As the Yankees keep a tight grip on their bullpen assets (for now), teams could look elsewhere for relief pitching, and according to Ken Rosenthal, one of those spots is Oakland.
The Athletics are drawing trade interest in [Sean] Doolittle, sources says, and the demand for him will rise even higher if the Yankees refuse to trade their own left-handed relievers, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.
In an article in which he advocates the Athletics keeping their team together for once, Rosenthal reports that there is interest in members of the A’s roster that could make an impact elsewhere. This is always the case this time of year, as Oakland has built a reputation as a team willing to tinker and build for the future.
Doolittle is in the third year of a five year, $10.5 million deal, and sporting a 2.93 ERA through 30.2 innings of relief this season. He’s exactly the kind of player a smart team would grab to shore up their bullpen for years to come, and may be one of the few relievers capable of generating a strong return at the trade deadline.
Another player getting interest on the Oakland roster is forthcoming free agent Josh Reddick, who has hit .322 with an .860 OPS in 41 games. The Gold Glove-winning right fielder is catching some looks from across the bay in San Francisco, it sounds like:
“On paper, that’s a perfect match,” said one scout who sees both clubs regularly. “It would make a lot of sense.”
Word is, negotiations started back up between Oakland and Reddick very recently, but they remain a year apart in their negotiations and a long term deal is not yet on the table. Meanwhile, the corner outfield spots in SF have been a bane for the Giants, thanks to the loss of Hunter Pence to a hamstring injury and only recently getting Angel Pagan back. In the interim, they had to live with a mixed bag of Jarrett Parker, Mac Williamson, and Gregor Blanco.
That situation must make Reddick look like a dream, despite him currently missing the A’s-Giants series while rehabbing in Triple A (Athletics manager Bob Melvin says Reddick is “physically fine,” he’s just trying to readjust after a thumb fracture in May).
At 33-43 and buried in the same division as baseball’s first 50-game winning team of the season, the A’s seem to have every reason to deal. And any time Billy Beane has a club that’s ten games below .500 and 7.5 games back of a Wild Card spot, he’s going to have an itchy trigger finger. But Rosenthal’s suggestion that they actually keep the team together, and not deal other candidates like Steven Vogt or Sonny Gray, makes sense.
The A’s have an identity more as a fluid, shape-shifting entity than a team with a plan and a goal. Should they keep demolishing the roster instead of deciding that this time, they’ve assembled the team they think can win it all, they won’t be able to survive in the AL West. There are good, young players on this roster; it has just been dented and dinged by injuries over the past few weeks. Perhaps a glance of what they can do at closer to 100% would be a convincing enough argument to hold onto their core.