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I probably should’ve known better. I wrote the following after the Dan Haren trade:

In adding that group to the existing core of Daric Barton, Travis Buck, and Nick Swisher, Oakland has created some serious competition for their key offensive spots (outfield, first base, designated hitter).

What we should have already learned (years ago, in fact) is that Billy Beane is not scared of anything. When a strategy is place, he goes full steam ahead, doubters-be-damned. He decided it was time to rebuild, and he was serious about it.

So now, two weeks later, he’s continued with that plan of action, trading Nick Swisher to the White Sox for three of their top prospects, including the top two (regardless of who you ask).

If you’re keeping count, that’s nine players in two trades, seven of which are high quality prospects.

I won’t go into the merits (or demerits) of pitching prospects here. Fautino De Los Santos and Gio Gonzalez are both very good pitchers for their respective levels, but obviously face the uncertainties inherent with their position.

As for Ryan Sweeney… we’ll see. He hasn’t exactly been a world beater in two seasons at Charlotte, but he was universally recognized as Chicago’s best position player prospect. It’s possible that the A’s settled in order to get the two pitchers, but Sweeney certainly has enough credentials to not be considered a throw-in.

So the A’s won’t be competitive next year. But I strongly disagree that they’ll be “without question the least interesting for the casual fan,” as Ray Ratto wrote last night. In fact, this is a profoundly interesting and fairly unique story: a smart team that is deliberately choosing all-out rebuilding over short-term band-aids. This is a team that had a fairly empty farm system three weeks ago, and is stocking up as quickly as any team in recent memory.

Another interesting aspect: if Dan Haren and Nick Swisher can go, so can anybody else. Beane is clearly all in, and it’s tough to say he’s on the wrong path.

Feedback? Write a comment, or e-mail the author at shawn(AT)squawkingbaseball.com

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  1. on January 4th at 06:45 pm
    Brandon Heikoop said:

    In my blog I quoted Moneyball where Lewis writes that Beane loved Swisher more then anybody in the word. Obviously Beane has shown love for Chavez, essentially BUILDING around him, but I assume even he is not untouchable and would consider his price tag to be lesser then Swisher’s was.

    Also, you are one of the only people to accept that Sweeney is still young. Most have written him off. Even BP states that his power may not develop. To be fair, if Sweeney can become a league average hitter but pose a nice glove in CF, the A’s have set themselves up with a nice young core.

  2. on January 4th at 11:30 pm
    ricky vaughn said:

    I don’t have anything specific to add to this story, but I would like to add how much I enjoy your site, and your perspective.

  3. on January 4th at 11:59 pm
    squawkingbaseball said:

    Thanks Ricky. (why do i have a feeling that’s an alias?)

    Brandon - scouts love Sweeney. His numbers haven’t been great, but they’re also not throw-him-off-the-boat bad. He may never pan out, but he’s far from a worthless commodity.

    I think the A’s would love to get out from under Chavez’s deal. I thought it was a good move keeping him over Tejada, and that most people probably underrated his total value since so much of it came from defense. But it’s just one injury after another. I’m sure if Beane could find a taker, he wouldn’t have any second thoughts.

  4. on January 5th at 03:00 pm
    E-ROC said:

    Huston Street could be the next to go. He has the most value of the bunch. Or maybe not when you think of value at the position that Mark Ellis plays. I’m not a fan of the A’s, but I would will definitely tune-in to watch the kids play. That’s probably the purest thing in baseball.

  5. on January 5th at 10:55 pm
    dan said:

    What do you guys think it would take to get Huston Street? More or less than what they got for Swisher?

  6. on January 5th at 10:56 pm
    dan said:

    Now I realize that comment looks pretty stupid, he’s obviously (?) worth less than Swisher. But how much less?

  7. on January 6th at 08:49 pm
    squawkingbaseball said:

    Swisher is a decent bet to be an 7-9 win player next year, possibly better since he’ll be in his age-27 season. I don’t really love any of the existing reliever-valuation stats, but J.J. Putz led in WXRL last year with 7.4. So needless to say, Swisher at the very least represents the high end of what any closer could be worth.

    Street is obviously a great candidate to be traded, but is probably more likely to be dealt at the deadline when prices on relievers inevitably seem to go up. That said, definitely wouldn’t be shocked if he goes before the season starts.

  8. on January 7th at 02:45 am
    Brandon Heikoop said:

    Squawking (Shaun?)

    I was not suggesting that Sweeney was worthless, that just seemed to be the sentiment regarding him. I too think that he still has a lot of time to develop and being under a handful of A’s prospects will definitely help him adjust-rather then having to be the savior of a poor ChiSox system.