The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is approaching, and the Oakland A's are in a position similar to where they were at this time last year. Back then, the A's were just in the playoff hunt, but this year, they find themselves as division leaders at the deadline.
Last year, Oakland's general manager Billy Beane opted to acquire talent rather than deal talent at the deadline, and the A's went out and acquired shortstop Stephen Drew. The A's could use help in the middle infield again.
Adam Rosales, Eric Sogard and Grant Green have been unimpressive in their attempts to deliver at second base. Green is still looking for his first MLB hit.
With that in mind, the A's could target a veteran like Chase Utley. Now that the Texas Rangers have acquired Matt Garza from the Cubs, the A's could feel hard-pressed to also acquire a big-name player before the deadline.
That would be one option for the A's to consider. Another option would be to be patient with Green as he adjusts to the MLB talent level. After all, Utley is in a contract year, just like Drew was when Oakland acquired him last year. Drew left in free agency after just a few months in Oakland. Utley is making $15 million (according to Spotrac) this year, so re-signing him would be no easy task for the small-market A's.
Oakland's most dire position right now is second base. If the A's feel the need for a pitcher, they should look no further than Triple-A, where Sonny Gray is waiting. More pitching help will also arrive when Brett Anderson returns from the DL.
The same can be said for Oakland's under-performing outfield. If the A's want help in the outfield, Michael Taylor is in Triple-A with Gray.
The A's have had a revolving door at second base for over a year, with names like Jemile Weeks, Cliff Pennington, Rosales, Sogard and Green trying to secure the job. Utley is not living up to his $15 million contract, as he is hitting .279 with 13 homers and 36 RBI. Still, those numbers do look much better than anything Oakland has had at second base in a long time.
Utley would have a quicker stint in Oakland than Matt Holiday, but he could be the missing piece that helps catapult the A's from being division champions to World Series champions.