You could say both sides were even, but neither the Oakland A's nor the Kansas City Royals can look back with any fondness over the deal that sent outfielder David DeJesus for pitchers Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks. For the A's, they were hoping to cement their line-up with a couple of economical trades that would enable them to give their stellar starting pitching some support. For the Royals, the need has always been about starting pitching. Neither team got what they wanted.
On the Athletics' end, the drop in DeJesus' production doesn't make any sense. Last year, he hit .318 for the Royals to go with a .384 OBP before a season-ending injury. It also seemed DeJesus was in his prime as a hitter, with a good eye at the plate with gap power and someone who could sit near or atop the A's line-up. Instead, despite being healthy, DeJesus is hitting a career-low .232 for an abysmal .685 OPS. He's striking out more than ever and apparently not seeing the ball the way he was able to in KC.
As for Mazzaro, the returns were disastrous on the major league level. In 24 innings for the Royals, Mazzaro allowed 37 hits, 25 runs, 15 walks and struck out only 9. His ERA currently stands at 9.25 and it seemed he was a total bust early on for the team. The trend continued in AAA where his ERA hovered at 4.76 before the All-Star Break -- providing mediocre results on a AAA level.
Yet in August, Mazzaro is really turning it on. He's allowed only three runs in his last three starts, going 19.1 innings while striking out 17 Ks. He's showing signs of life in the late summer that might earn him a string of September starts that would serve as a great audition to make the starting rotation out of spring training in 2012.
As for Marks, there are signs both positive and negative. It's hard to ignore the strikeouts: 126 in 127 innings. He's also walked only 40. However, Marks is also 23-years-old in High-A ball, a bit too old for the system he's in, perhaps. Overall, he has a 7-8 records with a 4.32 ERA. Clearly he needs to head to AA to see how he fares against better competition. There's a live arm there, however, so that's not a bad addition in the trade.
Neither team has yet to really profit at all from the deal, but the Royals have to hope that the arms eventually payoff. Mazzaro has found some semblance of success late in the season, so the Royals hope that translates to the major league level.