM (#4026033)
The difference is that Teixeira was traded for two mid-ceiling safe prospects in Saltalamacchi and Harrison and two high ceiling young prospects in Andrus and Feliz. They also traded a good pitcher (Volquez) for a ultra-high ceiling outfielder (Hamilton).

Well, one other difference is that Teixeira was the most desirable trade target available, appeared to be a solid 5 WAR player and, a couple years later, was still one of the most desirable players on the market and got a 8/$180 contract.

I suppose you could argue Gonzalez is similar on the surface -- and Beane got 4 of the Nats top 10 prospects for him. Bringing us to another difference in that the Teixeira trade was considered a major steal for Texas (esp in hindsight), not the "typical" return on such a trade.

The A's likely will end up doing better in that trade than the Twins in the Santana trade, the Indians in the Lee trade, Philly in the Lee trade, and Seattle in the Lee trade; probably not as well as the Jays in the Halladay trade (d'Arnaud had one nice season). But then Gonzalez ain't in that class of pitcher.

They traded a 24 yo pitcher (with not a full year of service time despite being up for parts of three seasons) for a 26 yo outfielder who had been a starter for most of a season. That is nothing like what the A's are doing.

Right, they are trading 23, 24, 25 year-old pitchers with very good ML performance for mediocre ML-ready guys and some A-ball arms. If they were offered the equivalent of Hamilton for Cahill and took the package they took, they weren't bright. (Remember Hamilton had only one year of service time too.)
   24. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 31, 2011 at 01:47 AM (#4026045)
2010: 10 (Michael Choice)
1999: 9 (Barry Zito)
1998: 2 (Mark Mulder)


You think this rebuts what I wrote? It just helps show that the A's have predominantly been drafting at the bottom of the draft ever since Zito, and that's a lot harder than what Tampa Bay did.
   25. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 31, 2011 at 01:58 AM (#4026050)
Well, one other difference is that Teixeira was the most desirable trade target available, appeared to be a solid 5 WAR player and, a couple years later, was still one of the most desirable players on the market and got a 8/$180 contract.


Well yes, Teixeira was and is better than any of the pitchers the A's traded. But the point is that all of the players the Rangers got back were potential 4+ WAR players. They didn't take Eric Campbell instead of Andrus or Lerew/Gunderson/Reyes/Medlen/Locke/Rasmus/Evarts instead of Feliz. They went all upside. A's paid for short term certainty when they have no real use for it
   26. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 31, 2011 at 02:46 AM (#4026061)
For comparison...


2010: #10 (Michael Choice)
1999: #9 (Barry Zito)
1998: #2 (Mark Mulder)


2008 #1 Tim Beckham
2007 #1 David Price
2006 #3 Evan Longoria
2005 #8 Wade Townsend
2004 #4 Jeff Niemann
2003 #1 Delmon Young
2002 #2 BJ Upton
2001 #3 Dewon Brazelton
2000 #6 Rocco Baldelli
1999 #1 Josh Hamilton

Yea, Tampa Bay has just been "smarter" than Oakland, LOL.
   27. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: December 31, 2011 at 03:22 AM (#4026078)
I think you're being a little hyperactive there, VA. You threw out that maybe the A's hadn't drafted in the top ten in fifteen years, and the actual information was provided, without comment. What's the problem?
   28. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 31, 2011 at 03:52 AM (#4026093)
Yes, those top picks are all you need. Where would the Rays be without the contributions of Josh Hamilton, Rocco Baldelli, Dewon Brazelton, and Wade Townsend? Just pick in the top ten for a decade and you're guaranteed success. Who cares about astute decisions in the later rounds, or developing players in the minors, or picking up other teams' cast-offs like that Carlos Pena bum.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: December 31, 2011 at 03:55 AM (#4026095)
Well yes, Teixeira was and is better than any of the pitchers the A's traded. But the point is that all of the players the Rangers got back were potential 4+ WAR players.

And do you think the A's were offered several potential 4+ WAR players?

And do you think the Teixeria trade represents the "typical" return for such a trade?

It is certainly true that Beane is mainly getting back "meh" players and prospects. It's not clear he can do much better. But he is also doing something quite different. Texas was trading one player, Oakland is trading most of their remaining lineup (after losing some through FA or late-season trades last year) most of which was "supposed to be" their lineup for the next 2-3 years. They've got to put somebody out there and clearly they have no intention of spending millions to sign crappy MLers to fill out a lineup card. What the A's are doing is closer to what Huntington/Pirates did a couple years ago except that the A's aren't dumping crappy, overpriced vets, they're dumping young, moderately priced vets. Very odd.

Gone from the 2011 As:

Willingham, Crisp, DeJesus, Sweeney, Matsui, Kouz, Ellis, Cahill, Gonzalez, Harden, Bailey, Breslow, Ziegler.* That's almost 3000 PA and 630 IP. That's about 45% of their IP and 45% of their PA gone. Beane has no choice (or was given no choice or gave himself no choice) but to get back some ML-ready talent in return. He hasn't done any better than Huntington in that regard near as I can tell.

Paryoll in 2011 was $67 M according to Cots. This year's is on track for about $30-35, maybe lower if they can find takers for Balfour and Fuentes ... surprise, they've cut out 45% or more of payroll too.

*And I'm not sure about Conor Jackson and Andy LaRoche.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: December 31, 2011 at 04:06 AM (#4026098)
2008 #1 Tim Beckham
2007 #1 David Price
2006 #3 Evan Longoria
2005 #8 Wade Townsend
2004 #4 Jeff Niemann
2003 #1 Delmon Young
2002 #2 BJ Upton
2001 #3 Dewon Brazelton
2000 #6 Rocco Baldelli
1999 #1 Josh Hamilton


As I pointed out the other day, the only one of those that has really made a difference between the A's and Rays is Longoria. A huge difference obviously but nowhere near enough to explain the difference in outcomes between the teams. In WAR to date, Upton 2002 is balanced by Swisher 2002; Price 2007 is balanced by Cahill 2006 (same years pitched). None of those other picks really paid off for the Rays.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Rays success doesn't owe a huge amount to their 1st round picks.

I've also shown elsewhere that even when you look at the first 3 rounds or so (I think I went up to picks in the lower 90s), the performance of Rays draftees from 2003-2008 was substantially less than the performance of A's draftees with Longoria being the only thing that kept the Rays in the running. The Rays have had great success with late round picks and in trades.

So the key to the Rays model of success hasn't so much been "suck to draft high" but has been "develop, develop, develop!" and "be smarter than the other GMs in trades (or be incredibly lucky or however you want to explain outcomes like Zobrist, Garza, Joyce, etc.)." The business model of "trade crap for really good players" and "have your 4th round draft picks win RoY 6 years later" are ones that every team should follow!

EDIT: Early this season, Hellickson will become the 2nd best #118 pick ever but he has a way to go to catch Mickey Tettleton!
   31. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 31, 2011 at 05:13 AM (#4026122)
Yes, those top picks are all you need. Where would the Rays be without the contributions of Josh Hamilton, Rocco Baldelli, Dewon Brazelton, and Wade Townsend? Just pick in the top ten for a decade and you're guaranteed success. Who cares about astute decisions in the later rounds, or developing players in the minors, or picking up other teams' cast-offs like that Carlos Pena bum.


Exactly. The Rays has a huge head start in minor league talent when Friedman arrived, and a good portion of it was wasted.

And you forget that when the Rays drafted #1 in the first, they also drafted first in the 2nd round, 3rd round, 4th round, etc. Their total advantage grew each round, even if the relative advantage of drafting at the top isn't as great in later rounds.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Rays success doesn't owe a huge amount to their 1st round picks.


You've pointed out all along that the A's did fine with the picks they had, I'm just pointing out the huge advantage Tampa Bay had in all of the rounds in all of the drafts, not just in the first round. Even though the Rays squandered some of their first round advantages, they also did pretty well in later rounds and picking before other teams was a part of that as well.
   32. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 31, 2011 at 05:14 AM (#4026123)
I think you're being a little hyperactive there, VA.


I'm always a little hyperactive here. These arguments are the only thing we have until spring training, man!
   33. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 31, 2011 at 06:40 AM (#4026137)
And do you think the A's were offered several potential 4+ WAR players?

There's no way of knowing what they were offered, but there have been reports that Beane pushed hard to get Cowgill and Reddick, presumably at the expense of lower level prospects with higher upside. I suppose there's the possibility that they were offered even lower upside guys than Cowgill and Reddick, but I doubt it because these guys have value to a contending team trying to fill a mammoth hole. That team is not Oakland.

And do you think the Teixeria trade represents the "typical" return for such a trade?

Well no, it turned out far better than most trades for prospects. I was making a point about going for upside rather than paying for short term certainty. Saltalamacchia was bad for Texas, but it was still a good try. Cowgill and Reddick aren't even good tries.

They've got to put somebody out there and clearly they have no intention of spending millions to sign crappy MLers to fill out a lineup card.

This seems to be the motivation the best I can tell. They don't want to pay $5M/year for Johnny Damon or whomever so they're getting similar production for $500K. If it were me, I wouldn't do either and go with a free talent and load up on higher ceiling prospects. I wouldn't care if I won 70 or 50 games.
   34. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 31, 2011 at 08:10 AM (#4026150)
As I pointed out the other day, the only one of those that has really made a difference between the A's and Rays is Longoria. A huge difference obviously but nowhere near enough to explain the difference in outcomes between the teams. In WAR to date, Upton 2002 is balanced by Swisher 2002; Price 2007 is balanced by Cahill 2006 (same years pitched). None of those other picks really paid off for the Rays.


Niemann is a perfectly cromulent mid to end of the rotation starter. Those don't grow on trees. And they turned Delmon Young into Garza and Bartlett, who put up a combined 14ish WAR over the 3 seasons they were with the Rays, and of course have been unloaded for more prospects. Tim Beckham was a 21 year old SS in AAA last season, and last I checked was still a top 100 prospect.

And if you are going to use Cahill (2nd rounder) as counterweight, then why not add guys like Crawford (2nd round) or Hellickson (4th) back on to the Rays.
   35. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: December 31, 2011 at 11:22 AM (#4026160)
How many more years do the Pirates and Orioles have to suck before this magic drafting formula works for them?
   36. zachtoma Posted: December 31, 2011 at 12:27 PM (#4026164)
Suggested new nicknames for this team:

Oakland Triple-A's
Oakland 2010 Pirates
...
   37. SteveF Posted: January 01, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4026556)
Contrary to popular opinion, the Rays success doesn't owe a huge amount to their 1st round picks.


The truth of this cannot be overstated. Running down their roster you'll find a pretty long list of players that any team cold have had (especially above average starting pitching). They are doing something right down there on the pitching side, whether that's drafting, development or a combination of the two.

If I were a major league organization, I'd be looking carefully into how Tampa develops its pitching.
   38. theboyqueen Posted: January 01, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4026570)
The A's develop pitching as well as anybody. That, more than anything, seems to be their unique skill. Or that, and trading away cheap, good pitching for crap.
   39. TR_Sullivan Posted: January 01, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4026598)
The Rangers farm system has been ranked very high the past four years...so here is their World Series team...

C.J. Wilson - Drafted in 2001 5th round
Colby Lewis - shrewd/cheap FA signing
Derek Holland - 25th round draft and follow
Matt Harrison - Braves trade
Alexi Ogando - Minor League Rule 5
Neftali Feliz - Braves trade
Mike Adams - Trade for two excellent prospects
Koji Uehara - Acquired for two Rangers-developed players
Darren Oliver - free agent
Mike Gonzalez - trade for Pedro Strop
Scott Feldman - 30th round pick
Mark Lowe - Cliff Lee trade
Mike Napoli - trade
Yorvit Torrealba - FA
Mitch Moreland - 17th round draft pick
Ian Kinsler - 17th round pick
Adrian Beltre - FA
Michael Young - Trade
Josh Hamilton - Trade
David Murphy - Eric Gagne trade
Endy Chavez - Minor League FA
Craig Gentry - 10th round pick
Nelson Cruz - Brewers trade and once exposed to outright waivers

Mike Napoli was also originally drafted in the 17th round and Gonzalez was originally a 30th round pick... just like Feldman.

So the Rangers had as many players on their roster who were taken in the 30th round (Feldman, Gonzalez) as were taken in the first round: Hamilton and Murphy

Colby Lewis was originally a supplemental first rounder. So that would mean as many first rounders (including supplemental) as 17th rounders.
   40. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 01, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4026636)
Very interesting, TR.

The accumulation of prospects for the purpose of trading them for stars is underrated among fans. That's been the key strategy for the Phillies and Rangers. Hmm, why are they spending all this effort to make Michael Bourn a plausible MLB starter when they have Victorino? This is a position battle! Victorino's contract is about to end, who's going to trade for him? Oh right, they can trade the YOUNG guy.
   41. BDC Posted: January 01, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4026642)
Interesting info on a sort of "everything went right" roster, TR. The Rangers have had lineups equally good several times in the quarter-century I've lived in Texas, but I have to think that a big watershed was the arrivals of Nolan Ryan and then Mike Maddux. Ever since, the Rangers have been able to identify and develop good young pitchers, something that had eluded them for 35+ years. For that matter, the A's have usually been pretty good at that in the Beane years; it's only recently that they've been putting no better than a AAAA lineup on the field behind them.
   42. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 01, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4026654)
I detailed in a different A's thread recently that in terms of 2008-11 value the Rays have gained a surplus of about 40 WAR from trades, free agent signings, Rule 5 losses, and guys like Cory Wade that were released mid-season from the minors and immediately caught on successfully with other teams. +10 wins per seasons is pretty nice especially since payroll limits have generally restricted them from making any trades/free agent signings that add significant salary. The only two exceptions are Pat Burrell (-1.3 WAR) and Rafael Soriano (2.5). So nearly everything Friedman and his staff do has to involve only small amounts of salary obligation coming to the team making it even harder to create such surplus value as they have.

I know it gets brought up that Delmon Young was a top overall pick in the draft but the fact is the Rays still had to *make the trade*. Young was a toolsy top pick who wasn't overmatched in the majors as a 21 year old and when the trade happened a pretty common opinion was that the Twins got the better end of it because they ended up with the best player involved. A lot of GMs probably aren't willing to make that trade but the Rays did and it was a smashing success; Bartlett filled the massive defensive hole at SS while providing adequate offense (and excellent in one fluke year), Garza gave them a reliable mid-rotation starter (and an ALCS MVP performance), and Young was below replacement level in two of his three full seasons for the Twins with Brendan Harris doing nothing to make up for it.

I like TR's exercise above. Here's the Rays for the 2011 ALDS:

Juan Cruz - FA
Wade Davis - 3rd round
Kyle Farnsworth - FA
Brandon Gomes - Trade (for Jason Bartlett)
JP Howell - Trade (for Joey Gathright)
Jack McGee - 5th round
Joel Peralta - FA
Matt Moore - 8th round
James Shields - 16th round
David Price - 1st round
Jeremy Hellickson - 4th round
John Jaso - 12th round
Kelly Shoppach - Trade (for Mitch Talbot)
Jose Lobaton - Waiver claim
Reid Brignac - 2nd round
Elliot Johnson - Undrafted FA
Casey Kotchman - NRI
Evan Longoria - 1st round
Sean Rodriguez - Trade (for Scott Kazmir)
Ben Zobrist - Trade (for Aubrey Huff)
Johnny Damon - FA
Sam Fuld - Trade (for Matt Garza)
Desmond Jennings - 10th round
Matt Joyce - Trade (for Edwin Jackson)
BJ Upton - 1st round

Notables not on postseason roster:

Jeff Niemann - 1st round
Cesar Ramos - Trade (for Jason Bartlett)
Andy Sonnanstine - 13th round
Adam Russell - Trade (for Jason Bartlett)
Alex Cobb - 4th round

The contributions of the 1st rounders are obvious but Reid Brignac was the only other player who was drafted before the 3rd. The interesting thing to me about the nine players acquired via trade is that only two of them were in return for homegrown Rays players, the other seven were from a second generation of trades.
   43. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 01, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4026661)
Another good analysis, Jim.

payroll limits have generally restricted them from making any trades/free agent signings that add significant salary. The only two exceptions are Pat Burrell (-1.3 WAR) and Rafael Soriano (2.5).


They've done that for other relievers. Soriano, Troy Percival and Dan Wheeler were all about $8 million commitments.
   44. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 01, 2012 at 08:18 PM (#4026678)
Percival and Wheeler were over multiple years though so it wasn't nearly as much money per season. Friedman's track record on free agent signings involving any notable amount of money is a mixed bag, he got good value for guys like Iwamura and Damon but some of the other contracts such as Burrell, Percival, and Ramirez were total flops.
   45. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 01, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4026691)
2008 Phillies playoff contributors:

Joe Blanton (traded for Phillies 1st, 3rd, and 10th round picks) (Cardenas, Spencer, Outman)
Clay Condrey (free agent)
Chad Durbin (free agent)
Scott Eyre (deadline trade for Phillies 16th round pick) (Schlitter)
Cole Hamels (Phillies #17 overall pick)
JA Happ (Phillies 3rd round pick)
Brad Lidge (traded for Phillies 2nd, 4th, and 15th round picks) (Costanzo, Bourn, Geary)
Ryan Madson (Phillies 9th round pick)
Jamie Moyer (traded for Phillies 5th and 40th round picks) (Baldwin, Barb)
Brett Myers (Phillies #12 overall pick)
JC Romero (free agent)


Pat Burrell (Phillies #1 overall pick)
Eric Bruntlett (same trade as Lidge)
Chris Coste (extremely veteran minor-league free agent)
Greg Dobbs (waivers)
Pedro Feliz (free agent)
Ryan Howard (Phillies 5th round pick)
Geoff Jenkins (free agent)
Jimmy Rollins (Phillies 2nd round pick)
Carlos Ruiz (amateur free agent)
Matt Stairs (deadline trade for a pretty good prospect)
So Taguchi (free agent)
Chase Utley (Phillies #15 overall pick)
Shane Victorino (Rule 5 draft)
Jayson Werth (free agent)

The only player acquired through any sort of free-agent bidding war was Feliz. In general this is a testament to making the right choices with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th round picks and choosing the right time to trade the prospects you don't need. And not a testament to the vast importance of a #4 overall pick over a #14 overall pick.

Unlike the Rays, everyone acquired through trade was acquired for someone signed and developed by the Phillies. Makes Ed Wade look pretty good.

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