The Golden Rule: Beware of Trades Within Division
May 20, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics first base coach Tye Waller (46) talks with Houston Astros third base coachGary Pettis
(10) at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
As it stands right now, The Oakland A’s are 10.5 games back of your AL West division leaders, the Houston Astros. Now this may seem like a pretty large lead, but in the grand scheme of the season, it’s really not.
Billy Beane, the General Manager of the Athletics, knows better than anyone that a team can get hot right before or after the All-Star break and that momentum can carry them into a postseason push through August and September. Plus, there are some studies that say the Oakland A’s are greatly underperforming so far this season.
There have been debates for decades now about trading within your own division and whether there really should be a negative stigma around it. In my opinion, it really depends on the scenario.
For example, back when the Astros traded Jed Lowrie to Oakland in February of 2013, I thought it was the right move at the right time in Houston. GM Jeff Luhnow liked Lowrie, but was trying to revamp the minor league system while adding some pieces at the major league level, and really wasn’t leaving anyone off the market. That was a move made long before the season had begun before a division race had even started.
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If the Astros would have traded for Scott Kazmir this past offseason, I probably would have been alright with the move. But now, in the middle of July, I think it’s way too dicey. First of all, I think the price would be a little steeper right now. If we’re going to have to dish out some seriously talented prospects, we should probably wait until the waters calm down a bit. We don’t want to let Mark Appel, Domingo Santana, or Brett Phillips become regular Astros killers down the road if we don’t have to let them go.
Also, why rent Scott Kazmir for some prospects, even if they aren’t top-tier when he’ll be a free agent in just a few months. The Astros don’t want to see some of their prospects playing against them when they can get Kazmir in a few months without giving anyone up. And if you’re going to trade major league guys for Kazmir, you don’t want them to be a part of the unforgettable Oakland Athletics run in August and September that knocks the Astros out of first place and out of the playoffs. Not that I want that to happen, but this is baseball, and we all know that nothing is out of the question in today’s game.
Next: Kazmir Historically Better in First Half