The A's ruined a lot of things this year. They ruined the Rangers' and Angels' seasons, for example. They ruined the safety net of low expectations that a couple of low-revenue franchises have tried to maintain. For the purposes of this article, though, we'll focus on how they ruined the expectations of the old-fashioned, established-player-for-prospects deal.

It used to be that the poor teams would trade their good veterans for young players who would hopefully become good veterans, whom could then be traded for young players who would hopefully become good veterans one day. Simple.

Billy Beane, though, had a masterful off-season. And it ruined the expectations of veteran-for-prospects deals. He traded his hybrid veteran-youngsters for young players who contributed right away to a division-winning team. There wasn't any wishing upon a star that the young players could one day help the team. Jarrod Parker, Derek Norris, Tommy Milone, Ryan Cook, and Josh Reddick all helped right away. They also got Miles Head, Brad Peacock, and A.J. Cole to stash away for later.