A's stay busy right through Winter Meetings
General manager Beane completes two additional trades during short stay
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- He arrived late and left early, but Billy Beane's stay at the Winter Meetings was nonetheless productive.
Oakland's general manager, who isn't so much a fan of an overly chaotic work environment that's typically standard of this yearly event, appeared to have most of his offseason to-do list crossed off in advance of his trip to the Sunshine State.
Then, Beane made two more trades, all in two days' work.
Going back to the previous week, Beane orchestrated five trades in nine days, if you've lost count. Plus, he signed Scott Kazmir to a two-year, $22 million deal along the way to put his A's in position to defend their American League West title.
In adding to his club in the confines of the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort this week, Beane naturally had to do some subtracting. Fan favorites Brett Anderson and Jerry Blevins were lost in the process, with Anderson going to the Rockies on Tuesday and Blevins departing for Washington on Wednesday.
In exchange for Anderson, the A's reeled in two other pitchers: former Indians first-round Draft pick Drew Pomeranz and Minor League right-hander Chris Jensen. Blevins netted them speedy outfielder Billy Burns, who stole 74 bases in 81 attempts between Class A and Double-A this year.
Those moves follow what was perhaps one of the busiest weeks of Beane's 16-year tenure at the helm.
Within 48 hours, the A's traded for closer Jim Johnson, relievers Luke Gregerson and Josh Lindblom and outfielder Craig Gentry, and inked Kazmir to a deal. In doing so, the club replaced all of its key free agents: All-Stars Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour, along with outfielder Chris Young.
"We wanted to replace a starting pitcher and closer, and a right-handed hitting outfielder, and we did all that in the last 10 days," said assistant general manager David Forst. "Moving Jerry wasn't exactly on our radar, but we did deal from a position of strength once we added Gregerson and Johnson. We feel good about everything we set out to do."
Beane's crafty maneuverings prompted agent Scott Boras to say this at the Winter Meetings: "Remember, Billy Beane is the master of goulash. You never know what's in it. You just know it's good at the end of the year. The idea of it is, and the way Billy works, is that he adds different things to his goulash every year, so he operates on a different level."
Deals done: Acquired Pomeranz and Minor Leaguer Jensen from the Rockies in exchange for Anderson. Traded Blevins to the Nationals for Minor Leaguer Burns.
Rule 5 Draft activity: Even though they have an open spot on their 40-man roster, the A's took a pass in the Major League phase. However, they didn't walk away empty-handed, taking right-hander Tim Atherton from Minnesota's Double-A roster in the Minor League portion.
Goals accomplished: Their Major League roster mostly set for 2014, the A's sought to add to other areas of the organization, doing just that with their acquisitions this week. They're wait-and-see propositions, but the club sees upside in each player. Bringing in Burns was particularly significant in the aftermath of outfield prospect Michael Choice's departure to Texas as part of the Gentry trade.
Unfinished business: It would appear the A's are one of few teams who don't have any, despite there being two months of the offseason left. Oakland managed to complete all of its work before the holidays, and any moves that follow will likely be minor.
Team's bottom line: "We had targets and hit them and tried not to waste too much time here," Forst said.