When the A's got involved in Hisashi Iwakuma's posting process, the explanation was that they were doing so in an effort to create a surplus of arms, some of which they could exchange for a bat. That sounded perfectly sensible to me, but I don't think anyone expected them to pull the trigger on something this quickly.
Just a little bit ago, they dealt Vin Mazzaro and a young guy named Justin Marks to the for David DeJesus. With DeJesus coming over and Iwakuma presumably as good as locked up, the A's have already made two big offseason splashes, and it's only November 10th. This isn't the kind of behavior we've come to expect from Billy Beane, who seems to be making an effort to make 2011 a strong year.
Now, I'm not planning on writing up every single move the A's,, and make all offseason. I only plan to write up the moves I find interesting. And, on the surface, this one isn't very interesting. Mazzaro is a dull young pitcher with a dull repertoire and a limited ceiling. Marks is miles away and seems to top out around 90 miles per hour. And I've long considered DeJesus to be the most boring good player in baseball, as he does few things wrong but nothing exceptionally well. He's consistently all right, and he's been hidden in Kansas City all this time.
What makes this trade stand out to me, though, is how perfect a fit it is. Not for Kansas City. Mazzaro isn't good. But for Oakland, as DeJesus might have been the most A's player in the league who didn't play for the A's. He's decent. He's not great, and he's not bad. He's unknown. His eye is okay. He plays strong defense. He runs fairly well. He's battled some injuries. He has mediocre power. You know who that sounds like? Ryan Sweeney, and Travis Buck, and Rajai Davis, and Coco Crisp, and Mark Ellis, and Cliff Pennington, and Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Kurt Suzuki, and Daric Barton, and Gabe Gross, and Adam Rosales, and some others, too. They don't all fit all the criteria, but they all at least fit most of them.
Everything about DeJesus playing in Oakland just feels right. Had I been drinking, I might have even suggested to you that he was already there. The skillset and the whole package just belong on the A's, who Beane seems to think have to play stealth baseball. They are designed to hang around and get the job done, but they aren't to be noticed. God help them if they're noticed.
As far as the on-field impact is concerned, DeJesus should make the A's a bit better, which of course is bad news for us. But then, he isn't great, and the offseason's just beginning, and he's in the last year of his contract anyway, so it's not a big deal.
The off-field impact, though? Now I'm growing suspicious. If the A's go get Chase Headley or Placido Polanco then I'll know for sure something's up.