In three days, there will be a knock on your door. It will be a rumor. If you don’t answer the door, the rumor will break a window and run off with your cat. If you answer the door, the rumor will push you aside and run off with your cat. It’s a matter of preference. Rumor season is almost here, and those things are rude. Also, they eat cats.
For now, though, we don’t have any concrete rumors. We have things like this, from Susan Slusser, which is a trade idea that makes sense.
For the A’s, there’s good reason to want Josh Reddick in the lineup all four games against the Giants this week: San Francisco looks like a superb trade partner should Oakland decide to move the Gold Glove right fielder.
The Giants would like another outfielder. The A’s might like to trade their star outfielder before he reaches free agency. I’m still not sure how keen the Giants would be to have four outfielders expecting to play every day in August, but that seems like a good problem to have. The rest checks out.
There’s a complication, though:
... the A’s and Giants haven’t made a deal since 1990, when Oakland sent outfielder Darren Lewis across the bay for infielder Ernest Riles.
There was the infamous "Adam Pettyjohn for cash money" deal that shook the world after that, but the larger point stands. The Giants and A’s don’t make trades. Some people think has to do with regional rivalry or animus between the two teams. I don’t believe this is true, that the trade-less history has more to do with circumstances, and I would like to present my case.
Argument #1: Moneyball
This doesn’t read like two GMs or teams that have a hard-and-fast rule against dealing with each other:
Brian Sabean listens to Billy’s magnanimous offer of Mike Venafro; all Billy wants in return is a minor league player. Sabean says he’s interested. "Sabes," Billy says, after laying out his proposal, "I’m not asking for much here. Think it over and call me back."
They know each other quite well.
Sabean is the master of the dry hump. Sabean is always expressing what seems like serious interest in a player, but when it comes time to deal, he becomes less serious.
Never gets old. But Sabean is presented in Moneyball as someone Billy Beane was willing to use in a cockamamie scheme to get another player, and it totally made sense. Technically, neither one is their team’s GM anymore, but their regimes are still in place. Don’t see why they wouldn’t still consider each other.
Argument #2: Timing
The A’s and Giants have been up and down roughly at the same time, and while it’s not completely unheard of for two bad teams (or two contending teams) to deal with each other, that wouldn’t fit the standard veterans-for-prospects dynamic that most trades follow.
|2007||Not Contending||Not Contending|
|2008||Not Contending||Not Contending|
There’s more to it than this, though, because when the Giants were down in 2005 and 2006, they weren’t dealing anyone, not like the typical lousy team. They figured with Barry Bonds, they always had a chance, so they didn’t trade away Ray Durham when he was in the middle of his best year or Jason Schmidt when he was still considered an ace, NOT THAT I’M STILL BITTER.
Those Giants were adding, not subtracting, just like the A’s. That leaves just five seasons out of the last 15 where you might expect the traditional trade dynamic. Which brings us to ...
Argument #3: They rarely matched up
In 2009, the Giants traded for a first baseman (Ryan Garko) and a second baseman (Freddy Sanchez) at the deadline. The A’s traded away an outfielder (Matt Holliday) and a shortstop (Orlando Cabrera).
In 2010, the A’s made a bunch of minor deals in the offseason, shuffling Brett Wallace for Michael Taylor, and Aaron Cunningham for Kevin Kouzmanoff. At the deadline, they were mostly quiet. The Giants acquired Javier Lopez, who was apparently the missing link.
In 2011, the Giants traded for Carlos Beltran, Jeff Keppinger, and Orlando Cabrera. The A’s traded away Mark Ellis, who might have fit instead of Keppinger. I’ll give you that one. Not sure if Ellis' bat was quite as unstoppable, though.
In 2013, the Giants weren’t in sell mode, which is a good thing.
In 2015, the GIants traded for Mike Leake, and they gave up lesser prospects than what the A’s got for Scott Kazmir. At least, that’s what I figured before Adam Duvall decided he was Dave Kingman with better defense. They matched up, but there were a lot of options for both teams.
In the offseason, the A’s are usually more interested in established players, even when the team is coming off a down year. The Giants almost never deal established players, Bengie Molina aside. The A’s often make minor moves, prospect-for-prospect trades, that go under the radar. The Giants hardly make offseason trades at all these days, and they haven’t done much in the offseason trade market since getting Angel Pagan.
They just don't seem to fit, for the most part.
Argument #4: Sometimes teams just don’t trade with each other
The last time the Giants made a trade with the Tigers was in 1997, for Brian Johnson. Say, a Brian Johnson mention means we get to include the famous highlight!
No, dummy, the other famous highlight.
The Rays and the Giants have made exactly one trade in 19 years: Tyler Walker for Carlos Hines. Is that because the Rays would be too embarrassed if the Giants made them look bad? Does it have to do with frosty relations? A longstanding, unspoken rivalry?
Nah, it’s just one of those things.
I don’t dispute the idea that, presented with two offers of roughly equal value, the A’s would prefer not to trade with the Giants in the interest of PR. But if the A’s and Giants match up, and the Giants present the best trade package with a minimum amount of dry humping, I have no doubts that a deal could get done.
The Dodgers traded Matt Kemp to the Padres, people. This stuff means a lot more to us than it does to them.
The bigger question is if Reddick actually fits with the Giants, who are expecting Hunter Pence back in a month or so. For the prospect haul that the A’s are anticipating?
Probably not. They’ll talk, though. And if they don’t get anything done, it isn’t going to have anything to do with an A’s/Giants thing. It’ll have to do with a baseball thing, just like all of the other deals between the two teams over the last two decades that didn’t happen.