Well, I promised it, and here it is.
Here are the remaining players from the 1988 Oakland Athletics traded sets. Don Baylor, Dave Henderson, Bob Welch, Doug Jennings, Dave Parker, Ron Hassey, Glenn Hubbard, and Todd Burns. Odd that Hubbard only had a Topps card. Not sure I understand why. But let’s look at what these players added to the A’s.
We can start with Jennings and Burns, as they were both rookies that season. Jennings played in 71 games and had a .208/.346/.297 line with a 0.1 WAR. It would be his best season. Burns, on the other hand, started 14 games and had an 8-2 record with a 3.16 ERA, a 121 ERA+, and a 1.4 WAR. He was, in fact, arguably the best A’s starter in 1988.
Don Baylor, signed as a free agent, was at the end of his career. He played in 92 games and had a .220/.332/.326 line, an 88 OPS+, and a 0.2 WAR. Perhaps not the best end to a good career, but certainly not as bad as some others.
Dave Henderson, another free agent signing, was a more substantial pickup. He ranked third on the team in hits, second in BA, third in homers with 24, and third in RBI with 94. This is on a team with Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. He had a 149 OPS+ and a 6.9 WAR. Good choice.
Bob Welch was part of an insane trade. According to Baseball-Reference.com: Sent from the Los Angeles Dodgers with Matt Young to the Oakland Athletics. The Los Angeles Dodgers sentJack Savage to the New York Mets. The Oakland Athletics sent Alfredo Griffin and Jay Howell to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Oakland Athletics sent Kevin Tapani and Wally Whitehurst to the New York Mets. The New York Mets sent Jesse Orosco to the Los Angeles Dodgers .Whew! He went 17-9 with a 3.64 ERA and a 105 ERA+, good for a 3.2 WAR.
Dave Parker, traded from the Reds for Tim Birtsas and Jose Rijo, was another player who was nearing the end of the line, but he did a bit better than Baylor. He hit .257/.314/.406, a 103 OPS+ and a 0.8 WAR.
Ron Hassey, another free-agent signing, was kind of the Gregg Zaun of his day, minus the bitchin’ website. He hit .257/.323/.368 with a 96 OPS+ and a 2.2 WAR, one of the best of his career.
Glenn Hubbard, another free agent nearing the end of his rope, was a surprising pickup. He hit .255/.334/.340 with a 93 OPS+ (great for a second baseman), and a 2.3 WAR.
So all these pickups and rookies added up to an extra 17 wins or so for the A’s that year. Assuming they had staffed all those position with replacement players, that is, which is certainly not a foregone conclusion. So I’ll round it down to somewhere around 14 extra wins. Where does that put the A’s? Well, they had 104 wins that season, so it drops them to 90 wins. In 1988, that would have put them behind the Twins. Which means without these pickups, the A’s do not go to the playoffs, let alone the World Series. That’s what made this a great group of players for the inaugural team post.
Next we’ll look at the Dodgers.