Sunny Side of the Chequamegon Bay

I’m an A’s fan, and one thing A’s fans love to do more than anything is to brag about our GM.

We can’t gloat about our attendance (third worst in the AL) or our playoff prowess (four first-round exits in a row and an embarrassing sweep from the ALCS two years ago). We can’t even brag about our players on the field, as the A’s are a starless bunch that can’t stay healthy. The only thing we can pound our chests and say is, “Billy Beane is a smart dude! Ha! In your FACE!”

And we love to point out when Billy outsmarts another GM. Kenny Williams, for awhile at least, was one of our favorite targets.

First he got Moneyball notoriety for the Chad Bradford trade, and then came that laugher of a trade that sent Billy Koch to the Sox for the supposedly washed-up Keith Foulke. Ah yes, it was easy to point and laugh at Kenny and the White Sox, saying, “Ha ha – gotcha!”

But then, came the 2005 season. Yes, the ultimate “Ha ha – gotcha” is winning the World Series. But even more ultimater than that? Winning it all with an outfielder off the Billy Beane scrapheap and getting a World Series MVP out of him. Ouch.

So when Billy and Kenny made a deal again this past winter, my first impression was “Ha ha – gotcha again, Kenny!” Of course, I was in the minority with my fellow A’s fans, as Nick Swisher was about as fan favorite as it gets in Oakland.

Yes, he’s a charismatic dude who has a charity called Swish’s Wishes, smiles a lot, hits home runs and walks a lot. But when you can get three good prospects for one semi-star, I’d usually be for it.

And three months into 2008, I’m kinda right:

Nick Swisher: .237/.352/.412
Ryan Sweeney: .296/.350/.397

Swisher has a slight edge in OBP and slugging percentage, but it’s very close – too close if you’re the White Sox. Remember, there’s a couple guys in the A’s minor league system that came in this deal as well (though one is out with Tommy John surgery and the other is flailing in Triple-A, but that’s beside the point).

Yes, it’s a small sample size and we may not know who officially gets the gotcha in this deal for a few more years. But I do know that if Sweeney outplays Swisher this weekend I might just cackle a little bit and let out an early “Gotcha.”

Happy 4th of July and go A’s!!


Kelly TerBest blogs regularly about the Oakland A’s at Athletics for Life. She lives in Wisconsin, but left her heart twelve miles northeast of San Francisco.

3 thoughts on “Sunny Side of the Chequamegon Bay”

  1. Well, DLS is seriously injured and Gio has been absolutely horrible in AAA this year. Sweeney is pretty much the only thing to go right from the A’s perspective — so far at least.

    Swisher has been heating up lately and I have no doubt he’ll finish with his typical 260/370/475 line and give the Sox the versatility of a being able to play an average CF and a good 1B and corner outfield.

    KW has more resources at his disposal then Beane, and that is what makes Beane probably the best GM in the game and KW just one of the better ones (I’m thinking somewhere in the top 10), but there is a reason these guys both keep trading together: both feel like they are getting good deals.

    KW is by nature a gunslinger, a risk taker. With a 100 million to play around with he can afford to take some risks (See, Dye, Jermaine and Thome, Jim) that Beane can’t. I give Beane all the credit in the world for running a consitantly good team out there on a paltry payroll — but to paint KW as some imbecile next to Beane is silly.

  2. I’m not calling Kenny an imbecile – far from it. Maybe I did after the Koch/Foulke deal but certainly not after ’05.

    If DLS comes back OK and Gio gets back on track then… maybe. (I kid, I kid)

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