Athletics make right move in trade

By Matt Verderame

The Oakland Athletics are terrible. After making the playoffs in three consecutive seasons from 2012-14, Oakland won 68 games last year to finish dead last in the American League. This year looks to be more of the same, with the A’s and Los Angeles Angels fighting for fourth place in the AL West.

On the Aug.1 Major League Baseball trade deadline, general manager David Forst decided the time had come to unload a few impending free agents. Forst and former Oakland front office man Farhan Zaidi, the current general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, struck a deal. The A’s would send right fielder Josh Reddick and starting pitcher Rich Hill to Chavez Revine, while the Dodgers would return three high-end pitching prospects.

For the A’s, it was the official signal that they were punting on a second straight year. For the Dodgers, it was an announcement that the team is all in, trying to win its World Series for the first time since 1988.

Oakland might get some flack in the Bay Area, but this was the right move a million times over. The A’s likely would have given qualifying offers to both players, which would have been flatly rejected. Then, the small-market gurus would have watched as Reddick and Hill signed huge deals elsewhere. In return, the A’s would have gotten a pair of first-round picks in the 2017 MLB Draft as compensation.

Frankly, the haul that Oakland brought back from the Dodgers far outweighs that option.

The A’s were able to completely restock the farm system with good arms, getting Frankie Montas, Jharel Cotton and Grant Holmes. Holmes was a first-round pick in 2014 and at 20 years old, already is being called a potential top-end starter with a plus fastball and plus curve. Cotton was in the Futures Game this summer in San Diego, and projects as a closer with a fastball that can hit triple digits. As for Montas, he also ranks in Baseball America’s top 100 prospects, according to the Mercury News.

After coming so close to putting together a championship team with the likes of Reddick, Brandon Moss, Sonny Gray, Bartolo Colon, Josh Donaldson, Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes, this is a bitter pill to swallow in Oakland. The A’s are as far away as ever to winning another title, something that hasn’t happened since 1989.

Still, Forst and his minions made the right move. The A’s have to take their lumps over the next year or two while the pipeline begins to provide hope, real hope, for the long-term future. The present is hideous in Oakland, but the A’s have a chance to be very good following this deal, and others, in the recent past.