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#InBillyWeTrust has been a popular hashtag among Oakland Athletics fans on twitter. They are referring to GM Billy Beane’s wild off season acquisitions. I mean the guy has been spending like crazy.
On December 2, 2013 Billy started bright and early trading away fan favorite Jemile Weeks and a minor league player to be named later for Orioles All-Star closer Jim Johnson. This trade pretty much quieted any chance of ever seeing the Balfour Rage at O.co ever again. We’ve known Billy would probably trade Jemile away at some point seeing as how the A’s have an extremely crowded infield that includes Eric Sogard, Jed Lowrie, Alberto Callaspo, and newly signed Nick Punto all fighting for 2 spots. So the fact that he was traded was not a surprise, the surprise is how much the A’s will be paying for closer Jim Johnson, $10 million, instantly making him one of the highest paid players on the team. Good for Billy! I like this trade, however, Jim Johnson is a downgrade from All-Star Grant Balfour. Johnson should thrive in the large Coliseum.
Earlier that day, Billy signed free agent lefty pitcher Scott Kazmir. For how much you may ask, 2-years $22 million, officially making him the highest paid player on the budget friendly A’s roster. At first this seamed like a bad deal on Billy’s part. At most he got a pitcher for the third spot in the rotation and extremely overpaid him after having one good year. However, the more time passes, the more this signing makes sense. Pitching is extremely overpriced this season and the A’s need a reliable lefty in the rotation, sorry Brett Anderson. Unfortunately, this probably means the A’s will pass on resigning 16 game winner Bartolo Colon.
The real shocker came this morning December 3. Billy traded top outfield prospect Michael Choice to the Texas Rangers for Craig Gentry. Also included in the trade are Josh Lindbolm going Oakland and Chris Bostick to the Rangers. Michael Choice is highly thought of and is excited to play for his hometown team. Choice gives the Rangers a guy who can hit for power, high average, and produce runs. He is not the best defensively but can play all 3 outfield positions. Craig Gentry is probably just the opposite. He is an average offensive player but has spectacular defense. I see him taking the spot of Seth Smith or even challenging Reddick. Speaking of..,
BREAKING As I was righting this article moments ago, Billy made yet another move. Billy sent Seth Smith to the Padres for RHP Luke Gregerson. For me, this is Billy’s best trade. Smith always seemed to be the odd man out last season. If Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, or Josh Reddick ever needed a break, Chris Young was the one to fill in. Before all these trades, he was still going to the the odd man out with many expecting Choice to take the 4th outfield spot. Smith is better off with the Padres in that regard. As far as Gregerson goes, the scary A’s bullpen just got even scarier.
Make sure to check back on 360 Sports Blog for more updates on The Oakland A’s and Billy Beane’s wild off season.