By: Chris Williams
The Winter Meetings were held last week and in that 4-day period, the Oakland Athletics found themselves fairly busy, both, on the free agent and trade markets. VP of Baseball Operations, Billy Beane and General Manager, David Forst made a number of moves that showed their focus on building for the future while keeping an eye on the present.
The moves started with the signing of right handed relief pitcher, Ryan Madson to a 3-year deal. Madson is a resurrection story much like former Athletic, Scott Kazmir. Madson last closed games for the Phillies in 2011; converting 32 of 34 save opportunities. After a successful stint with the Royals in 2015, the A’s are hoping they have found a dependable late inning reliever.
The A’s followed up this move with a trade of right handed reliever, Evan Scribner to the Seattle Mariners for Trey Cochran-Gill, a 23-year-old right handed starter that looks to be headed for Double-A Midland to start the season.
The A’s continued to stat busy by making another move, trading 3B, Brett Lawrie to the Chicago White Sox for right handed pitcher, J.B. Wendelken and left handed pitcher, Zack Erwin. Brett Lawrie was considered to be the main component in the much maligned trade of fan favorite and 2015 MVP, Josh Donaldson during last year’s offseason.
The A’s acquired RF Jabari Blash from the Rule 5 Draft and immediately traded him to the San Diego Padres to complete the December 2 trade that saw the additions of 1B Yadier Alonso and left handed relief pitcher, Marc Rzepczynski in exchange for starter/long reliever, Drew Pomeranz, left handed minor league reliever, Jose Torres, and a player to be named that ended up being Blash.
To top off what was a busy week of revamping the bullpen and stockpiling the minors, the A’s brain trust signed free agent relief pitcher John Axford to a two-year $10 million deal. Another veteran reliever with closing experience, the A’s now have multiple hard throwing late inning pitchers to take care of closing duties in the event of injury throughout the season.
What do you think? Did the A’s trades and signings give you hope for an improved club in 2016 or is this another signal that Billy Beane and company have lost their magic touch? Where should the A’s go from here? Let me know in the comments.