As we approach August 1, we will preview what each team is projected to do in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline. For a complete listing of our previews, click here.
Oakland Athletics: 36-49, 4th in the AL West
The sad truth is that the Athletics are lucky because the Angels exist. Because the Angels exist, the Athletics are not in last place.
At the very least, the A’s are not last in the league in terms of hitting, hitting a collective .253/.305/.400, which also places them ninth in the American League.
Pitching-wise, they’ve got the second worst team ERA at 4.79. They’ve got a team FIP of 4.50, which is not really much better. And at a pitcher’s park like the Coliseum, that doesn’t necessarily bode well.
That’s not to say there haven’t been some bright spots in the season, though. Third baseman Danny Valencia and outfielder Josh Reddick have been having exceptional seasons—Valencia is hitting .310/.359/.512, with 12 home runs and 33 RBI, while Reddick is hitting .308/.388/.442.
On the pitching side of things, Sonny Gray’s season hasn’t been looking too sunny, with an ERA of 5.42 and an FIP of 4.56. Things just haven’t really clicked for him and he hasn’t been able to make it work, which is sad to see.
Rich Hill has been top notch, though, with an ERA of 2.31, FIP of 2.71, and a K/BB of 3.08.
In the bullpen, you’ve got guys like Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull, Sean Doolittle, and Marc Rzepczynski all with sub-3.00 ERAs.
So while the team’s not looking so hot, there’s a chance to rebuild at the deadline.
What moves have they made so far?
Oakland made one significant move already, trading infielder Chris Coghlan to the Cubs for third baseman Arismendy Alcantara, who has spent most of his time in the Athletics organization in Triple-A Nashville. Alcantara has seen some playing time with the big league club, however, playing three games and going 2-for-8. The Cubs were looking for some depth on their roster at the time of the trade due to injuries, though Coghlan himself was placed on the DL on Jul. 3 with a rib cage injury.
Are they buyers or sellers?
The Athletics will almost definitely one of the game’s most active sellers at the trade deadline for the second straight season. There are a lot of teams interested in many of Oakland’s players and with a record like the one they have, there’s probably no shot at even one of the Wild Card spots.
Oakland dealt Scott Kazmir, Ben Zobrist and Tyler Clippard before the deadline last year, and are poised for a similar fire sale this summer.
Who could they trade?
Got a chair? Might want to sit down for this list.
Danny Valencia: Valencia has reportedly drawn interest from the Royals, the Indians, and the Mets so far. The Mets were obviously in because of David Wright’s injury status, but they recently signed Jose Reyes and now may be out on Valencia. The Royals were reportedly also looking for help due to an injury that has Mike Moustakas out for the season, though Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has recently said that the Royals are not pursuing Valencia. Cleveland is likely considering Valencia as an upgrade over Juan Uribe, who has struggled this year.
Rich Hill: Hill is one of the top available starters so far this season, and has been scouted by multiple teams in recent starts. According to Slusser, Hill was scouted at his most recent start by the Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers and Royals.
Josh Reddick: Yet another player that the Royals have interest in. Kansas City might be looking for an upgrade in the outfield and replacing Paulo Orlando, though Orlando has been hitting .321/.347/.416 this season. They could always be looking at Reddick to play left field, replacing Alex Gordon, who has been hitting .208/.311/.339. There’s also some trade rumors saying that the Giants are interested in acquiring Reddick. Currently, the Giants have a mix of Gregor Blanco, Jarrett Parker, and Mac Williamson playing right field as Hunter Pence is out with an injury, and the Giants might be looking for a veteran to man that right field corner.
Sean Doolittle: Doolittle could end up being one of the most coveted relievers in the league this trade deadline if the Yankees aren’t willing to part with Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal. Our Justin Klugh noted that Doolittle is in the third year of a five year, $10.5 million contract, so he would be a good get for any team looking to upgrade in the bullpen. Doolittle is currently on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, so his availability depends on his recovery.
In addition to those four, the A’s could be inclined to some other veterans before August 1. Among them: Ryan Madson, John Axford, Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie.
Sonny Gray seems unlikely to be dealt, as his struggles this season have lowered his trade value.
Without a doubt, the Athletics will be sellers. There seems to be no point in keeping players they can’t really build around right now unless they can trade one or two—or all—of the names mentioned above for top tier prospects.
Because of the quick fall the Athletics have had since they last made some kind of postseason race, falling to the Royals in an AL Wild Card one-off game in 2014, keeping the team together isn’t exactly the smartest decision.
The obvious decision here now, clearly, is to trade for prospects—preferably high-level, maybe out of this world names—and hope for the best next season or in 2018. There’s little to no use in trying to keep the band together if the band isn’t winning games.