OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -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.
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 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 Oakland's 16th selection in the first round of the 2002 draft. He will now live much closer to his offseason home in Parkersburg, W. Va.
He batted .262 with 22 homers and 78 RBIs 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).
The A's will have three more established minor leaguers to add to their farm system.
Gonzalez, 22, pitched for Double-A Birmingham last year and led minor league baseball with 185 strikeouts. He went 9-7 with a 3.18 ERA in 27 starts and was selected to the Southern League midseason 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 midseason and postseason All-Star.
In addition, he made five starts for Class-A Winston-Salem and had a combined record of 10-5 record with a 2.65 ERA.
Sweeney, a 22-year-old left hitter, was among Chicago's top prospects going into last season, when he batted .270 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs in 105 games for Triple-A Charlotte. He also hit .200 with a home run and five RBIs in 15 games for the White Sox.
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