- Athletics trade Joe Blanton to the Phillies for three minor leaguers:
After eschewing the practice of paying large salaries to his managers, he gave a load of money to Ken Macha and then fired him while still owing a chunk of that contract. Previously reluctant to adopt the practice of huge signing bonuses on unproven, international players based on talent alone, the Athletics won the bidding war for 6'7", 16-year-old Dominican pitcher Michael Inoa. Now, with his team a surprise contender, Beane is still clearing out the veteran pitchers like Joe Blanton and Rich Harden to acquire prospects for the future. With the trading deadline approaching, it's a safe bet to say that if he receives lucrative offers for just about anyone on his roster (especially the highly-paid veterans like Huston Street), they'll go as well.
Trading Rich Harden was a no-brainer given his injury history and salary; trading Blanton to the Phillies for the prospects Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman (Beane might have traded for him based on his name alone), and Matt Spencer is a smart move given the Phillies desperation for pitching. The minor league numbers indicate that the acquired players have bright futures ahead of them. Beane also used the Phillies situation to his advantage. Their GM Pat Gillick is retiring and wants to win now no matter the cost and Blanton is struggling and highly paid, but has a reputation as a gutty and durable innings-eater.
Beane has received criticism for his willingness to appear to throw the towel in on the season for reasons other than the standings; he's also received criticism for how his team has failed in the post-season and that he's never won a championship. The argument that he's not a genius because of such flawed reasons is nonsensical. He's a genius because he's fearless and is willing to do the unconventional to benefit his organization and he's a genius because part of him may be doing these things for reasons other than the manual that has been attributed to him; he may be doing them in part for his own amusement, just to see if they work.
- And the trade from the Phillies point-of-view: