Deadline Dandies: Best Deals In A's History

With the trade deadline two weeks away it seems like a good time to look at previous mid-summer trades that have helped the Oakland A's. Todd Morgan looked at transactions from 1968 through 2005 to find the best five examples of midseason wheeling and dealing, and inside he has listed the best five, along with a few honorable mentions.

5. (TIE) 2002: A's trade RHP Jon Adkins to the White Sox for 2B Ray Durham; IF Marshall McDougall to Cleveland for LHP Ricardo Rincon

Two examples of getting something for nothing, both of these 2002 Billy Beane Specials added players who wound up playing significant roles for the playoff-bound A's. While Adkins has a career 4.67 ERA in 108 big league innings and McDougall has three hits and 10 strikeouts in 18 career ABs, Durham posted an .806 OPS in 54 games down the stretch for the A's. His spark at the top of lineup gave Oakland the table-setter it lacked, and he was arguably the team's best hitter in the playoffs (.333/.417/.762).

Leads Durham helped build were a lot safer with Ricardo Rincon coming out of the bullpen as a situational lefty. Acquired a day before the trade deadline, Rincon gave the A's 20 1/3 quality innings, allowing only 11 hits to go with a 19/3 K/BB and 3.10 ERA.

4. 2000: A's send RHP Jesus Colome to Tampa Bay for RHP Jim Mecir and LHP Todd Belitz

As good as Ricardo Rincon was in relief down the stretch in 2002, Jim Mecir might have been even better in 2000. Called on 25 times after coming over from the Devil Rays on July 28th, Mecir pitched 35 1/3 innings for Oakland, allowing 35 hits and posting a 2.80 ERA. His K/9 was 9.43, including impressive work in a late September series against rival Seattle, when the A's took three of four at Safeco Field.

3. 1999: A's get 2B Randy Velarde and RHP Omar Olivares from the Anaheim Angels for OF Jeff Davanon, RHP Elvin Nina and OF Nathan Haynes

I still see July 29, 1999 as the day the Oakland A's completed the shift from also-ran to perennial contender. That season would prove to be the team's first winning season since 1992, and Billy Beane's deadline acquisition of Randy Velarde and Omar Olivares served notice that the rebuilding was over. The A's were officially about winning.

Along with the offensive spark he brought to the table (.333/.401/.478 with seven homers and 11 steals in 255 ABs), Velarde plugged a hole at 2B that had been shared among Tony Phillips, Scott Spezio and Jorge Velandia.

Olivares was a solid addition to the back of Oakland's rotation, going 7-2 in 12 starts with a 4.34 ERA in 74 2/3 innings.

2. 2001: A's send LHP Todd Belitz, 2B Jose Ortiz and OF Mario Encarnacion to the Colorado Rockies for Neifi Perez, then trade Perez to the Kansas City Royals for OF Jermaine Dye

Notice to all MLB general managers: This is what you want to do when you make a deal at the trading deadline. Looking for the last piece to realize the incredible potential of the 2001 A's offense, Billy Beane rolled the dice and traded Ortiz and Encarnacion – two of the organization's most heralded prospects since Steve Karsay and Todd Van Poppel – to acquire right fielder Jermaine Dye. At the time of the trade the A's were only seven games over .500 and sat five games behind in the Wild Card race. With Dye driving in nearly a run a game (59 RBI in 61 games while hitting .297/.366/.547), the A's finished the season on a 48-13 run, running away with the Wild Card by 17 games.

1. 1989: A's get OF Rickey Henderson from the New York Yankees for OF Luis Polonia, LHP Greg Cadaret and RHP Eric Plunk

Polonia's greatest claim to fame was being accused of statutory rape after being caught with a 15 year-old girl at the team's hotel. Plunk and Caderet had serviceable post-Oakland careers, but nothing any of the New York-bound trio did could match even half of what Henderson brought to the A's in 1989. In 85 games, Rickey hit .294/.425/.438 with 13 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 35 RBI. He was out of his mind on the base paths, stealing 52 bases in 58 attempts (90%) and scoring 72 runs. Once October hit, Henderson kicked it up a notch, totaling 15 hits in 34 ABs (.441) against Toronto and San Francisco to go with a .558 OBP and .941 SLG. He scored 12 times and stole 11 bases, including eight against the Blue Jays that drove Toronto catcher Ernie Whitt into a whining frenzy.

To this day there isn't a single midseason trade in the history of the game that had a bigger impact than this one.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

1999: A's acquire OF Terrence Long and LHP Leo Vasquez from the New York Mets for LHP Kenny Rogers

Long didn't give the A's anything in 1999, but he did make a run at Rookie of the Year honors in 2000, when he hit .288/.336/.452 with 18 homers and 80 RBI while playing a passable centerfield. Ridding themselves of clubhouse pain Kenny Rogers didn't hurt the team either.

1999: A's trade three RHPs – Blake Stein, Jeff D'Amico and Brad Rigby – to the Kansas City Royals for RHP Kevin Appier

Appier took the place of Kenny Rogers in the A's rotation, and though his numbers were not up to par for a perceived ace (7-5, 53/33 K/BB in 68 2/3 innings over 12 starts), he fit in better with the team and likely relieved a lot of clubhouse tension by simply not being Kenny Rogers.

2000: Signed Mike Stanley as a free agent

The surprise move on the list, the A's signed Stanley on August 4th of 2000. He proceeded to hit .268/.363/.464 with seven doubles, four homers and 18 RBI in 97 ABs split between 1B and DH. He retired at the end of the season after giving the A's a great shot in the arm down the stretch.

1974: A's send Blue Moon Odom to the Cleveland Indians for RHPs Dick Bosman and Jim Perry

Perry didn't do much despite allowing only 61 hits in 67 2/3 innings. In 15 games (11 starts) he was 3-4 with a 4.66 ERA. Bosman was effective though, going 11-4 with a 3.52 ERA in 21 starts.

1971: A's get 1B Mike Epstein and LHP Darold Knowles from the Washington Senators for C Frank Fernandez, 1B Don Mincher and LHP Paul Lindblad

Epstein hit a weak .234 but contributed 18 homers and 51 RBI in 104 games, while Knowles finished 21 games for the A's, going 5-2 with a seven saves, a 40/16 K/BB and 3.59 ERA in 52 2/3 innings.


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