After sweeping the Giants this past weekend, the A's stand three games out of the AL West lead, and two games out of the wild card. But don't get any big ideas, the A's will have to face the Diamondbacks' 1-2 punch, Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, in the next two games, so that sweep might get cancelled out pretty quickly. Nonetheless, the A's competitiveness this season after the big firesale this winter has been a surprise to almost everyone.
How'd that happen? Well, just look the 2008 major league performances of from the two trades. The Dan Haren trade:
Dan Haren: 6-4, 3.41 ERA
Dana Eveland: 5-5, 3.56 ERA
Greg Smith: 4-5, 3.62 ERA
Carlos Gonzalez: .263/.288/.404
Nick Swisher trade:
Nick Swisher: .219/.335/.369
Ryan Sweeney: .294/.349/.397
Sweeney has been outperforming Swisher, and you could argue that Gonzalez is doing so, as well. Eveland and Smith haven't outperformed Haren, but they're both putting up as good an imitation as you can reasonably expect. So in each case, the A's have taken a player at his peak, and replaced him with two younger players performing at just about the same level. A-a-a-a-a-a-nd, got five other prospects in the process.
So clearly, these were great deals for the A's. Not that the DBacks and the Chisox can complain too much, either: they're both in first place.
Meanwhile, up in Seattle not so much. What will the AL West be like when we can't count on the other teams to make stupid, counterproductive moves? If and when that happens, I suppose the A's will have to counter the non-stupidness of their division rivals by finally getting a stadium with competitive revenue streams. I'll have more on that thought later in the week...
Finally, here's a weird picture I took of a promo for Tuesday's A's-Diamondbacks game. To me, it's like one of those what-do-you-see, the-candlestick-or-the-face puzzles. Sometimes, I can look at it, and it looks normal, and other times, the sizes of everything just looks completely out of whack. Anyone else see the optical illusion, or is it just me? How tall does my daughter look to you?