By: Stache Staff

For The Mets, Copying The A’s Is More Than About Money

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The New York Mets and the Oakland Athletics in 2006 watched as the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers defeated them both in their League Championship Series and played in the World Series

The teams, after those tough playoff losses ended up struggling right after that and falling into a malaise that saw them go the next five years each without making the playoffs.

The difference is that the connections and similarities with their post 2006 struggles ended in 2012. It was then that the A’s did something that the Mets should start to seriously consider moving forward if they want to break their current seven years and counting playoff drought.

In December of 2011 the A’s, who had averaged 76 wins in the 5 seasons after their loss in the 2006 ALCS made three separate trades in the span of 19 days that on paper looked like the start of another rebuilding process.

December 9, 2011: Traded Craig Breslow, Trevor Cahill and cash to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Received Ryan Cook, Collin Cowgill and Jarrod Parker.

December 23, 2011: Traded Robert Gilliam (minors) and Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals. Received A.J. Cole (minors), Tommy Milone, Derek Norris and Brad Peacock.

December 28, 2011: Traded Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to the Boston Red Sox. Received Miles Head (minors), Raul Alcantara (minors) and Josh Reddick.

The trades when they were made were shocking. The Athletics had been trying to rebuild since 2006 and instead were blowing up what they done and looked to be starting over again.

The logic from some people is that you don’t trade an All-Star closer and two starting pitchers for prospects, no matter how good they may be, and expect to win.

For example Danny Knobler, formally of CBSSports.com, wrote this in a Spring Training preview of the 2012 A’s

…the most significant moves they made were to trade away the three pitchers.

If you’re trying to win now, you don’t do that.

What’s interesting is that the moves didn’t seem to leave the remaining A’s feeling like the front office doesn’t care about them, or about winning. Perhaps because this is the way things have been done for quite a while in Oakland, there’s acceptance without any hint of depression.

The A’s of course have gone on to win the AL West and average 95 wins since those trades have been made. Once again they are being looked at, like they were in the early 2000s, as a model franchise.

It is not an exact science but the A’s figured that the guys they had weren’t going to get them any closer to the playoffs than the prospects they were getting back for them could.

They ended up getting a top of the rotation starter in Jarrod Parker (Injured now but pretty good before that), Josh Reddick their starting Right Fielder, Derek Norris a platoon catcher, Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock who have contributed to the staff and Ryan Cook who is one of their top relievers.

The point here is to not throw the Athletics a party because what they did has worked out so well. The point is that the Mets, with their abundance of pitching depth and still holes to fill in many places might want to consider doing what the A’s did in 2011.

The Mets have a cash flow problem (whomever you want to blame for that go ahead, but the result is still the same) much like the A’s have had for years.

In fact their payrolls are on the low side compared to rest of Major League Baseball. According to the Associated Press the Mets will rank 22nd this year with a payroll of $89,051,758 while the A’s will be 25th with a payroll of $83,401,400.

The Mets have so much young pitching talent and depth and yet still have nothing of note in the hitting part of things in the minors or really in the majors. Travis d’Arnaud has been awful so far in just over 100 At bats, Ike Davis has regressed terribly, Lucas Duda is an enigma still and Ruben Tejada isn’t the answer at shortstop long term.

If the Mets can make some trades with their young pitching, Zack Wheeler included, and bring in some hitters that would be a good start to speeding up this slow rebuilding process.

Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard should be the anchors of this staff. They should be the only ones that are untouchable moving forward. But the Wheelers, Monteros, DeGroms and so on in the system and on the Major League roster should all be considered trade bait.

The Oakland A’s stopped the bleeding in 2011 from their 2006 LCS loss and have taken the talent they had, flipped it for more talent, cheaper might I add which allowed them to sign Yoenis Cespedes, and are now back to their winning ways.

The Mets are still struggling, still trying to find their way out of the muck and mire of rebuilding. Maybe it’s time to sacrifice some of our great young pitchers to get us some hitters and finally balance out the team moving forward.

At the end of the day the Mets are no closer to the playoffs than they have been since the 2009 season. The franchise has gone far enough to rebuild the farm system that they should use that to their advantage to fix what ails the major league roster.

The A’s are back because they had a good farm system and combined that with the talent acquired by trading away players from a strength on the team to build up a consistent winner.

Maybe it’s time the Mets starting using that play more often from the Oakland playbook.

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