On one of the threads in our messageboard community, it was recently pointed out that the Oakland A’s are currently carrying only three homegrown players on their 25-man roster: pitchers A.J. Griffin and Sean Doolittle and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (who is on the 15-day disabled list). That got me to thinking about where the “homegrown” A’s players have gone off to.
In looking at the active rosters (25-man plus disabled lists) of the 29 MLB teams not the Oakland A’s, I counted 27 players who could call the A’s their original professional organization. Eleven of those players are in the NL West. Below is a team-by-team breakdown of “homegrown” A’s players who are now suiting up for other teams.
Note: to make this list, the player’s first organization had to be the A’s, so players who spent the majority of their minor league careers in the A’s organization (such as Brad Ziegler, Fautino De Los Santos or Josh Donaldson) don’t count.
Stats good through Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Baltimore Orioles – none
Boston Red Sox – 1
Andrew Bailey: The A’s got their fill of their 2006 sixth-round pick this week, as Bailey converted two saves against his former club. The 2009 AL Rookie of the Year had a rough first season with the Red Sox in 2012, but it appears he is back to the form he displayed with the A’s from 2009-2011. Bailey wasn’t the Red Sox’s closer at the start of the season, but he may win the job back while Joel Hanrahan is on the DL if he continues to pitch as effectively as he has in the early going.
New York Yankees – none
The days of the Yankees using the A’s as their personal farm system may now be over, or at least on hiatus.
Tampa Bay Rays – none
Toronto Blue Jays – none
Chicago White Sox – none
Cleveland Indians – 2
Jason Giambi and Nick Swisher: It’s hard to believe that this is the first year that Giambi and Swisher have been teammates. Giambi, the A’s second-round pick in 1992, was the face of the A’s franchise from 1995-2001. It was his departure before the 2002 season that gave the A’s extra draft picks. Oakland would take Nick Swisher in the first round of that 2002 draft, and he quickly became the face of the A’s franchise from 2004-2007. Swisher spent the 2008 season with the Chicago White Sox before joining the Yankees in 2009 – the year that Giambi left the Yankees and returned to Oakland. Both Swisher and Giambi signed with Cleveland this off-season as free agents. Swisher was the big name signing, while Giambi was the grizzled veteran meant to lend his experience to a younger roster. Giambi has 20 at-bats this season, while Swisher has 83. Both have two homers.
Detroit Tigers – none
Kansas City Royals – 1
Miguel Tejada: Tejada signed with the A’s as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic in 1993. He debuted with the A’s in 1997 and was a star by 2000. The AL MVP in 2002, Tejada left the A’s via free agency in 2003. His career has taken him to Baltimore, Houston, San Diego and San Francisco since then. Tejada was out of baseball last year but made the Royals’ roster as a bench player this spring. He has two hits in nine at-bats in a limited role for KC thus far.
Minnesota Twins – 1
Jared Burton: Only the most dedicated A’s fans are likely to remember that Burton was the team’s eighth-round pick in 2002. The hard-throwing right-hander was lost by the A’s via the Rule 5 draft in 2007 and Burton has quietly developed into a solid major league reliever. Burton had a 2.18 ERA in 62 innings for the Twins last season and was one of the team’s only bright spots. This year, he is off to another good start, as he has a 1.08 ERA and 10 strike-outs in 8.1 innings pitched.
Houston Astros – 0
Several ex-A’s on the Astros’ roster, but none of them were of the homegrown variety.
Los Angeles Angels – 1
Joe Blanton: Blanton was another first-round pick of the A’s in 2002, when the A’s had its famous Moneyball draft. The right-hander has been an innings-eater since his rookie season in 2005, although his effectiveness has waned over the past few years. Blanton was a World Series hero for the Phillies in 2008. In 2012, he was traded to the Dodgers and he signed a free agent contract with the Angels this off-season. He is off to a very slow start for the Halos. In four starts, he is 0-3 with a 7.84 ERA.
Seattle Mariners – 0
Texas Rangers – 1
Alexi Ogando: Ogando was an amateur free agent signing of the A’s out of the Dominican Republic in 2002. The strong-armed right-hander was an outfielder in the A’s system. Before the 2005 season, he was ensnared in a visa scandal involving fake marriages. He was kept out of the US for several years because of the scandal. During that time, the A’s lost Ogando in the minor league Rule 5 draft to the Texas Rangers. Oakland had planned to move Ogando to the mound, but had to watch their division rivals do it instead. Ogando has been a valuable member of the Rangers’ staff for the past four years, filling several roles. He is currently in the starting rotation and has a 3.12 ERA in five starts.
Atlanta Braves – 2
Tim Hudson and Gerald Laird: The Braves aren’t often a landing place for homegrown A’s, but there are two from wayback in A’s history currently on the Atlanta roster. Hudson, of course, has been a member of the Braves since the A’s traded him before the 2005 season. The right-hander was the A’s sixth-round pick in 1997. He made his debut in 1999 and quickly became the A’s ace. Hudson is sitting on 199 wins for his career. Laird was the A’s second-round pick in 1998. The Southern California native was traded to the Rangers as part of the deal that brought Carlos Pena to Oakland. Laird has bounced around the big leagues, playing for Texas, Detroit, St. Louis and now Atlanta. He won a World Series with the Cardinals in 2011.
Miami Marlins – 1
Ryan Webb: Webb, the A’s fourth-round pick in 2004, was the first high school pitcher selected by Oakland in a top-five round of the draft since they took Jeremy Bonderman in 2001. Webb was traded by Oakland to San Diego for Scott Hairston during the 2009 season and he made his big league debut with the Padres later that season. The 6’6’’ right-hander has developed into a solid MLB reliever. For the past three seasons, he has been an integral part of the Marlins’ bullpen. Webb currently sports a 2.84 ERA in 12.2 innings for the Fish.
New York Mets – 1
Anthony Recker: Recker was 15th-round pick of the A’s in 2005. He made a steady climb through the organization before seemingly stalling out at Triple-A. Recker finally broke through to the big leagues at the end of the 2011 season and he made the A’s Opening Day roster as a back-up catcher last season. Recker would lose that job to Derek Norris early in the year, however, and spent most of the season with Triple-A Sacramento before being traded to the Cubs late in the year. Recker spent September on the Cubs’ roster and then was claimed on waivers by the Mets this off-season. He beat-out another homegrown A’s player – Landon Powell – to win the Mets’ back-up catcher job this spring. Recker has appeared in 10 games for the Mets this season.
Philadelphia Phillies – 0
Washington Nationals – 2
Henry Rodriguez and Kurt Suzuki: The Nationals have several former A’s players on their roster, but only Rodriguez and Suzuki were homegrown A’s. Rodriguez was signed out of Venezuela as a teenager by the A’s in 2003. Blessed with a triple digit fastball, Rodriguez made his US debut in the Arizona Rookie League in 2006. Although command issues dogged him throughout his minor league career, he made steady progress through the organization before making his MLB debut in 2009. Rodriguez was traded to Washington in the Josh Willingham deal before the 2011 season. His command has continued to be an issue with the Nationals, but Washington has yet to give up on the talented reliever.
Suzuki was the A’s second-round pick in 2004 and the team’s starting catcher from midway through the 2007 season until August of last year, when the A’s traded Suzuki to Washington. The Maui native has developed into a top flight defensive catcher despite being known more for his offense as a minor leaguer. His bat was a liability the last two seasons with Oakland, but Suzuki has seen an offensive resurgence this year with the Nationals. In 40 at-bats (mostly in the eighth spot in front of the pitcher), Suzuki has a 905 OPS.
Chicago Cubs – 1
Kevin Gregg: The right-handed reliever was a 15th-round pick of the A's all the way back in 1996. He pitched in the A's system through the 2002 season, never cracking the big leagues. In 2003, he signed a minor league free agent contract with the Angels and made his MLB debut later that season. Since then, Gregg has pitched for the Marlins, Cubs, Blue Jays and Orioles at the big league level. Gregg has made three appearances for Chicago this season and has recorded one save.
Cincinnati Reds – 1
Ryan Ludwick: Ludwick was the A’s second-round pick in 1999. He developed into a top prospect before being traded to Texas in the Carlos Pena deal before the 2002 season. Since then, Ludwick has floated around the league, playing for Texas, Cleveland, St. Louis, San Diego, Pittsburgh and now Cincinnati. A late-bloomer, Ludwick became an everyday player at age 29. He was expected to be the Reds’ everyday left-fielder this year, but he separated his shoulder on Opening Day and is currently on the 60-day DL.
Milwaukee Brewers – 0
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1
Vin Mazzaro: Of the three high school pitchers the A’s took in rounds two and three in 2005, Mazzaro was arguably the least-ballyhooed. However, he has had the most successful career of the three (Craig Italiano and Jared Lansford were the other two). Mazzaro made his major league debut with the A’s in 2009 and got off to a fast start before struggling during the season’s final months. He made 24 appearances (18 starts) for the A’s in 2010 but was traded to Kansas City before the 2011 season for David DeJesus. Mazzaro had two years of bloated ERAs with the Royals before landing with Pittsburgh this off-season. He is off to a solid start in the Pirates’ bullpen, having tossed 5.1 scoreless innings over his first four appearances.
St. Louis Cardinals – 0
Arizona Diamondbacks – 3
Trevor Cahill, Eric Chavez and Cliff Pennington: The A’s connections on the D-Backs’ roster are plentiful, but Cahill, Chavez and Pennington can all make the claim as the A’s top picks in the years that they were drafted (2006, 1996 and 2005, respectively). All three played important roles for the A’s before moving on to other organizations.
Chavez had the biggest impact on the A’s organization and is one of the best third basemen in franchise history. He made his debut in 1998 and hit 26 homers during the 2000 season. Chavez had double-digits in homeruns from 1999-2007, when injuries began dramatically impacting his ability to stay on the field. He appeared in only 64 games for the A’s from 2008-2010. In 2011, he moved on to the Yankees and last season hit 16 homers in 113 games for the Bombers. He has 44 at-bats for the D-Backs this year and has a 678 OPS.
Cahill made his big league debut in 2009 and won 18 games for the A’s in 2010. However, he struggled in 2011 and was traded to Arizona before the 2012 season in the deal that brought Ryan Cook and Jarrod Parker to Oakland. Cahill won 13 games and had a 3.78 ERA for the D-Backs last season. He has an 0-3 record thus far this year, but his 3.60 ERA and 21:8 K:BB ratio are solid. He has pitched at least 196.2 innings in each of the past three seasons.
Pennington was the A’s top pick in 2005, but his minor league career was marred by injuries for the first two seasons. He made his MLB debut in 2008, but he wasn’t a starter until 2010. From 2010 through 2012, Pennington was an everyday player for the A’s either at shortstop or second base. An excellent defender, Pennington struggled at the plate. He was traded to Arizona over the off-season in the Chris Young deal. Pennington has a 505 OPS in 67 at-bats for the D-Backs thus far this year.
Colorado Rockies – 0
Los Angeles Dodgers – 3
Ramon Hernandez, Justin Sellers and Andre Ethier: Although Mark Ellis is the player on the Dodgers’ roster most associated with the A’s, he can’t claim Oakland as his original professional organization. Hernandez was signed by the A’s out of Venezuela in 1994 and he made his debut with Oakland in 1999. He quickly became the A’s everyday catcher, catching at least 136 games from 2000-2003. Hernandez laid down the most famous bunt in A’s history in Game One of the 2003 ALDS. He was traded that off-season to San Diego for Mark Kotsay. Since then, Hernandez has bounced around, playing for San Diego, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Colorado and now Los Angeles. As the Dodgers’ back-up catcher, Hernandez has only 11 at-bats thus far this year.
Sellers was a sixth-round pick of the A’s in 2005 out of an LA-area high school. One of the most entertaining members of the A’s organization while he was with the team, Sellers dazzled with the glove but never made much of an impact with the bat. He was traded to the Cubs before the 2009 season in the deal that brought Michael Wuertz to Oakland. Sellers was traded by the Cubs to the Dodgers by the end of that same spring training and he found a home with Los Angeles. He made his big league debut in 2011, appearing in 36 games. Last season, Sellers appeared in 19 games. He was expected to start the year in Triple-A, but Hanley Ramirez’s injury opened a spot for Sellers in the Dodgers’ starting line-up. He has appeared in 17 games this season, but with Ramirez on the rehab trail, Sellers may not be in the big leagues much longer.
Ethier, the A’s second-round pick in 2003, was one of Oakland’s top prospects when they dealt him to the Dodgers before the 2006 season in the deal that brought Milton Bradley to Oakland. Bradley helped the A’s reach the ALCS that year, but Ethier has been a player the A’s regret letting go. He has a career 836 OPS and has hit double-digit homers every year from 2006-2012. He signed a six-year deal in 2012 that is worth nearly $100 million.
San Diego Padres – 3
Huston Street, John Baker and Tyson Ross: Like with Arizona, there is no shortage of former A’s players on the San Diego roster. Street, Baker and Ross represent the three drafted by Oakland. Street, the A’s supplemental first round pick in 2004, zoomed through the minor leagues and was the A’s closer by May 2005. He won the Rookie of the Year that season. However, he battled injuries and ineffectiveness in 2007 and lost his closer job completely by 2008. The A’s traded Street before the 2009 season in the infamous deal that sent Carlos Gonzalez to Colorado and Matt Holliday to Oakland. Since then, Street had been an effective late-inning reliever, although he has had his share of high-profile blown saves. He currently has a 6.37 ERA and three saves for the Padres.
Baker was the A’s fourth-round pick out of Cal in 2002. The East Bay native became a fan favorite with Sacramento, but he never received the call to the big leagues with Oakland. He was traded to the Marlins before the 2007 regular season for Jason Stokes. Baker made his major league debut in 2008 and appeared in 112 games in 2009. An elbow injury limited his playing time in 2010 and 2011. He appeared in 63 games with the Padres in 2012 and has made six appearances for San Diego thus far this season.
Ross, another Cal alum, was the A’s second-round pick in 2008. He was in the big leagues by 2010. Although he flashed moments of brilliance with the A’s, the Oakland native could never find consistent command during his time in the big leagues. He also struggled with injuries. Ross was traded this off-season to San Diego in a deal that brought Andy Parrino and Andrew Werner to Oakland. Ross made the Padres’ Opening Day rotation, but he landed on the DL with a left shoulder strain this week. Ross had a 3.86 ERA with a 12:10 K:BB ratio in 14 innings for his first three starts.
San Francisco Giants – 2
Santiago Casilla and Barry Zito: Casilla signed with the A’s as a teenager in 2000 under the name Jairo Garcia. It was revealed before the 2005 season that he was actually Casilla and a few years older than had originally been believed. Those revelations didn’t dim Casilla’s standing within the organization, however, as he was one of the hardest throwers in the A’s system at that time. He made brief appearances in the big leagues in 2004-2006 before landing a regular job in the A’s bullpen in 2007. From 2007-2009, he was one of the A’s regular relievers, although his effectiveness fell off dramatically in 2009. Casilla signed with the Giants before the 2010 season as a minor league free agent and earned a spot on their roster. He has since been one of their most reliable relievers, posting ERAs under 3.00 in every season he has been with the club. Casilla was instrumental in both of the Giants’ World Series runs.
Zito was the A’s top pick in 1999 and he was in the big leagues by 2000. The left-hander was famous for his curveball and his off-beat personality while with Oakland. He won 17 games in 2001 and 23 games in 2002, when he earned a Cy Young award. Zito also earned 16 wins for Oakland in 2006 and helped the A’s defeat the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS that year with a Game One win over Johan Santana. Zito left the A’s for the Giants via free agency before the 2007 season, signing a huge contract. Zito has struggled to live up to the expectations of that contract, however. In seven seasons with the A’s, he had a 102-63 record and a 3.55 ERA. In seven years with the Giants thus far, his record is 61-70 and he has a 4.45 ERA. He finished with sub .500 records in 2007-2011 and never had an ERA under 4.00 in any of those seasons. Last year, Zito’s ERA was 4.15, but he managed to win 16 games and was a star for the Giants during the post-season. ZIto is in the final year of his contract with the Giants (assuming he doesn’t pitch enough innings to trigger an option year for 2014) and he is pitching well out of the gate. In four starts, he has a 3.42 ERA.