Deadline Dandy

Starting with former GM Sandy Alderson, the Oakland A's have built a tradition of being active around the Major League Baseball trade deadline. Current GM Billy Beane has become famous for his deadline dealings. Melissa Lockard takes a look back at some of Beane's past deadline deals.

Since Billy Beane took over the reigns of the A's front office from Sandy Alderson in 1998, the star of the book "Moneyball" has made a habit of making trades around the July 31 trade deadline to shore up his team in time for a run at the playoffs. Beane's most recent deal, trading for Houston closer Octavio Dotel, is similar to many of his past deadline deals, in that it involved a player (in this case Carlos Beltran) who was being heavily pursued by many large market teams. This deal is also reminiscent of some past deals in that it involved more then one team. In the seasons in which the A's have been a contender under Beane's reign, the A's GM has made 11 trades around the deadline. Here is a look back at the 10 previous deals and how they affected the A's chances for the playoffs:

1. Friday, July 23, 1999
The Mets obtain P Kenny Rogers from the Athletics for OF Terrence Long and P Leoner Vasquez.

Billy Beane's first deadline deal was initially viewed as a sign that the A's did not intend to make a push for the playoffs that season. Kenny Rogers was the A's best starting pitcher and the A's only netted two minor league prospects for Rogers. As it turned out, this deal was a masterstroke, as Rogers was unhappy in the A's clubhouse and was later replaced in the rotation by Kevin Appier (see deal number 3) and Terrence Long was one of the A's most important players during their playoff runs in 2000 and 2001. Although Long's star eventually faded, his contributions during his first two seasons were well worth three months of the services of Kenny Rogers, who did not re-sign with the Mets in the off-season. The second prospect the A's received in the deal, Leoner Vasquez, never made it to the major leagues.

Impact on the Playoff Run for 1999

Minimal. Rogers's loss was off-set by the acquisition of Kevin Appier and Long did not play with the A's until 2000.

2. Thursday, July 29, 1999
The Athletics obtain P Omar Olivares and IF Randy Velarde from the Angels in exchange for P Elvin Nina and outfielders Jeff DaVanon and Nathan Haynes.

Billy Beane quickly erased all doubts that he intended to push for the A's to make the playoffs when he made a blockbuster deal with Anaheim, receiving veteran starting pitcher Omar Olivares and veteran secondbaseman Randy Velarde. Olivares would go 7-2 for the A's the rest of the season, helping them push towards the division title. He would fade, however, in 2000 and eventually was replaced in the rotation by a rookie pitcher named Barry Zito. Velarde also played well for the A's after the trade, hitting .333 with a .401 OBP and seven homeruns. He also solidified the infield defense for the A's that season. Velarde would play well for the team in 2000, posting a .278 BA with 12 homeruns. Velarde would be traded the next off-season for Aaron Harang, who would help the A's in another deadline deal (see deal #10). Velarde would return to Oakland as a free agent in 2002, although his contributions were somewhat limited that season by injuries and ineffectiveness. Nathan Haynes and Elvin Nina were highly thought of at the time of the trade, but haven't yet panned out with the Angels. Jeff DaVanon ended up being a solid pick-up for Anaheim, however, as he has been extremely productive for the Angels over the past two seasons.

Impact on the Playoff Run for 1999

High. Olivares and Velarde not only played well for the A's during the stretch run, but they also gave confidence to a young team competing for the division title for the first time. Although the A's fell short of Texas that season, this trade (in combination with the Kevin Appier trade two days later) had a large impact on the franchise in that it sent a strong signal to the team and to its fans that the A's intended to be playoff contenders for years to come.

3 and 4. Saturday, July 31, 1999
The Athletics nab sought-after ace Kevin Appier from the Royals for pitchers Brad Rigby, Blake Stein and Jeff D'Amico.
The Mets obtain closer Billy Taylor from the A's for pitchers Jason Isringhausen and Greg McMichael.

Billy Beane made a pair of deals on deadline day in 1999. One trade was for the present and the other for the future. Beane's acquisition of righthander Kevin Appier raised eyebrows all over baseball, as Appier was, at the time, the most coveted pitcher on the trading block. In the first of a number of deals between Beane and Royals' GM Allan Baird, the A's were able to pick up a front-end rotation workhorse pitcher for a trio of prospects who never really paid off for Kansas City. Appier did not perform at the level the A's hoped he would in 1999, as he posted a mediocre 7-5 record with an ERA over 5.00 in his first season with the team. Appier did pay dividends in 2000, however, as he won 15 games and ate up a lot of innings for the A's. He signed a large contract with the NY Mets after the 2000 season and eventually was traded to the Anaheim Angels and helped them win a World Series title in 2002. He was released by Anaheim last year and is now back in Kansas City, rehabbing from arm surgery.

The second deal Beane made on deadline day 1999 was a trade that helped the A's in future division races. That deal involved swapping veteran closer Billy Taylor to the Mets for a young starter named Jason Isringhausen. Isringhausen had been one of the Mets' top prospects, but he had struggled with arm ailments and had not lived up to his potential. The A's immediately took Izzy out of the rotation and into the back of the bullpen, where he immediately found success. He closed out 8 games for the A's in 1999 and then posted over 30 saves for Oakland in each of the next two seasons. Isringhausen struggled at times as the closer for the A's, but he was lights out in the playoffs, where he converted every save opportunity the A's handed him. Isringhausen eventually bolted for St. Louis, where his success has been tempered somewhat by arm troubles. Billy Taylor melted under the hot New York spotlight and is now out of baseball.

Impact on the Playoff Run for 1999

Minimal. Although these trades made a big splash, the combined efforts of Appier and Isringhausen had a greater affect on the 2000 playoff run then they did on the race in 1999.

5. Friday, July 28, 2000
The Athletics obtain pitchers Jim Mecir and Todd Belitz from the Devil Rays in exchange for P Jesus Colome and a player to be named.

In the only deadline deal Billy Beane made this season, the A's acquired reliever Jim Mecir from Tampa Bay for hard-throwing righthanded reliever Jesus Colome. At the time, some experts believed that the A's overpaid for Mecir, as Colome projected to he an excellent closer. However, Colome has spent the past four years shuttling between the major and minor leagues, as he has battled control problems. Mecir was extremely effective for the A's during the stretch run, posting a 2.80 ERA. He stepped in for a short time as the A's closer, while Isringhausen worked through a struggle period. Mecir collected 4 saves in that role. Mecir was an important clog in the A's bullpen in 2001, as well. Injuries, however, have rendered Mecir ineffective for much of the past two seasons. Todd Belitz, whom the A's also received from Tampa Bay, was shipped to Colorado the next season in the Jermaine Dye deal (see deal #6).

Impact on the Playoff Run for 2000

High. Mecir strengthened an inconsistent bullpen and also gave Manager Art Howe a reliable back-up for closer Jason Isringhausen when Izzy struggled.

6. Tuesday, July 24, 2001
In a 3–way deal, the A's obtain OF Jermaine Dye from the Royals, the Royals get SS Neifi Perez from the Rockies, and the Rockies get 2B Jose Ortiz, OF Mario Encarnacion, and P Todd Belitz from the A's.

In perhaps Billy Beane's most famous deal, the A's again shocked baseball experts by obtaining the most coveted player on the market, Jermaine Dye. Dye, a five-tool outfielder, was a year and a half away from free agency, but was already starting to get too expensive for the small market Royals. In his second three-team deal of the season (Beane had completed a deal for Johnny Damon in the off-season), the A's GM sent prospects Jose Ortiz, Mario Encarnacion and Todd Belitz to Colorado in exchange for Dye, whom the Rockies had obtained for shortstop Neifi Perez. Ortiz, who was the PCL MVP in 2000, had fizzled in his major league trial earlier that season, and the A's brass had soured on him as a prospect. He did make it to the show but never put together a consistent stroke and ended up playing in Japan. Encarnacion was a much bally-hooed prospect, but he couldn't stay healthy. Mario ended up aging during the "visa fiascos of 2002" and never made an impact in the major leagues.

Dye, on the other hand, made a major impact on the ballclub. He joined a team that had struggled all season to find some semblance of consistency. Dye slipped into the 4th spot in the batting order and quickly transformed the A's offense into one of the most explosive offenses in the major leagues. In 61 games, Dye hit 13 homeruns and drove in 59 runs. He unfortunately broke his leg in the division series against the Yankees and struggled for much of 2002 and 2003 to regain his All-Star form. However, so far in 2004, Dye has played extremely well and has played a large role in keeping the team afloat during the absence of Eric Chavez.

Impact on the Playoff Run for 2001

Extremely High. Without a doubt Jermaine Dye was one of the best late-season acquisitions Billy Beane has ever made. It is doubtful that the A's would have made the playoffs that season if Dye hadn't joined the team. This trade also cemented Beane's place in the minds of even the most casual baseball fans as a wheeling and dealing genius.

7. Friday, July 5, 2002
The Yankees obtain P Jeff Weaver from the Tigers in a 3–team deal. NY sends P Ted Lilly to the Oakland A's while the Athletics send IF Carlos Pena to Detroit. The Tigers also acquire P Franklyn German and a player to be named from Oakland, while the A's get OF John–Ford Griffin and P Jason Arnold from New York.

The full scope of this trade is yet to be fully realized. Billy Beane once again positioned himself to be involved in a deal for the most coveted player on the trading block. Unlike with Dye, however, Beane elected to ship Jeff Weaver to another team in order to get the player he most coveted: Ted Lilly. In the process, Beane also acquired two highly regarded prospects, John-Ford Griffin and Jason Arnold. To get Weaver from Detroit, however, Beane had to give up Carlos Pena -- who had begun the season as the A's firstbaseman, but was sent down in May after an extended slump -- Jeremy Bonderman, a young starting pitching prospect whom the A's had drafted the previous year, and Franklyn German, a hard-throwing minor league reliever. The principals in the deal – Weaver, Lilly and Pena – all had disappointing campaigns for their new teams. Lilly missed much of the rest of the season with injuries and then was hit hard in the playoffs. He had a strong final month of 2003, however, and was outstanding in the playoffs that year. He was then traded in the off-season for outfielder Bobby Kielty, who has also struggled since joining the A's. Jeff Weaver's tenure in New York was a huge disaster, as he was consistently pounded by American League hitters and was, at times, visibly shaken by the tough New York crowds. He was eventually moved to the LA Dodgers in exchange for Kevin Brown. Carlos Pena is still struggling to find consistency for the Tigers. Like Lilly, Pena has had stretches of success, but he still has yet to be able to cut down on his strikeouts and, at times, becomes lackadaisical with the glove.

The most "successful" parts of the trade for any of the teams involved lesser known prospects Bonderman, German, Arnold and Ford-Griffin. Bonderman jumped all the way to the big leagues in 2003 and, while he has struggled at times, has shown great promise that he could be an ace of the Tigers staff for years to come. German has bounced back and forth between the majors and AAA, but has appeared to have ironed out his control issues this season. If he can throw strikes, he is still likely to contribute to the Tigers bullpen. Arnold and Ford-Griffin made little contributions to the A's while they were with the organization, but they were traded to Toronto as part of the Erubiel Durazo deal in December of 2002.

Impact on the Playoff Run for 2002

Minimal. Lilly hardly pitched for the A's in 2002 and was generally ineffective when he did pitch. He made two appearances in the playoffs in 2002 and was ineffective in both outings.

8. Thursday, July 25, 2002
The Athletics obtain 2B Ray Durham from the White Sox in exchange for Triple–A P Jon Adkins.

Billy Beane was once again able to boost the A's offense with his acquisition of Ray Durham from the Chicago White Sox. Durham, a potential free agent, was essentially given away by the White Sox for a AAA starter, Jon Adkins, who had little upside. Durham sparked the A's run to the playoffs, giving the offense a burst of speed and power at the top of the order. He grumbled a little bit about not playing secondbase every day, but was generally a positive contribution to the A's clubhouse. Durham was one of the A's best hitters in the 2002 playoffs. He signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent over the next off-season. The A's struggled for much of 2003 to find comparable production in the leadoff spot that they received from Durham in 2002.

Impact on the Playoff Run for 2002

High. Durham was an important cog in the A's line-up during their remarkable second half of the season in 2002. His contributions were felt throughout the 20 game winning streak.

9. Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Ricardo Rincon traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Oakland Athletics for Marshall McDougall (minors).

In what has become a theme of Beane's deadline trades, the A's GM shored up his team's bullpen with the acquisition of lefty specialist Ricardo Rincon. The acquisition of Rincon came in the middle of the A's series with Rincon's former team, the Cleveland Indians, and came a day after the bullpen contributed to a demoralizing 8-6 loss, where the A's had held a large lead going into the 6th inning. Rincon was very effective for the A's throughout the 2002 season and for much of the 2003 season. He struggled a bit with his command in the beginning of 2003, and wore down in the playoffs, where he allowed two back-breaking homeruns to Todd Walker. Thus far in 2004, Rincon has been a huge disappointment, but he is still one of the best at getting out lefthanded hitters.

Impact on the Playoff Run for 2002

Medium. Rincon brought balance to a bullpen which had seen three lefty relievers fail to hold down their jobs earlier in the season.

10. Wednesday, July 30, 2003
The Oakland Athletics bulked up their outfield by getting Jose Guillen from the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday for right-hander Aaron Harang, Joe Valentine and Jeff Bruksch.

In 2003, Beane found his hands tied a bit, as there weren't many options available to him both to trade on his own team and to target for a trade on another team. Beane made one deal, acquiring outfielder Jose Guillen from the Reds in exchange for starter Aaron Harang and two minor leaguers. Guillen was a bit of a reach for the A's, as he was experiencing his first extended taste of success at the major league level. His production tailed off when he got to the A's and he suffered a broken hamate bone, which he then had to play with for the last month or so of the season. However, the addition of Guillen, while not a blockbuster, was significant enough that it may have help to demoralize the A's biggest challenger in the AL West, the Seattle Mariners. A number of Mariners' players were critical of their front office when the A's acquired a big bat like Guillen while the Mariners' only acquisition was Rey Sanchez. Guillen hit the ball well in the playoffs in 2003, although his baserunning errors may have cost the team a chance to win the series. He signed a big contract with Anaheim in the off-season and is currently performing at the high level he was in Cincinnati. Aaron Harang has been fairly successful in the Reds rotation, although he is currently on the disabled list. Valentine has made two appearance for the Reds this season and has been very ineffective.

Impact on the Playoff Run for 2003

Medium. Although Guillen himself didn't produce a tremendous amount of offense upon his arrival, he did seem to add a spark to the A's offense. He also added a component to the A's outfield defense by exhibiting a remarkably strong arm in leftfield. Teams were unwilling to run on him, even in the playoffs.

Comments or questions? Email Melissa Lockard at

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