- Jim Bowden, Baseball, Insider
In examining those teams that are built to win now, conversely there are those teams for whom it will take some time to become competitive again. In several instances, they are the very teams that just emptied their big league clubs to those “win now” teams. However, it is a simple fact of baseball's cyclical nature that teams must reload and rebuild, or, in some cases, continue to build. And these five general managers have done the best jobs this offseason to better position their teams long-term.
1. Billy Beane, Oakland Athletics
Beane has walked this ground before. Payroll issues forced him to trade his “Big Three” of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. However, this time around he got a much better return after dealing Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals and Trevor Cahill to the Diamondbacks. Pitching prospects Jarrod Parker and Brad Peacock could be potential No. 2 or No. 3 starters; Tom Milone should be a solid No. 5 starter and is big league-ready now. But 19-year-old A.J. Cole might have the biggest upside of all. However, he is four years away if he stays healthy and develops properly. Collin Cowgill is a definite upgrade in the outfield, and while catcher Derek Norris might only be average behind the plate, he has a chance to be a 25- to 30-home run hitter. No doubt it is tough to trade two 15-game winners like Gonzalez and Cahill, but the return was so large on both fronts the A's have improved their long-term future more than any team in baseball this offseason.