Clippard traded to Mets for Meisner
LOS ANGELES -- The A's parted with their closer on Monday, sending right-hander Tyler Clippard to the Mets in a deal that netted them more young talent.
This time, general manager Billy Beane landed right-handed starter Casey Meisner, four days after dealing lefty Scott Kazmir to Houston for catcher Jacob Nottingham and pitcher Daniel Mengden. All three have been assigned to Class A Advanced Stockton, reflecting the organization's newfound long-term emphasis.
"We were very happy to get Casey," Beane said. "[He's] a guy that we think is going to be a starter all the way through and a guy we liked out of the Draft.
"One of our focuses here, even as it relates to the Kazmir deal and this deal, was really focusing on some guys that are maybe a little farther away but maybe had a little more upside, which is not necessarily how we've approached things in the more recent past."
Beane is perennially competitive. His teams have finished at .500 or above in 11 of the previous 15 seasons, with at least 90 wins in eight of them. The A's have played in the postseason eight times since Beane took over following the 1997 seasons.
But with Oakland's 2015 team floundering to the tune of a 44-56 record, and little help in the upper levels of the Minors on hand, Beane is veering directions, no longer planning simply for the short term -- in part, he says, because of growing optimism about getting a new ballpark at some point.
"I think, ultimately, if we're going to have some sustained success, it's going to have to really be done organically, and with a large group of players coming through," Beane said. "It may take a bit longer, but hopefully you're able to hold on to them a bit longer. And understand, too, we're all hopeful and optimistic of our venue situation changing sometime in the near future, and if it does, then this is probably the best approach anyway."
In Meisner, the A's get a 6-foot-7, 20-year-old starting pitcher who was drafted in the third-round by the Mets in 2013. He began this season at Class A Savannah, and went 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 12 starts, earning a June promotion to Class A Advanced St. Lucie, where he went 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA in six starts.
The A's also chipped in cash in the deal to offset what remains of the $8.3 million owed Clippard, who posted a 2.79 ERA across 38 2/3 innings and converted 17 of 21 save opportunities for Oakland.
With Clippard out of the mix, a patchwork A's bullpen that has been without Sean Doolittle (left shoulder strain) for much of the season has a handful of ninth-inning options to evaluate -- that includes left-handers Drew Pomeranz and Eric O'Flaherty, and right-hander Edward Mujica.
The latter two, like Kazmir and Clippard, are free agents at season's end, so they could also be had in a trade this week. But most eyes will be on super utility man Ben Zobrist, who is expected to be out the door next. The Mets, Royals and Nationals are among a multitude of clubs believed to be in play for the veteran.
Chances are, the return for Zobrist will also bring about long-term help. Beane, on Monday, pointed to the Astros' work in recent years as a model of what could play out in Oakland.
"The Houston Astros have done a really good job of spending the last three or four years really creating a dynamic farm system, and they're now starting to reap the rewards of that," Beane said.
"If we're ever going to compete, we're probably going to have to take a somewhat similar approach and at least make sure we've got young players that are coming through the system that will be here for a few years.
"They're going to be a really good club for a long, long time, and they've had their growing pains, but you're starting to see it come together. They're only going to be a more challenging club for us going forward because of the phenomenal job they've done, which is one of the reasons we were able to make a deal with Kazmir. They have such a deep farm system."