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.