OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics made their second major trade in three weeks, sending outfielder and fan favorite Nick Swisher to the Chicago White Sox for three minor leaguers on Thursday.
The A's -- who dealt ace Dan Haren to Arizona on Dec. 14 -- received left-hander Gio Gonzalez, right-hander Fautino De Los Santos and outfielder Ryan Sweeney.
Oakland general manager Billy Beane acknowledged last month that the A's are rebuilding and said he expects the club to take its lumps next season after the team missed the playoffs in 2007. The A's reached the AL championship series in 2006, but Oakland (76-86) had its streak of winning seasons end at eight and went 9-17 in September.
"It definitely was a little surprising," said Swisher, who was having breakfast with his mother in Columbus, Ohio, when he got the news. "An unknown caller came up on my phone, I picked it up and little did I know the phone call would change my life."
The 27-year-old Swisher, a switch-hitter and a popular presence in the clubhouse because of his high-energy, playful nature, had been one of the few constants for Oakland in recent seasons -- playing in the outfield and at first base while the team dealt with injuries at most every position. Also active in community service, he was selected by Oakland in the first round of the 2002 draft (16th overall). He will now live much closer to his off-season home in Parkersburg, W.Va.
He batted .262 with 22 homers and 78 RBI in 150 games in 2007, his third full big league season. He also drew 100 walks, ranking him sixth in the AL, for a career-best .381 on-base percentage.
His 80 home runs were a franchise record by a switch-hitter, and Swisher also set his highs for batting average, walks and doubles (36).
"Oakland was a great spot for me. I have no hard feelings," Swisher said. "Billy Beane gave me my shot and he's a genius. He knows what he's doing. ... He's got a game plan and going to stick to that."
Swisher said he's looking forward to playing an aggressive style under colorful Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen and with a franchise that won the 2005 World Series.
"I hope the walls are padded over there in Chicago," he said.
The A's will have three more prospects to add to their farm system.
Gonzalez, 22, pitched for Double-A Birmingham last year and led all minor leaguers with 185 strikeouts. He went 9-7 with a 3.18 ERA in 27 starts and was selected to the Southern League mid-season and postseason All-Star teams. The White Sox acquired Gonzalez as a compensation pick -- the 38th selection overall of the 2004 amateur draft.
The 21-year-old De Los Santos went 9-4 with a 2.40 ERA in 15 starts and six relief appearances for Class-A Kannapolis in 2007. He was picked as the South Atlantic League's top prospect and was also a mid-season and postseason All-Star.
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