By Jason Wojciechowski on December 14, 2005 at 2:40 AM
It's not every day you see a trade of one minor leaguer for one and a half major leaguers. That's exactly what the A's and Dodgers pulled off today, though, with Andre Ethier (minor leaguer) going to Los Angeles for Milton Bradley (major leaguer) and Antonio Perez (half-and-half).
I'm pretty excited about acquiring Bradley: he'll be 28 this year and in two of the last three years he's put up adjusted slugging percentages over .500 from the right side of the plate. It's no secret that the A's were hoping to get some power from the right side, and this might well have solved that problem. The outfield's looking a little crowded again, enough so that I wouldn't bet on a Frank Thomas acquisition. I'm guessing the everyday outfield will be Payton-Kotsay-Bradley, with Kielty slotting in sometimes and Nick Swisher becoming the everyday first baseman. That does leave Dan Johnson to be a full-time DH, and people always cringe about guys being DHs when they're young, but if it worries Ken Macha and the A's at all, they can always stick him out there when Barry Zito's pitching and let Swisher DH on those days.
Now, Bradley does come with some warts: he's had temper issues in the past and he played in fewer than half of Los Angeles's games last year. In honesty, though, (and I say this as a pessimist) I don't think these things are significant enough to worry about. Bradley might scream and pout his way out of town in two years or so, but you have to figure that's all the A's are planning on getting him for anyway, because he'll start getting expensive (and old) after that. Besides, if there's any clubhouse in the league that could make Bradley feel welcome, it's the Oakland clubhouse. Hell, if Bobby Kielty's hair and Ronald McDonald outfit can't loosen you up and make you happy, you may as well just go live in the woods.
How exciting is it, by the way, that the A's outfield will probably be playing three legitimate center fielders next year? A's fans have been singing the praises of Mark Kotsay's defense for a while now, Jay Payton filled in very capably when Kotsay's back acted up last year, and Bradley has a career Rate (BP's defensive rate stat, normalized to 100) of 102 out there.
Perez is a nice throw-in, by the way, the kind of guy I think Beane could squeeze out of Ned Colletti that he never would have gotten had Paul DePodesta still been in charge. He'll be 26 this year, and over 159 major league games, he's put up a .353 OBP. He hasn't really hit for any power, but it's not like utility infielders ever do. Even in the Dominican League as an 18-year old, Perez has been a guy who'll take his walks and get on base. He's kind of what Marco Scutaro was supposed to be, except Scutaro stopped walking in 2004 and couldn't hit for average in 2005, so he never really added that much with the bat (beyond some memories for some enormous clutch hits). We'll just hope that Perez can provide that little OBP off the bench for the inevitable infield injury the A's will have next year.
Meanwhile, does it hurt to lose Ethier? Sure, of course it does. But trading a potential stud, even one as highly regarded as Ethier, for a current stud (and make no mistake, Bradley is a stud) is a move you make every time when you have a little bit of money to burn and a playoff spot to fight for. Especially if the other team is going to make the little "nice OBP of the bench" throw-in.