June 3, 2004

The gift that keeps on giving ... even to the Twins!

Yesterday afternoon, before the Twins game, I watched the White Sox/A's game.

It was a very good game, featuring a matchup of two of the best lefty starters in the league, Mark Mulder and Mark Buehrle. Anyway, the end of the game had me smiling, mostly because the White Sox lost, but also because the A's won and it was a particularly good final two innings for Oakland GM Billy Beane.

With Chicago leading 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th, Billy Koch came in to close the game. He blew the save, allowing the tying run to score, and the game went into extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th, Chicago sent Jon Adkins out to pitch and he gave up a walkoff homer to Mark Kotsay. Oakland won 3-2.

Why is this noteworthy? Consider this ...

Both Koch and Adkins were once property of the A's. Koch was their closer in 2002 (he went 11-4 with a 3.27 ERA and 44 saves) and Adkins was Oakland's 9th round pick back in 1998 and a fringe prospect.

Beane traded Koch to the White Sox in a deal that brought Keith Foulke to Oakland, and he sent Adkins to Chicago for Ray Durham. Assuming he could forget about Eric Chavez's broken hand for a moment, I bet Beane was smiling yesterday afternoon.

Those two trades have worked out pretty damn well for the A's.

Durham hit .274/.350/.457 in 54 games for them in 2002, helping them make the playoffs, and Foulke went 9-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 43 saves as their closer last year. Now, both players left as free agents after their one year (or half-year) in Oakland, but the A's got more than that out of them.

If you add everything up, including all of the subsequent trades of other players involved in the original deals, here's what the two trades ended up being:

To Chicago:

Billy Koch

Jon Adkins

Neal Cotts

Daylan Holt

To Oakland

54 games of Ray Durham

45 games of Jose Guillen

72 games of Keith Foulke

13 games of Mark Johnson

Brian Snyder

Omar Quintanilla

#24 pick in 2004 draft

#36 pick in 2004 draft

Now, I'm stretching things just a tad, because the A's got Joe Valentine from the White Sox and then shipped him to the Reds for 45 games of Jose Guillen, but they also had to include Aaron Harang and another pitcher in the deal. Still, even if you ignore Guillen (he wasn't that good in Oakland anyway), I think the A's did pretty well here.

Foulke was phenomenal for them last year, the best closer in the AL, and Durham was very good for them down the stretch in 2002.

When Durham signed with the Giants, they got the #26 and #33 picks in the 2003 draft, which they used to select Brian Snyder and Omar Quintanilla. Snyder is a third baseman who is hitting .306/.415/.470 at Single-A, and Omar Quintanilla is a shortstop who is hitting .265/.330/.415 at Single-A.

Then, when Foulke signed with the Red Sox this past offseason, the A's got two more picks as compensation, #24 and #36 in next week's draft.

So, basically, for Billy Koch, Jon Adkins, Daylan Holt and Neal Cotts, the A's got a full season of Foulke, a half-season of Durham, some amount of Guillen, and then Brian Snyder, Omar Quintanilla and the #24 and #36 picks in this upcoming draft.

Meanwhile, Koch has been horrible for the White Sox, Adkins is nothing more than a replacement-level arm, and Daylan Holt doesn't strike me as much of a prospect. On the other hand, Neal Cotts isn't a bad young pitcher and I think he'll have a nice career, but even the biggest White Sox fan in the world would have to admit that Beane made out like a bandit here.

The 9th and 10th innings yesterday afternoon (as well as the game last Tuesday, in which Cotts served up the game-winning homer to none other than Bobby Kielty) are just icing on the cake, and as a Twins fan I couldn't be happier.

New article at The Hardball Times: The Magic Twenty (Right Field)

Today's picks:

Tampa Bay (Hendrickson) +165 over Minnesota (Santana)

Toronto (Batista) +160 over Oakland (Zito)

Total to date: -$1,350

W/L record: 74-96 (1-1 yesterday for -20. It was almost 2-0 for +230, but Pedro and his bullpen ruined that.)

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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