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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winter meetings over before winter? Is so much player movement good?

And how can you tell with much of the"live" commentary repeated for days.  As we know there was a flurry of activity at the end.  We all got wrapped up in it, even I did, despite my preference for a system in which there is at least reasonable continuity.  I also oppose trades during the season.

The two big young talents were both locked up with long term contracts before the meetings: the Angels signed Mike Tout and the Marlins signed Giancarlo Stanton.  The big free agents this fall were:
- Nelson Cruz, the only player with 40 home runs in 2014
- Max Scherzer, starting pitcher
- Jon Lester, starting pitcher.

The Oakland fans really got their team dismantled.  Cubs fans are happy but we Yankee fans are not.  Some teams were very active: Dodgers.  Some did little: Orioles.  For every winner, there's a loser.  That applies to fans.

Should Oakland have fired the manager and kept its best player, Josh Donaldson?  Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The eleven game gap between expected and actual Oakland wins was by far the biggest deficit of any 2014 tournament team.  Such a gap usually suggests bad luck and/or bad managing.  Either way you would stay with your players...

This reminds me a bit of this infamous trade: Rocky Colavito April 17, 1960: traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn.

In 1959 Colavito had tied Harmon Killebrew of the Washington Senators for most home runs in the American League (AL) with 42.  Colavito was the young 25 year old star of the Cleveland Indians.  Colavito's 1959 batting average (BA) had dropped to .257 from .303 in 1958 when he finished one behind Mickey Mantle for most homers: 42-41; Mantle had two inside the park homers.  Colavito was a rising star.

28 year old Harvey Kuenn had the highest 1959 AL BA: .353.  Cleveland GM Frank "Trader" Lane was responsible for removing Cleveland's star player.  Have Cleveland's fans recovered?  What Cleveland player has superseded Colavito as a home grown fan favorite?  GMs seem to never consider fan interest in players.  Oakland fans must have developed a bond with Donaldson even after only two years as a regular.  With Donaldson removed with no comparable player in exchange, how will Oakland fans bond with a clearly inferior third baseman received and some nameless minor league players?  This reminds me of the Yankees trading Rickey Henderson: June 21, 1989: traded by the New York Yankees to the Oakland Athletics for Greg Cadaret, Eric Plunk and Luis Polonia.

The lesson I learned: never trade a somebody for a bunch of nobodies.  Josh Donaldson was somebody in Oakland.  And who was the manager and who will remember the manager's name in two years?  Billy Beane, I guess.
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So this is not new but there seems to be more of it even accounting for the number of teams increasing from 16 in 1960 to 30 in 2014.
Sandy Alomar, Sr.
Sandy Alomar was a middle infielder who played from 1964 through 1978.  By 1988 he was a coach for the San Diego Padres (83-78).  His two sons joined the team that year: catcher Sandy Alomar, Jr. and second baseman Roberto Alomar.

Roberto Alomar December 5, 1990: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Joe Carter to the Toronto Blue Jays for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff.

Sandy Alomar, Jr. December 6, 1989: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Carlos Baerga and Chris James to the Cleveland Indians for Joe Carter.

The brothers were later teammates with two additional teams:
1988 San Diego Padres
1989 San Diego Padres
1999 Cleveland Indians
2000 Cleveland Indians
2003 Chicago White Sox
2004 Chicago White Sox

The Padres had three people from the same family, a coach and two promising young players and traded the two brothers on consecutive days after only two seasons with San Diego.  I'd have thought there would have been fan interest in the family.

Sandy, Jr. hardly played for San Diego: 8 games in those two years.  San Diego obviously preferred Benito Santiago, a year older than Sandy, Jr.  Sandy, Jr. played 1,377 games, 1,324 at catcher. OPS+ 86.  Rookie of the year with Cleveland in 1990.  All Star six times.

Roberto was the regular San Diego second baseman those two years with OPS+ 105, 107.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

I'm not going to try to analyze whether these were good trades.  The point is that the family connection did not seem to enter into it.  Fan loyalty to the people who are the team did not seem to have been considered.  Without that, what do we fans have?

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