Roster Issue: Starting Rotation (Oakland A's), Left Field (Cincinnati Reds)
Quick-Fix Solution: Reds acquire Chris Young (.172 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 5 2B, 3B, 12 BB, 20 K, 5 SB); A's acquire Mike Leake (3.72 ERA, 48.1 IP, 59 H, 13 BB, 34 K in 8 starts)
Here's how to fix two teams with one trade. The A's need rotation help and likely have an outfielder to spare. The Reds need outfield help and will likely have a starting pitcher to spare. Let's make a deal.
A's starter Brett Anderson is on the disabled list and is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle. This is not a surprise. He has the "injury-prone" label for a reason. But the A's were six-deep in the rotation with rookie Dan Straily waiting in the wings in Triple-A. Now that he's gotten his chance with Anderson out, it's not going so well.
After a brilliant 2013 debut (6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 11 K), the 24-year-old Straily has allowed 19 earned runs, 21 hits and 12 walks in 19.1 innings over his last four starts. Jarrod Parker is also struggling (6.86 ERA) after a strong rookie season in 2012.
Leake (pictured, 3.72 ERA in eight starts), who could be the odd man out of the Reds' rotation when Johnny Cueto returns from the disabled list next week, won't come in and be the ace, but he could help solidify the back of the rotation.
Why would the Reds give up one of their six starters when their rotation depth isn't great in the upper minors? Because they're in win-now mode and they have an obvious hole to fill in left field right now.
Ryan Ludwick, who had shoulder surgery in April, isn't close to returning, and his replacement, Chris Heisey, had a .488 OPS before landing on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. In Chris Young, they'd have an actual "center fielder" to play center field with Shin-Soo Choo moving over to a corner spot.
Young, who has a club option for 2014, would also serve as insurance in case "center fielder of the future" Billy Hamilton isn't ready to take over in 2014. And Hamilton is struggling in his Triple-A debut, so it wouldn't be a bad idea from that aspect.
The A's would still have plenty of talent in the outfield—Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Brandon Moss, Seth Smith and Josh Reddick, when he returns from a wrist injury. Center field prospect Michael Choice, who has a .909 OPS in Triple-A, would also be one step closer to the majors.