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Cardinals, Athletics progressing on Stephen Piscotty trade

Stephen Piscotty could be headed home as the dominos fall following the Cardinals’ Marcell Ozuna trade.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals and Athletics are “edging closer” to a trade that would send outfielder Stephen Piscotty to Oakland, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.

Piscotty is seemingly expendable following the Cardinals’ Wednesday trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna. He had a down 2017 season, losing his starting job and spending roughly three weeks in Triple-A while posting a career-worst .235/.342/.367 slash line with nine homers in 401 plate appearances.

If Oakland acquires him, they’ll be hoping that he can recapture the form he exhibited during his first full big-league season in 2016, when he posted a .273/.343/.457 slash line with 22 home runs in 649 PAs. If Piscotty ultimately bounces back, he’ll present great value—particularly to a cash-strapped team like the A’s—as he’ll be entering the second season of a six-year, $33.5 million contract with a $15 million club option for 2023. Obviously, if Piscotty continues to struggle, that contract also carries some risk.

A move to Oakland would be ideal for Piscotty, as he grew up roughly 30 miles away in Pleasanton, California. Piscotty’s mother was diagnosed with ALS earlier this year, so playing in Oakland would give him the opportunity to be around his family and assist in his mother’s care more frequently.

If the Athletics ultimately acquire him, Piscotty would likely fill one of their corner outfield spots, with Matt Joyce filling the other and Khris Davis shifting to DH on a full-time basis.

Slusser writes that infielder Yairo Munoz, who is ranked as the Athletics’ No. 13 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is a player who has been discussed in trade talks. Munoz hit .300/.330/.464 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017. Other players mentioned by Slusser who could fit in a potential deal include pitchers Liam Hendriks and Frankie Montas, both of whom pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in 2017, and corner infielder Renato Nunez. With St. Louis in need of experienced pitching depth, Hendriks and Montas could both fit in well with what they’re trying to do. That’s particularly true since they’ll reportedly be moving right-hander Sandy Alcantara, who was thought to be a potential bullpen piece for next season, as part of the trade for Ozuna.