Let Me Tell You Bout My Best Friend: The Nationals and A’s Story

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Mike Rizzo and Billy Beane are the best of friends!

Earlier today, the Nationals and the Athletics made another trade. The Nationals acquired LHP Jerry Blevins from the A’s in exchange for the Nationals minor league player of the year, OF Billy Burns. It seems like the Nationals and the Athletics do a trade at least twice a year. Mark Zuckerman of CSn Washington tweeted that the Nationals and A’s have been trade partner SEVEN times since 2010, which was Mike Rizzo’s first year as GM. We take a look at all of the trades that the Nationals and A’s have made together since 2005.

(All Information From mlbtradetracker.com)

Oakland Athletics acquire Date Washington Nationals acquire
Chris Snelling
May 2, 2007
Ryan Langerhans

This trade was a small one, that ended up being big for the Nationals, even though neither of the players ended up being that good. Snelling only played 6 games for the A’s, hitting .350 in 25 at bats. Langerhans tenure with the Nats lasted longer, playing in 176 games over the corse of two seasons with the Nationals. Langerhans was then traded for a 6’5″ power hitting shortstop by the name of Mike Morse.

WINNER: Nationals

Oakland Athletics acquire Date Washington Nationals acquire
Jermaine Van Buren
June 26, 2007
Player to be named later

Who?

WINNER: Who?

Oakland Athletics acquire Date Washington Nationals acquire
Josh Willingham
December 16, 2010
Corey Brown
Henry Rodriguez

 This was the first of many Mike Rizzo, Billy Beane transactions. Willingham was in the last year of his contract and the Nationals wanted to get some value out of him. So they decided to trade him to the A’s for fireballing RHP Henry Rodriguez and outfield prospect Corey Brown. Willingham performed well in Oakland, hitting .246 with 29 HRs, good enough for a 2.3 WAR. However, the two players didn’t pan out like the Nationals hoped. Rodriguez struggled to find his control throughout his tenure with the Nationals and Brown has been nothing more then a September call-up for the Nationals.

WINNER: Athletics

Oakland Athletics acquire Date Washington Nationals acquire
A.J. Cole
Brad Peacock
Derek Norris
Tommy Milone
December 22, 2011
Gio Gonzalez
Robert Gilliam

Gio Gonzalez was coming off a career year in Oakland. He had a 3.12 ERA, had a 129 ERA+, and was worth 4.3 WAR. The Athletics thought they weren’t close to contending and were hoping to get a lot of the great year Gonzalez had. The Nationals were getting close to being relevant, coming off an 80-81 year, second best in franchise history at the time. They had plenty of pitching and catching deal, and were looking to build on their success. The Nationals agreed to send top pitching prospect AJ Cole, September Call-Ups Brad Peacock and Tommy Milone, and power hitting catcher Derek Norris to Oakland in exchange for Gonzalez and minor league pitcher Robert Gilliam. In 2012, Gonzalez was a near Cy Young winner, pitching the Nationals to their first playoff berth since FDR. His second year with the Nationals was also extremely good. Milone has been the only player who has been beneficial for the A’s, posting two good years for the A’s in the back of their rotation. However, Norris, Peacock, and Cole all struggled in their first year in the A’s organization, and Peacock and Cole were both traded last offseason. 

WINNER: Nationals

Oakland Athletics acquire Date Washington Nationals acquire
David Freitas
August 3, 2012
cash
Kurt Suzuki

After losing catcher Wilson Ramos to an ACL injury in May, the Nationals were down to there back up catchers for much of the season. By August, they were in desperate need for a catcher, with starter Jesus Flores barely holding on. The Athletics had a surplus of major league catching, with former National Derrek Norris, recently acquired George Kottaras, and Kurt Suzuki. The Nationals and A’s made their only midseason transaction, sending Kurt Suzuki and cash to Washington in return for minor league catcher David Freitas. Suzuki was key in helping the Nationals get their first playoff berth, having numerous clutch hits, earning him the nickname “Clutch” from teammate Ryan Zimmerman.

WINNER: Nationals

Seattle Mariners acquire Date Washington Nationals acquire
Michael Morse
January 16, 2013
John Jaso
Comment: 3-team trade between Mariners, Nationals, Athletics
Oakland Athletics acquire Date Washington Nationals acquire
John Jaso
January 16, 2013
Player to be named later (Ian Krol)
A.J. Cole
Blake Treinen
Comment: 3-team trade between Mariners, Nationals, Athletics

This trade still hurts some Nationals fans. Fan favorite Michael Morse was the odd man out in D.C. when the Nationals acquired Denard Span from the Twins. John Jaso wasn’t needed in Seattle because of up incoming prospects Jesus Montero and Mike Zunino, and the Mariners were in the market for some hitting. The A’s needed a catcher because recently acquired catcher Derrek Norris did not pan out the way that the A’s had hoped. These three teams decided to do a three team deal, sending Michael Morse from D.C. to Seattle, John Jaso to Oakland, and minor league pitchers Blake Treinen, A.J. Cole (who was traded to Oakland from D.C. one year earlier), and a PTBNL (Ian Krol). Morse dealt with injury problems throughout 2013, and was traded from Seattle to Baltimore in August, after hitting .226 in 72 games. Jaso suffered a concussion midseason and was replaced by Stephen Vogt. Cole and Treinen had very good years in the Nationals low minor league system, and Krol ended up having a very good year in the Nationals bullpen, and was a key part of the Doug Fister trade this offseason.

WINNER: Nationals

Oakland Athletics acquire Date Washington Nationals acquire
Kurt Suzuki
Cash
August 23, 2013
Dakota Bacus

About one year after he was acquired by the Nationals, catcher Kurt Suzuki was sent back to Oakland, as the Nationals didn’t have a need for him with Wilson Ramos getting the majority of the playing time. The Nationals received minor league pitcher Dakota Bacus, a player better known by his alter ego, the Whitewall Ninja. Suzuki went on to hit .303 in his short time back with Oakland.

WINNER: Athletics

Oakland Athletics acquire Date Washington Nationals acquire
Fernando Abad
November 25, 2013
John Wooton

Signed to a minor league contract last November, Fernando Abad was called up in May to be the Nationals lone left handed reliever. Abad did not disappoint, posting a 3.35 ERA in 37.2 innings in the bullpen. After the season ended, the Nationals DFA’d Abad. Two days later, the A’s and the Nats worked out a trade for Abad to be moved to Oakland for minor league pitcher John Wooton. It was reported today that the A’s intend on using Abad as their LOOGY.

WINNER: Athletics

Oakland Athletics acquire Date Washington Nationals acquire
Billy Burns
December 11, 2013
Jerry Blevins

This offseason, the A’s have gone trade crazy, acquiring such relievers as Jim Johnson, Luke Gregorson, Fernando Abad, and Drew Pomeranz. In order to make room for their new acquisitions, the A’s needed to make a trade. The Nationals have been looking for a left handed reliever for some time. The Nationals and A’s made another swap; LHP Jerry Blevins for minor league speedster, OF Billy Burns. This trade gives the Nationals the left handed reliever they always wanted.

WINNER: Too early to tell

Footnote: Mark Zuckerman wrote a piece while I was writing this about why the Nationals and A’s are such common trade partners.

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8 thoughts on “Let Me Tell You Bout My Best Friend: The Nationals and A’s Story

  1. Jaso wasn’t benched in favor of Vogt, he was doing well when he suffered a season-ending concussion in July and will probably be moved to DH this year.

  2. Nice write-up overall but I’m curious how a winner can be declared in the Abad/Wooton trade made just 17 days ago? Wooton is a lower-level prospect, it could take a few years (or more) to grade that trade.
    Also, not many felt Krol “ended-up having a very good year in the Nats bullpen”, he started well when he arrived in June but his month-by-month ERA splits were: June/1.54, July/3.68, Aug./6.00, Sept./11.57.

    • The reason I said the A’s were the winner was because they got a LOOGY out of a decent low level prospect. Obviously that’s a snap judgment, and time will tell who really won the trade. On Krol, he was still better than expected, and the August and September stats are a smaller sample size. He had fewer innings in August and September than he did the in the other months.

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