Trade Redux: 2004

Two days after moving ace Tim Hudson, the Oakland Athletics management team made sure the entire league knew they were serious about re-tooling by trading Mark Mulder. Both pitchers were pieces of the heralded Big Three, completed by current Athletics pitcher Barry Zito. I think it’s inappropriately categorized as rebuilding, as the team remained competitive, but they did experience their third straight drop in wins in 2005. For Hudson, the Athletics received Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer, and Charles Thomas from the Atlanta Braves, meanwhile Mulder netted them Dan Haren, Kiko Calero, and Daric Barton from the St. Louis Cardinals. Five of the six remain in the organization, with Cruz having been traded for Brad Halsey in late March of this year. First, I’ll look at how to the two departing pitchers have fared since leaving the A’s, then a deeper look at the five they acquired that they still have as well as Halsey contribution so far this season.

Tim Hudson
The trade was a homecoming party for Hudson, who was born in Columbus, GA and grew up a Braves fan. At 29, he had put together six sparkling seasons as the Oakland ace, including a 20-win season and two sub-3.00 ERA campaigns. More importantly, Hudson racked up 1240 and 2/3 innings with a 1.22 WHIP, 2.4 K:BB ratio, and allowed 0.68 HR/9. So you can understand the Braves’ frustration when Hudson came over and shaved a mere 0.01 of off his ERA, added 0.09 to his WHIP, and packed on 21 more walks from his 2004 totals. Things haven’t gotten much better in terms of Hudson pitching like he did in Oakland for the Braves. A look at Hudson’s overall numbers through his last start this season:

YEAR TM G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO W L ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9
1999 Oak 21 21 1 0 136.3 121 56 49 8 62 132 11 2 3.24 1.34 8.72 4.09 0.53
2000 Oak 32 32 2 2 202.3 169 100 93 24 82 169 20 6 4.14 1.24 7.52 3.65 1.07
2001 Oak 35 35 3 0 235 216 100 88 20 71 181 18 9 3.37 1.22 6.93 2.72 0.77
2002 Oak 34 34 4 2 238.3 237 87 79 19 62 152 15 9 2.98 1.25 5.74 2.34 0.72
2003 Oak 34 34 3 2 240 197 84 72 15 61 162 16 7 2.70 1.08 6.08 2.29 0.56
2004 Oak 27 27 3 2 188.7 194 82 74 8 44 103 12 6 3.53 1.26 4.91 2.10 0.38
2005 Atl 29 29 2 0 192 194 79 75 20 65 115 14 9 3.52 1.35 5.39 3.05 0.94
2006 Atl 14 14 2 1 93.7 88 44 39 6 30 63 6 4 3.79 1.26 6.05 2.88 0.58
Total   226 226 20 9 1526.3 1416 632 569 120 477 1077 112 52 3.36 1.24 6.35 2.81 0.71


Mark Mulder
Like the Braves, the Cardinals are wondering what Billy Beane knew that they didn’t (A quick sidenote: the Detroit Tigers took the Michigan State product in the 55th round (1455th overall) of the 1995 draft. He passed, went to the Spartans and ended up the 2nd overall to the A’s in 1998. Tough to argue with that decision!). A look at Mulder’s peripherals from 2004 suggest that the Cardinals should’ve treaded more cautiously when inquiring about the southpaw and thus it is no surprise that Beane & Co. were willing to take a capable starter, solid reliever, and top-flight prospect for him. In addition to raising his earned run average by more than 1 run, Mulder saw increases in his walks per nine innings, hits per nine, home runs per nine, and also predictably, his WHIP. He saw a similarly sharp decline strikeouts per nine. During his first season with the Cardinals, he saw another rise in hits per nine innings leading to another slight gan in WHIP. The strikeouts became even more scarce, but the earned run average declined due not only to a switch from the American to National League, but also drops in home runs per nine and walks per nine. The bottom has fallen out completely for Mulder thus far in 2006 as he totes an earned run average over 5.00 and his worst WHIP (1.43) since his rookie season. Mulder’s totals through his last start:

YEAR TM G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO W L ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9
2000 Oak 27 27 0 0 154 191 106 93 22 69 88 9 10 5.44 1.69 5.14 4.03 1.29
2001 Oak 34 34 6 4 229.3 214 92 88 16 51 153 21 8 3.45 1.16 6.01 2.00 0.63
2002 Oak 30 30 2 1 207.3 182 88 80 21 55 159 19 7 3.47 1.14 6.90 2.39 0.91
2003 Oak 26 26 9 2 187.7 180 66 65 15 40 128 15 9 3.13 1.17 6.14 1.92 0.72
2004 Oak 33 33 5 1 226.7 223 119 111 25 83 140 17 8 4.43 1.35 5.56 3.30 0.99
2005 StL 32 32 3 2 205 212 90 83 19 70 111 16 8 3.64 1.38 4.87 3.07 0.83
2006 StL 13 13 0 0 81.3 90 50 47 14 26 42 5 4 5.20 1.43 4.65 2.88 1.55
Total   195 195 25 10 1291.3 1292 611 567 132 394 821 102 54 3.96 1.31 5.72 2.75 0.92


Ranking the six components that Oakland received would be something like this in my estimation:
1. Haren
2. Calero
3. Barton
4. Cruz-Halsey
5. Thomas
6. Meyer

Dan Haren
With 119 and 2/3 innings under his belt, the A’s knew they were adding a fresh, yet seasoned pitcher to their stable. Ranked the #1 prospect of the Cardinals in 2003, Haren dominated the Class AA Southern League before moving up to the AAA club. There he struggled, but still earned a call-up and started 14 games for the Cardinals. He pitched rather miserably in 72 2/3 innings with a 5.08 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. He started the 2004 league back in AAA with the Memphis Redbirds. He was solid in 21 starts and earned another trip up to the bigs. He pitched in 14 games again, but only five were starts and showing dramatic improvement. The move to Oakland secured his placement in the major leagues as he started 34 games and enjoyed a sparkling debut season in an A’s uniform. At age 25, he is in his second season with the A’s and firmly entrenched in their rotation. With the continued injury problems of Rich Harden, Haren assumes the #2 slot behind Barry Zito. If Zito as traded as daily rumors suggest he may be, Haren would become their ace while Harden heals. Haren also has his own blog over at MLB.com that I have had linked since this site’s launch. You can check it out right here, meanwhile, here are his career numbers:

YEAR TM G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO W L ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9
2003 StL 14 14 0 0 73.7 84 44 41 9 22 43 3 7 5.08 1.44 5.25 2.69 1.10
2004 StL 14 5 0 0 46 45 23 23 4 17 32 3 3 4.50 1.35 6.26 3.33 0.78
2005 Oak 34 34 3 0 217 212 101 90 26 53 163 14 12 3.73 1.22 6.76 2.20 1.08
2006 Oak 13 13 1 0 90.7 85 37 36 11 15 70 5 5 3.61 1.10 6.95 1.49 1.09
Total   75 66 4 0 425.3 426 205 190 50 107 308 25 27 4.02 1.25 6.52 2.26 1.06



Kiko Calero
Calero, like Mulder, has a Tigers sidenote as he was also drafted by them. In 1994, he was taken in the 41st Round (1142nd overall), but instead opted to wait two years and go in the 27th Round (799th overall) to the Kansas City Royals. He should’ve entered a third time given the state of those two teams during the mid-90s. Calero labored through seven minor league seasons before starting the 2003 season with the Cardinals. For his patience, he was rewarded with 26 appearances including a spot start. He answered the bell striking out 12 batters per nine innings and posting a 2.28 earned run average in 38 1/3 innings. He was even more impressive in 41 games the following season. He fanned 9.3 per nine yielded just 0.82 baserunners per inning to go with a 2.78 earned run average. Moving to Oakland, he remained an integral bullpen piece appearing in 58 games with 3.23 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The 30-year old continues to be Oakland’s bullpen workhorse already pitching in 31 games this season. His results have not been as good as the previous three years, but he continues to be effective:

YEAR TM G IP H R ER HR BB SO W L ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 SV HLD BS
2003 StL 26 38.1 29 12 12 5 20 51 1 1 2.82 1.29 12.05 4.72 1.18 1 1 3
2004 StL 41 45.1 27 14 14 5 10 47 3 1 2.78 0.82 9.38 2.00 1.00 2 12 1
2005 Oak 58 56.2 45 20 20 6 18 52 4 1 3.23 1.12 8.33 2.88 0.96 1 12 1
2006 Oak 31 25.1 22 12 12 2 12 30 0 1 4.26 1.35 10.76 4.30 0.72 1 13 2
Total   156 165.2 123 58 58 18 60 180 8 4 3.17 1.11 9.81 3.27 0.98 5 38 7



Daric Barton
Barton hasn’t seen major league time like Thomas and the Cruz-Halsey combo, but he entered 2006 as the team’s top prospect according to Baseball America. At 20, he is one of the most dangerous left handed hitters in all of the minor leagues. Here is a piece of what BA had to say about him (subscriber portion, so only part it copied):

Strengths: Hitting comes easy for Barton, who has natural ability to go along with a mature approach. He has a short swing and picture-perfect mechanics, with a fluid load and quick explosion through the zone. His pitch recognition is off the charts. He draws a large number of walks while still being an aggressive hitter, equally comfortable turning on inside fastballs or slicing outside breaking balls the other way. Barton holds his own against lefthanders. He took well to first base in his first year there and shows the potential for improvement. He has good instincts, soft hands and decent range.

The A’s moved him from catcher to 1st base as they felt it was stunting his progress. Beane had high praise for Barton calling him the best pure hitter in the minors shortly after acquiring him. He exhibits unmatched plate patience, an Oakland hallmark, while his power potential remains a point of contention. Some place his ceiling in the low 30s, others feel as though he won’t be much of a power threat seeing him top out in the high teens, low 20s. In 43 games for Sacramento this season, he has just two home runs, but remains incredibly disciplined at the dish with 32 walks against 26 strike outs and a .259/.389/.395 line. His complete minor league numbers through 2005:

Year Team Name League Age Org. Level G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO HBP IBB SF AVG OBP SLG OPS
2003 Johnson City App 18 Stl Rk 54 172 29 50 10 0 4 29 0 3 37 48 2 0 3 0.291 0.416 0.419 835
2004 Peoria Midw 19 Stl A 90 313 63 98 23 0 13 77 4 4 69 44 8 9 3 0.313 0.445 0.511 956
2005 Stockton Calif 20 Oak A+ 79 292 60 93 16 2 8 52 0 1 62 49 3 0 4 0.318 0.438 0.469 907
  Midland Tex 20 Oak AA 56 212 38 67 20 1 5 37 1 1 35 30 0 1 2 0.316 0.410 0.491 901
Total           279 989 190 308 69 3 30 195 5 9 203 171 13 10 12 0.311 0.431 0.478 909



Juan Cruz
Cruz has been seen as a premium talent, but a budding project dating all the way back to his days with the Chicago Cubs. Even now, still just 27 years old, with the Arizona Diamondbacks he is as capable of tossing a gem as he is allowing six runs in 1 1/3 innings. He has yet to put it all together. He was awful in his one season with the A’s immediately making himself expendable this off-season. Here are his career numbers:

YEAR TM G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO W L SV HLD BS ERA K/9 BB/9
2001 ChC 8 8 45.7 40 16 16 4 17 39 3 1 0 0 0 3.22 7.68 3.35
2002 ChC 45 9 97.3 84 56 43 11 59 81 3 11 1 3 3 3.98 7.49 5.46
2003 ChC 25 6 61 66 44 41 7 28 65 2 7 0 1 1 6.05 9.59 4.13
2004 Atl 50 0 72 59 24 22 7 30 70 6 2 0 2 0 2.75 8.75 3.75
2005 Oak 28 0 33.7 38 33 27 5 22 34 0 3 0 0 0 7.44 9.08 5.88
2006 Ari 14 7 47.7 34 21 21 3 24 41 3 3 0 0 0 4.05 7.74 4.53
Total   170 30 354.3 321 194 170 37 180 330 17 27 1 6 4 4.32 8.38 4.57


Brad Halsey
Halsey was acquired for Cruz this off-season and is a bit of a similar story. His arm isn’t as electric, but he is also struggling to find his niche as he has been with three teams in three seasons. He’s performed admirably as a starter-reliever combo with a 4.10 earned run average in 53 and 2/3 innings. A glance at his career numbers:

YEAR TM G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO W L SV HLD BS ERA K/9 BB/9
2004 NYY 8 7 32 41 26 23 4 14 25 1 3 0 0 0 6.47 7.03 3.94
2005 Ari 28 26 160 191 101 82 20 39 82 8 12 0 0 0 4.61 4.61 2.19
2006 Oak 19 6 53.2 57 26 24 8 25 28 3 2 0 1 0 4.10 4.74 4.23
Total 55 39 245.2 289 153 129 32 78 135 12 17 0 1 0 4.75 4.96 2.86



Charles Thomas
After a solid 83 game debut for the Braves, many believed Thomas could end up as a useful piece of the trade for the A’s in their lineup. So far, that has not been the case. He wasn’t given much of a shot in 2005, but didn’t impress in limited time. He saw action in 30 games batting .109 in 46 at-bats. In that debut, he hit .288/.368/.445 with 19 extra base hits and 31 runs batted in over the course of 236 at-bats. His effectiveness has been limited in 51 games with AAA Sacramento this season. He has a .279/.327/.317 line in 183 at-bats.

Dan Meyer
Meyer has not panned out as expected thus far. He will turn 25 years old this July meaning there is still time, but he was on the fast track to a major league rotation in the Atlanta organization, but he has stagnated in his time with Oakland. Coming through the Atlanta system, he was an overpowering pitcher that limited walks, now those two figures have made a catastrophic bolt for the middle. From 2002-2004, Meyer held a commanding 4.4 K:BB ratio with 381 strikeouts in 352 innings. His 2005 season in Sacramento through 10 starts this year, that figure has plummeted to 1.5. He had never posted an earned run average above 2.87, but holds a bulky 5.26 earned run average in 138 and 2/3 innings with the Oakland organization.

Year Team Lg Age Org. Level W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WP H9 HR9 BB9 K9 WHIP
2002 Danville App 21 Atl Rk 3 3 2.74 13 13 1 0 65.2 47 22 20 4 18 77 4 6.44 0.55 2.47 10.55 0.99
2003 Rome SAL 22 Atl A 4 4 2.87 15 15 0 0 81.2 76 35 26 6 15 95 7 8.38 0.66 1.65 10.47 1.11
2003 Myrtle Beach Caro 22 Atl A+ 3 6 2.87 13 13 0 0 78.1 69 29 25 7 17 63 1 7.93 0.80 1.95 7.24 1.10
2004 Greenville Sou 23 Atl AA 6 3 2.22 14 13 0 0 65 50 17 16 1 12 86 2 6.92 0.14 1.66 11.91 0.95
2004 Richmond IL 23 Atl AAA 3 3 2.79 12 11 0 0 61.1 62 23 19 6 25 60 2 9.10 0.88 3.67 8.80 1.42
2004 Atlanta Braves MLB 23 Atl MLB 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 9.00 0.00 4.50 4.50 1.50
2005 Sacramento PCL 24 Oak AAA 2 8 5.36 19 17 0 0 89 101 64 53 15 43 63 2 10.21 1.52 4.35 6.37 1.62



Hindsight, as we all know, is 20/15, but the Oakland A’s have done quite well for themselves. Whether it is their advanced scouting, their numbers-crunching, or their hunches, they moved Hudson and Mulder at precisely the right time. Both moves had their critics seen merely as small-market dump deals. Beane no doubt moved more expensive players for less expensive and may again do so with Zito, but his team remains competitive year in and year out. The Kansas City Royals have dumped the likes of Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon, and Carlos Beltran in a series of their own small-market dump deals, but they haven’t been nearly as effective as Oakland boasting just Angel Berroa and John Buck as the remnants of those moves. Meanwhile, all three players they have moved are among the best at their position either offensively, defensively, or both.

With the long-term signing of Eric Chavez, the A’s have shown that they aren’t just going to be a revolving door of mid-20 somethings that get shipped on the cusp of free agency. And when they do let a high-priced free agent go, they utilize their compensatory picks quite well. In 2004, a supplemental pick for Miguel Tejada locked up current closer Huston Street with pick #40. For losing Ray Durham, they picked up Omar Quintanilla (now with Colorado) in the 2003 draft. Catcher Jeremy Brown of Moneyball fame was taken in 2002 with the Jason Giambi compensatory pick. Four picks later, they took Mark Teahen with a pick gained from the loss of Johnny Damon. Teahen would prove instrumental as he was traded in the move that got Octavio Dotel in 2004. As Michael Lewis’ famous account of Beane & Co. highlighted when it was released in the Spring of 2003, you don’t have to be cash rich to be talent rich.

Hopefully you enjoyed the second installment of Trade Redux. They aren’t done specifically to laugh a team that botched a trade or overly praise someone’s success, rather just a look back as the move goes from crystal ball to crystal clear. In a few years, hopefully I can do a Trade Redux on a Todd Jones for half eaten bag of Cheez-Its transaction. Whoever the poor sap on the other end is will be mighty angry that he passed on the tasty cheese crackers when he realizes what he got in return.

Advertisements

One Trackback to “Trade Redux: 2004”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: