The Oakland Athletics haven’t won a game since they traded starting pitcher Scott Kazmir just a few hours before his scheduled start last Thursday at the O.co Coliseum against the Toronto Blue Jays, and today, the A’s sent another key player to the New York Mets in a trade that continues the sad reality for the 2015 Oakland team.
When the A’s traded Kazmir last Thursday, they were still on the fringe of contention, but four losses later and now with the trade of their closer, Oakland will probably continue to slide into the depths of the American League standings—deprived of unity, motivation and purpose. We’re not saying it was the wrong thing to do, but it is a depressing thing to watch from the press box.
The Kazmir trade brought back a future MLB starter and catcher to the Oakland organization, and likewise, this Clippard swap nets the A’s another future starting pitcher: 20-year-old righty Casey Meisner. According to the A’s press release about the trade, he began the season at Single-A Savannah of the South Atlantic League and went 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 12 starts with the Sand Gnats.
Meisner then was promoted to Single-A St. Lucie of the Florida State League June 27 where he has gone 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA in six starts. He was originally selected by the Mets in the third round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Cypress Woods High School in Texas and is 15-10 with a 2.89 ERA in 41 games, including 35 starts, in three professional seasons. Maybe Meisner is in the plans for 2017 or so, which means he could be a trade piece himself this winter if Beane wants to re-tool for next season.
The A’s acquired Clippard last winter in exchange for Yunel Escobar, who never played a MLB game for Oakland. Escobar was acquired in the Ben Zobrist deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, which cost the A’s minor-league shortstop Daniel Robertson. So, in essence, maybe Oakland just swapped Robertson for Meisner, although when the A’s trade Zobrist later this week—and he will be traded, as the utility man is a highly sought-after piece to many MLB clubs—they surely will add to their prospect haul for the summer and make those trades Beane made last winter look brilliant in retrospect.
As Oakland prepares for two games in Los Angeles this week against the Dodgers, the planning for 2016 and beyond has begun. In trading Kazmir and Clippard, the A’s have cleared two high salaries off the payroll for the remainder of 2015, while adding prospects to the organizational stable. You can still bet, of course, that General Manager Billy Beane will be active in signing some free agents in the offseason, as he was last year—as well as trading for pieces that he thinks can help the team compete in 2016.
With three straight playoff appearances from 2012-14 and the clear potential this year’s roster held, Oakland fans aren’t going to be content to rebuild in 2016. The A’s need to compete, especially if the NFL’s Raiders decide to move to Los Angeles in 2016 and leave the Coliseum property for the A’s to use by themselves in constructing a new baseball-only facility. If that happens, putting a playoff-caliber team on the field every year until the new stadium gets built is a priority for Beane & Co.